How to Grow and Care for Aphelandra Zebra Plant Indoors

Gardening enthusiasts capable of properly caring for this plant will be gifted with its remarkable foliage.

Appreciated for its distinctive dark green leaves adorned with white veins, the zebra plant is generally grown indoors. The plant’s most prized feature is its vibrant flowers, which usually bloom during the end of summer or the beginning of autumn. Each plant produces two to four tall golden bracts that can grow several inches long and can last up to six weeks. The indoor zebra plant grows at a leisurely pace, taking around three years to reach maturity and a height of a few feet.


Zebra plants flourish in environments with indirect sunlight or partial shade, as they are accustomed to growing beneath the canopy of trees in humid and warm climates. Direct exposure to sunlight can result in scorched leaves and should be avoided, while complete shade can hinder the plant from blooming. 


For optimal growth, a zebra plant thrives in soil that has a neutral to acidic. A multi-functional potting mix is sufficient for this plant, and adding perlite, bark or sand to the soil blend can improve drainage. If the aim is to encourage flowering, it is recommended to fertilize the plant every one to two weeks during its growth period, which typically occurs in the spring and summer.



As previously stated, zebra plants thrive in soil that is consistently moist, but overwatering can cause the leaves to droop. To water your zebra plant correctly, it is suggested to saturate the soil every 7-10 days or as needed when the soil appears dry, ensuring that the water fully penetrates the soil and drains out through the holes in the container. It is recommended to use slightly lukewarm water, mimicking the effects of a rainstorm in warm climates, but always water under the leaves and avoid watering from above.


Temperature and Humidity

Due to their origins, zebra plants thrive in moderate temperatures, with their growing location ideally at 15 to 20 degrees Celsius or higher and never below 12 degrees.

Zebra plants also require high humidity levels, so it is recommended to maintain a space with 60 to 70 percent humidity. If natural humidity levels cannot be achieved indoors, using a humidifier can help increase moisture levels. Additionally, lightly misting the plant with lukewarm water from a spray bottle is another option. It is crucial to maintain a consistent temperature for the plant and avoid extreme fluctuations. Keep the plant away from vents that could cause temperature changes, such as a radiator or air conditioner.



Fertilizing can significantly enhance the growth of zebra plants, particularly in terms of flowering. To encourage optimal growth during its peak season (usually in the spring and early summer), it is recommended to feed the zebra plant with a fertilizer suitable for both foliage and flowers every one to two weeks.


Potting and Repotting

Apart from repotting propagated shoots, zebra plants do not require frequent repotting and can benefit from a new pot only every two to three years. If the soil level appears low, removing the top inch or two of soil and replacing it with fresh soil mix can provide the plant with additional nutrients.


Common Pests

Despite being an uncommon plant, the zebra plant is still susceptible to common pests such as aphids, mealybugs, mites, scale, and thrips. The infestation can be controlled by using insecticidal soap or targeted remedies recommended for each type of insect.


Common Problems

Due to its delicate nature, it’s expected to face some leaf-related problems with this stunning plant. It’s essential to monitor the leaves closely to provide the necessary attention and care required to save the zebra plant.


Leaf loss

When plant leaves fall off, it’s often a sign of either overwatering or underwatering. You may notice the lower leaves starting to wilt first. If the underlying watering issue isn’t resolved, the leaves may eventually drop. Insufficient humidity can also cause leaf drop if the air around the plant is too dry.


Leaf curling

If the foliage of your plant is curling or crinkling, it’s possible that the plant is receiving too much direct sunlight or the temperature around it is too high. Although the zebra plant thrives in bright light, the intensity or heat may be too much. To remedy this, move the plant to a spot that has bright, but not direct sunlight to allow it to cool down slightly.


Leaf tips turning brown

When leaf tips start to turn brown, it is typically caused by either too much exposure to light or excessive fertilizer. To remedy the situation, you can relocate the plant to a spot with less direct light and decrease the amount of fertilizer you use.


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