zebra plant - Knowledgebase Question

Lynn, Ma
Question by jankorinne
April 20, 2010
After my plant had flowered it hasn't flowered over a year. What can I do.


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Answer from NGA
April 20, 2010

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Your zebra plant has to be manipulated into blooming, just as poinsettias and kalanchoes. Zebra plants (Aphelandras) usually flower in the fall but they can be induced to bloom during any season if they're given the right conditions. The plants must accumulate a prescribed number of days of bright light and good growing conditions to flower. If the light is too dim or the environmental conditions too far from the optimum, you get only leaves.

Plants that flower in this fashion are called "photo-accumulators." The zebra plant requires average night temperatures above 65 degrees and bright light levels for about 12 weeks before flowers will form. As beautiful as these plants are, they are from the hot and humid Brazilian tropics and can resent the cool, dry winter conditions found in many homes. Many gardeners are successful in getting their plants to flower by placing them outdoors in a brightly shaded area during the summer months and taking them back indoors in late summer. They often bloom in the fall when treated in this way. If you'd rather not take yours outdoors, try placing your zebra plant in the moderate light of a west or an east window. The plant does not tolerate direct sunlight well, so it is best to filter its light with a transparent curtain.

To grow them to perfection, they need to be planted in highly organic, extremely well drained soil. The potting medium must never be allowed to dry out completely. Those that have allowed their zebra plants to wilt a time or two knows the results. The lower leavers fall off and the plant takes the shape of a miniature palm tree.

After the bloom fades, the spike should be removed and the plant relocated to a warm, bright location. In the summer, they can be moved to the shaded patio. Given routine fertilization and care, they should bloom again come fall.

Hope this information helps.

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