Zebra plant – Flowering plant

Zebra plant (Aphelandra squarrosa)

Zebra plant is a indoor flowering house plant. This amazing plant will grow quite large in tropical environments, but is perfectly suited as a house plant or garden annual in colder areas; seasonal, yellow bracted flower spikes are stunning; deep green glossy leaves with contrasting white veins.Zebra Plant features bold spikes of yellow tubular flowers with yellow bracts rising above the foliage from late spring to mid summer. It’s attractive glossy oval leaves remain dark green in color with distinctive white veins throughout the year. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

scientific Name: Aphelandra squarrosa

Common Name: Zebra plant

Zebra plant (Aphelandra squarrosa)

How to grow and maintain zebra plant:

Sunlight:

It requires abundant light, but it should not be directly exposed to sunlight as sunburns may appear on the leaves. It behaves best as an indoors plant. If it is outdoors, the shade is a good alternative. During its flowering period (April-May), good light is even more important, as its light needs range between 10,000 and 30,000 lux, depending on the number of daylight hours.

Temperature:

The ideal temperature is between 16 and 25ºC. It must be taken into account that, as this is a tropical plant, it does not resist frost and suffers in temperatures below 10ºC. On the other hand, if it is exposed to high temperatures, >30ºC, the leaves become smaller losing their ornamental value; besides, it is also possible that its lower leaves may fall and its inflorescences may be of a smaller size.

Humidity:

Zebra plants like high humidity. This can be achieved by placing the pot of the plant over a tray of pebbles and filling the tray with water. Do not set the pot in the tray of pebbles, but over it. This provides extra humidity without making the soil around the plant too damp.

Watering:

Watering a zebra plant can be frustrating. It cannot be overwatered, or it will die. However, it cannot dry out between waterings or it will die as well. Getting the amount of water it has just right can be difficult. Weekly large waterings will not work with this plant. It needs small amounts of water daily instead. When you water, avoid getting any water on the leaves and quickly blot off any that falls on them. They will drop off otherwise.

Fertilizing:

Each spring, you should repot your zebra plant into a slightly larger pot using African violet soil. During the growing season, spring and summer, fertilize the plant weekly with a water soluble fertilizer such as a 10-10-10. To prevent legginess, regularly pinch the top of the plant off to force it to branch out more.

Propagation:

Zebra plants are propagated by stem cuttings. Cut some of the lower stems off (four to six inch lengths) and dip them in rooting medium. Place them in moist peat moss mixed with perlite. Cover the pot with plastic to keep it moist and place in indirect sunlight until the cuttings root.

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