Growing Aphelandra Squarrosa: How To Care For The Zebra Plant

The aphelandra squarrose (af-el-an-druh squar-rose) is a popular subtropical houseplant that produces glossy dark green leaves and white veins.

When in bloom, zebra plants grow yellow and orange flowers that can stretch up to 4″ inches.

Growing Zebra PlantPin

The zebra plant is part of a large plant family known as the Acanthaceae family. The family originates from Southern Brazil.

The aphelandra squarrosa is usually found under thick tree canopies that are humid and moist.

The aphelandra squarrosa received its name due to the bright white stripes on its dark green colored leaves, similar to those of a zebra.

Quick Facts On Aphelandra Squarrosa

  • Family: Acanthaceae
  • Light: Bright light without direct sunlight
  • Temperature: 65° to 70° degrees Fahrenheit
  • Water: Keep moist at all times with filtered water
  • Fertilizer: All-purpose houseplant fertilizer
  • Propagation: Repotting through cuttings
  • Common Problems: Overwatering, under watering, fungal diseases, spider mites, aphids, mealybugs.

Aphelandra Squarrosa Care

How Big Do Zebra Aphelandra Plants Grow?

An aphelandra squarrosa can grow to be 6″ feet tall and 5″ feet wide in its native environment. However, when grown indoors, a zebra plant may not flourish in the same way.

An indoor aphelandra squarrosa can grow to reach a height of 1′ to 2′ feet tall. The individual leaves can grow around 9″ inches in length and 2″ inches in width.

Depending on the conditions a zebra plant is given, it can take a great amount of time to reach its maximum size.

Each zebra plant may be different if it is given different conditions. However, your plant may reach a maximum height with large leaves in the right conditions.

When Do Aphelandra Plants Bloom? Are The Flowers Fragrant?

When given the proper care, an aphelandra squarrosa may produce a bright yellow cluster of flowers in the center of the plant.

The flowers may bloom from late summer to fall. The flower can last many days, while the bract that produces the flower can last up to 6 weeks.

The aphelandra squarrosa may bloom multiple times, but when the flowers wilt and dry out, the plant may become difficult to care for.

If you move your zebra plant to a more dry and warm location, the bloom will stay longer than normal.

What Are The Lighting Needs And Temperature Requirements?

The aphelandra squarrosa plant enjoys bright indirect light. Therefore, it is best to put the plant in a place that gets morning or evening sun.

For your zebra plant to flourish, try to avoid the midday sun. A west-facing window would be ideal for a zebra plant.

Indoors, a zebra plant will easily grow throughout the year. It thrives in moderate climates if you decide to plant your aphelandra squarrosa outside. Nothing too hot and nothing too cold.

A zebra plant can not handle temperatures over 75° degrees Fahrenheit or under 60° degrees Fahrenheit.

How And When To Water And Fertilize Aphelandra Squarrosa?

Aphelandra squarrosa plants enjoy being watered once or twice weekly with filtered water during the summer.

Since they want humid environments, misting them is essential to provide added moisture.

In the winter, you should ensure the soil does not dry out but water the plants less than you would in the summer.

A zebra plant’s soil should never completely dry out. Check the soil, so it receives the correct amount of water.

Regarding fertilizer, the aphelandra squarrosa likes to be fed every one to two weeks during spring and summer.

When it is fertilized well, the plant will likely bloom and produce flowers.

Be sure to use water-soluble quick-release plant food. During winter, it is best to avoid fertilizing your zebra plants.

What Is The Best Soil For Aphelandras And When Should You Transplant?

The aphelandra squarrosa thrives in soil that keeps moisture, giving the plant adequate water.

Using sandy soil with some perlite will help your zebra plant with optimal growth.

It is best to repot your aphelandra squarrosa in the spring if your plant has outgrown its pot.

It is important to be quite gentle with their roots when repotting your plants as you may damage them.

You will usually need to transplant your zebra plant every 2 to 3 years.

Does The Zebra Squarrosa Need Special Grooming Or Maintenance?

The zebra plant does need some special grooming. After it blooms, it is important to remove the flower heads to allow the plant to rest adequately.

Any weak or withered leaves should be pruned and removed from the plant.

How To Propagate The Zebra Plant?

To propagate your zebra plant, do the following:

  • Take a healthy cutting around 4″ to” 6 inches in the early spring and pot it.
  • When potting your cutting, make sure to pot it in moist peat moss with a bit of perlite.
  • Place your cutting in a window that gets bright indirect sunlight and is around 70° degrees Fahrenheit throughout the day.

Aphelandra Plant Pests And Diseases

Since the zebra plant needs high humidity, it can encourage fungal diseases.

To prevent this, ensure a good amount of air circulation where your zebra plant is sitting.

You can also spray it with fungicide if it becomes a constant issue.

As for pests, the zebra plant can be quite a pet resistant. However, aphids and spider mites may be a problem.

You can treat them with insecticide, but avoiding spraying the flowers while they are blooming is best.