The Q&A Archives: Zebra Plant Care

Question: I have acquired this Zebra Plant from my mother-in-law. The leaves were wilting and falling off. Since I have had it in my house it has regained strength in the leaves. I have it sitting in a south window. I still get wilting and falling leaves occasionally. My mohter-in-law said it can bloom also. Could you please send some care tips and blooming instructions.

Answer: Zebra plant (Aphelandra squarrosa) is given a "care rating" of "demanding" in Houseplants for Dummies, by Larry Hodgson and NGA, so if you've revived it that's a great step! It has a "flower" that is actually a dense spike of bright yellow bracts which form at the tip of the stem. It forms in summer or fall and can last for several months. The tubular yellow flowers, however, are short-lived.

Zebra plant is hard to grow because it requires very high humidity. You might try setting it on a tray with pebbles and water to promote more humidity. Don't let the water soak up into the pot. It wants bright to medium light, to be kept moderately moist, normal indoor temps, all-purpose fertilizer and a soilless mix. It can be propagated from stem cuttings after it blooms. Good luck!

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