How To Grow Zebra Plant


Zebra plants (Aphelandra squarrosa) are stunning tropical houseplants known for their distinctive dark green foliage adorned with white stripes, resembling a zebra’s stripes. These eye-catching plants are native to the rainforests of Brazil and thrive in warm, humid conditions. Growing a zebra plant can be a rewarding experience for plant enthusiasts, as they bring a touch of the exotic to indoor spaces. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps to how to grow zebra plant, from selecting the right variety to providing optimal growing conditions.

Botanical Name– Aphelandra squarrosa

Common Name-Zebra Plant


Native-Brazil (rainforests)


Plant Type-Tropical Houseplant

Plant Size-1 to 2 feet in height

Choosing the Right Variety

When selecting a zebra plant variety, consider factors such as size, color preferences, and the available space in your home. Each variety has its own care requirements, so be sure to research and tailor your care routine to meet the specific needs of the chosen zebra plant variety. Whether you opt for the classic ‘Dania,’ the variegated ‘Variegata,’ or a different variety altogether, cultivating a zebra plant can bring beauty and a touch of the exotic to your indoor garden.


Zebra plants (Aphelandra squarrosa) and related species offer various varieties and cultivars, each with its unique characteristics, colors, and patterns. Here are some popular varieties of zebra plants that you may consider for your indoor garden:

  • Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Dania’
  • Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Louisae’
  • Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Variegata’
  • Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Yellow Zebra’
  • Aphelandra sinclairiana ‘Red Apollo’
  • Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Silver Queen’
  • Aphelandra sinclairiana ‘Panama Queen’

How to Plant Zebra Plants from Seeds

While it is possible to propagate zebra plants from seeds, it’s worth noting that they can be a bit challenging to germinate. However, if you’re up for the challenge, here’s a step-by-step guide to planting zebra seeds:

  • Seed Selection: Obtain high-quality zebra plant seeds from a reputable supplier or harvest them from a mature zebra plant.
  • Seed Starting Mix: Use a well-draining seed starting mix that provides the right balance of moisture retention and aeration. You can also add perlite or vermiculite to enhance drainage.
  • Planting Seeds: Sow the zebra plant seeds on the soil surface, pressing them lightly into the mix. Do not cover the seeds as they require light to germinate.
  • Watering: Mist the surface lightly with water to ensure the seeds are moist. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
  • Covering with Plastic: Cover the seed tray with a plastic dome or plastic wrap to create a humid environment, promoting germination. Place the tray in a warm location with indirect light.
  • Germination Period: Zebra plant seeds may take several weeks to germinate. Once seedlings emerge, remove the plastic cover gradually to acclimate them to lower humidity.

Transplanting Zebra Plant Seedlings

Once your zebra plant seedlings have developed several sets of true leaves, it’s time to transplant them into individual pots. Follow these steps for a successful transplant:

  • Pot Selection: Choose pots with drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. Use a well-draining potting mix with organic matter.
  • Transplanting: Gently remove the seedlings from the tray, taking care not to damage the delicate roots. Plant each seedling in its own pot, ensuring the roots are well-covered with soil.
  • Watering: Water the newly transplanted seedlings thoroughly but avoid overwatering. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before the next watering.

Growing Conditions

Zebra plants have specific requirements to thrive, mimicking their native rainforest habitat. Follow these guidelines to create an ideal environment for your zebra plant:

  • Light

Zebra plants prefer bright, indirect light. Place them near a window with filtered sunlight or use sheer curtains to diffuse direct sunlight. Avoid exposing them to harsh afternoon sun, as it can scorch the leaves.

  • Temperature

Maintain a warm and consistent temperature for your zebra plant, ideally between 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C). Avoid sudden temperature fluctuations and drafts.

  • Humidity

Zebra plants thrive in high humidity. You can increase humidity levels by placing a humidifier nearby, grouping plants together, or placing a tray filled with water and pebbles near the zebra plant.

  • Watering

Keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Water when the top inch of soil feels slightly dry to the touch. Use room temperature water to prevent shock to the plant.

  • Fertilization

Feed your zebra plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer). Dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended strength to avoid over-fertilization.

Pruning and Maintenance

Regular pruning is essential to maintain the health and appearance of your zebra plant. Follow these guidelines for proper pruning and general maintenance:

  • Remove Yellowed Leaves: Trim yellowed or damaged leaves at their base using clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears. This helps redirect energy to healthy parts of the plant.
  • Pinching: Pinch back the growing tips of your zebra plant to encourage bushier growth. This can be done throughout the growing season.
  • Repotting: Repot your zebra plant every 1-2 years or when it outgrows its current container. Choose a slightly larger pot, and refresh the potting mix to provide nutrients.


Zebra plant propagation through stem cuttings or division is a straightforward way to expand your collection or share these tropical beauties.

Propagation  from Stem Cuttings-


  • Healthy zebra plant
  • Scissors/pruning shears
  • Rooting hormone (optional)
  • Potting mix
  • Small pots with drainage holes


  • Select Cutting: Choose a healthy 4-6 inch stem, cut below a leaf node.
  • Prepare Cutting: Remove lower leaves, optionally dip in rooting hormone.
  • Plant Cutting: Insert into well-draining potting mix in a small pot.
  • Care: Keep soil consistently moist, create a humid environment until roots form.

Propagation  from Division-


  • Mature zebra plant
  • Clean shovel/knife
  • Potting mix
  • Pots with drainage holes


  • Select Plant:Choose a mature zebra plant with multiple stems.
  • Prepare Plant: Water a day before dividing. Carefully remove from pot/bed.
  • Division: Use a clean shovel/knife to separate into sections with roots.
  • Potting Divisions: Plant each in a pot with well-draining mix.
  • Aftercare: Place in shade for a few days, then gradually reintroduce to light.

Common Pests and Diseases

Zebra plants can be susceptible to pests and diseases, so it’s crucial to monitor them regularly. Common issues include spider mites, aphids, and leaf spot diseases. Here are some tips to deal with these challenges:

  • Spider Mites-Use a strong stream of water to wash off spider mites. In severe infestations, consider insecticidal soap or neem oil.
  • Aphids-Remove aphids by gently washing them off with water. Insecticidal soap or neem oil can also be effective against aphids.
  • Leaf Spot Diseases-Ensure proper air circulation around the plant and avoid overwatering to prevent leaf spot diseases. If necessary, treat with a fungicide according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Growing a zebra plant can be a delightful and rewarding experience, bringing a touch of the tropics to your indoor space. By following this comprehensive guide, from selecting the right variety to providing optimal growing conditions, you can cultivate a healthy and vibrant zebra plant. Whether you choose to start from seeds or purchase a mature plant, the key is to provide the right balance of light, temperature, humidity, and care. With patience and attention to detail, your zebra plant will reward you with its striking foliage and enhance the beauty of your indoor garden. Happy Gardening…

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