Zebra plants appeal to all gardeners
It only took part of a moment for me to fall in love with this plant. I was probably 14 years old then, and I found it growing in a wholesale greenhouse in Conroe. I remember the day.
I’ve grown zebra plants on and off for 60 years since, and I have to tell you: They’re like some people – beautiful but temperamental. I don’t know that I’ll ever perfect my growing techniques for this plant. But here’s what I’ve gleaned from the experts over the many years.
Here are the important details…
• Common name: Zebra plant
• Scientific name: Aphelandra squarrosa. In the Acanthaceae plant family.
• Native home: Brazil
• Hardiness Zones: Zones 11 and 12 (totally tropical, cannot withstand freezes)
• Mature size: to 3-4 ft. tall and 2-3 ft. wide, although rarely grows that large in pots.
• Lighting requirement: Indoors needs bright light, even morning sun. Outdoors in summer needs light shade in mornings, heavy shade from noon on.
• Soil requirements: Highly organic (lots of sphagnum peat moss) and always moist.
• Fertilizer needs: High-nitrogen, complete food applied every second or third time that it’s watered.
• Temperature requirements: 65F is ideal, certainly nothing colder in winter. Maintain high humidity to avoid leaf scorch and lower leaf drop.
• Blooms for many weeks during growing season.
• Propagated from stem cuttings.