How To Care for a Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa)
The zebra plant aka Aphelandra squarrosa, native to Brazil, is a gorgeous, temperamental plant. This plant is loved for its beautiful dark green coloured leaves striped with unique white veins. The colourful flowers of the zebra plant are no less than a jewel. For better growth, place it in bright filtered sunlight but never indirect light.
The following care tips will help you know much better about zebra plant care needs!
A zebra plant thrives in partial shade or indirect sunlight as they are adapted to grow under a canopy of trees in humid and hot climates. Direct light will cause its leaves to scorch and must be prevented. However, complete shade can also mean that your zebra plant won't bloom at all.
Your zebra plant will thrive excellently in soil that is somewhat neutral to acidic. You can use a multi-purpose potting mix for your plant. Also, you can add sand into the potting mixture to ensure better drainage.
A zebra plant prefers constantly moist soil, which can take a little finesse as excessive watering will cause its leaves to wilt. Whenever you observe the plant's soil is drying out, water it to saturation and repeat that every few weeks. It will allow the water to penetrate the soil completely until it seeps out of the container's drainage holes. The temperature of your water should be a bit lukewarm so that it can mimic the variables of the rainstorm in hot climates. However, water under its leaves, never from directly above.
Temperature And Humidity
Because of its origins, the zebra plant grows well in moderate temperatures. The growing location for your plant should reach up to 60°F or higher but never drop below 55°F. Strive to maintain an overall even temperature for your zebra plant. Prevent high fluctuations in all its directions and keep it safe from any vents such as an air conditioner or a radiator that can make your plant too hot or too cold. Humidity is also essential to your zebra plant, so keeping them in a room with around 60% to 70% humidity is necessary. If you cannot achieve these humidity conditions naturally indoors, a humidifier can help increase moisture levels in the space.
If you want to see better flowering of your zebra plant, fertilise it. Spring and summer are their peak growing seasons, so you should feed your zebra plant every one to two weeks. Select a fertiliser that suits both the flowers and foliage of your plant.
Repotting Your Zebra Plant
Zebra plant doesn't require frequent repotting, and it benefits from a new place only after every two to three years. Whenever you observe the soil getting lower, replace the top one inch or two inches of soil with a fresh potting mix to provide your plant with an extra dose of nutrients.
Though the zebra plant is unusual, it can still attract the most common bugs like mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, thrips, and scale. You can remove these plants' pests by using insecticidal soap or opt for specific remedies for each pest.