How to look after and care for Zebra Plant.
The Plant: The Aphelandra has snazzy, well-marked leaves which give it the common name of Zebra Plant, with upright, golden flowers, a stunner! South American in origin. It can grow into a good colourful specimen some 3-4 feet tall (1.2m), with leaves of up to 12in (30cm) in length. So why do you not see them like that very often if at all? It's all to do with the care and attention that we outline on this page.
The striped foliage is responsible for the common name of Zebra Plant of course, but the flower spike can also be spectacular. These give it the less known common name of 'Saffron Spike'.
Its needs: Strong light, even a little morning sun! Good air flow around plant, but not draughts. Add plant food such as Osmocote to the sandy/compost potting mix. Enjoys warmth and humidity. Those are the basic needs arising from its natural habitat which is the edge of moist, tropical woodlands in South America. here they grow to 1.5m, many branched evergreen shrubs - a sight spectacular even when not in flower.
Water your Zebra Plant regularly from late spring through to end of summer. Feed weekly, but not too concentrated a mix. In winter reduce both food and water. Protect from winter chill - very important if grown near a window. Remove dead flower heads as soon as they fade - cutting back to a sturdy pair of leaves. This aspect of Zebra Plant Care ensures a compact well branched plant.
Watch for red spider mite and mealybugs . The latter hiding away in the leaf joints/stem crotches. Scale insects also annoy and are harder to find when on the green brown stems. They are also to be found under the leaves along the main vein.
Basically, if your plant looks just a little bit poorly, inspect for these three insect pests.
Zebra plants are known for their striking foliage and vibrant blooms, but they can be a bit finicky. Let's troubleshoot some common issues you might encounter while caring for your Aphelandra squarrosa.
Caring for a Zebra plant can be a bit challenging, but the reward of its beautiful foliage and bright blooms is well worth the effort. Happy gardening!
To get good softwood cuttings - the easiest way - prune back a stem or two to slightly above a pair of leaves. New shoots will soon appear, and these can be cut off when around 4-6 in long and used as softwood cuttings. Plant tip-cuttings in coarse sand.
Aphelandra squarrosa, also known as the Zebra Plant or Saffron Spike, is a tropical plant native to Brazil. Its striking white-veined leaves and bright yellow flower spikes make it a popular choice for indoor gardening.Preferred Environmental Conditions
If your Zebra Plant's leaves are turning brown and crispy, it may not be getting enough humidity. Try misting the leaves or placing a tray of water near the plant to increase humidity.
Yellow leaves can indicate overwatering. Let the plant dry out before watering again, and always ensure excess water can drain away.Fun Facts
The genus name 'Aphelandra' comes from Greek words meaning 'simple male', referring to the plant's single stamen. The species name 'squarrosa' describes the plant's spiky inflorescence.
Despite its exotic appearance, Aphelandra squarrosa is actually a member of the Acanthaceae family, making it a relative of the humble spinach!
Remember, propagation can be a trial and error process, so don't be disheartened if your first few attempts aren't successful. With patience and care, you'll soon have a thriving collection of Zebra Plants to show off!
If your Aphelandra - Zebra Plant - gets too 'leggy' then don't be afraid to cut it back to get it to shoot out lower down the stem. This is best done to a position to suit - nothing specific - in the early part of the summer.Pruning Techniques for Aphelandra (Zebra Plant)
Proper pruning is an essential part of caring for your Aphelandra plant, also known as the Zebra Plant. It not only helps maintain the shape and size of your plant but also encourages healthier and more vigorous growth.Optimal Time to Prune
The best time to prune your Aphelandra is in the spring or early summer, just as the plant begins its active growing season. This timing allows the plant to heal quickly from pruning cuts and encourages fresh growth.Tools Required
For pruning Aphelandra, you'll need a pair of clean, sharp pruning shears or scissors. Sharp tools make cleaner cuts which are less likely to cause damage to the plant. Always clean your tools before use to prevent the spread of disease.
When pruning, make your cuts just above a leaf node - the point where a leaf or branch connects to the main stem. This is where new growth will sprout. Make sure to cut at a slight angle, away from the node, to allow water to run off and prevent rot.Importance of Pruning
Regular pruning is crucial for maintaining the health and aesthetics of your Aphelandra plant. It helps to control the size of the plant, encourages bushier growth, and can help prevent diseases by improving air circulation.Tips and Common Mistakes
A healthy Aphelandra plant will have vibrant, glossy leaves without discoloration or spots. The plant should have a bushy appearance with new growth appearing during the growing season.
Pruning might seem intimidating at first, but with practice, it becomes an easy and rewarding part of plant care. Happy pruning!
Learn - all aspects of lawn maintenance, how to build and maintain a pond, care and grow vegetables and fruit, fit for your table.
Identify Weeds in The Garden - How to deal with weeds. Diseases and Pest which harm your garden and plants, learn how to prevent, deter and erradicate your garden problems.
Pruning Guide. Shrubs flower better with correct pruning. Many illustrations and examples of what to do - and when. Includes evergreens, roses, flowering shrubs, spring flowering shrubs and pruning for stem effect. This is our most viewed and comprehensive section,Pruning
Gardening Businesses listed in the UK counties and USA states. County and State Listings of businesses involved in Garden supplies and services. If you wish to be added to the Directory, please send us your information. Having problems, use the search boxBusinesses
In this section you will learn about Gardening Basics, Containers, Landscaping, Propagation and Soil.
Our top Viewed Pages