If you’ve ever stepped foot in a tropical-themed place, you’ve undoubtedly seen a zebra plant or two. The Brazilian herb got its name from its striped leaves, which resemble a zebra’s skin. Its big, luscious green leaves with yellowish-white stripes make it a great foliage plant.
But besides its foliage, does a zebra plant flower? Normally, zebra plants don’t bloom very often. But when they do, after a few tips and tricks, you’ll have gorgeous yellow flowers decorating your zebra plant pot.
It all boils down to how well you take care of your zebra plant and whether offer the perfect environmental conditions to see it bloom. So without further ado, here’s how you get zebra plants to bloom.
As we’ve said, zebra plants don’t usually bloom on their own indoors. So what can you do to prompt your zebra plant to grow flowers? Like every other tropical plant, exposure to sunlight goes a long way.
Zebra plants are photo accumulators, meaning that they need to accumulate plenty of light throughout the day to bloom. So, to get a zebra plant to flower, the key element that you need is sunlight.
Find a place with indirect sunlight and place your plant there to be exposed to regular light for 6–8 hours every day. After two to three months of consistent sunlight exposure, your plant will blossom, and you’ll start seeing some progress.
Along with consistent sunlight exposure, you’ll need a few more things to make your plant feel at home and create the perfect blossoming environment for your plant.
Zebra plants originated in Brazilian rainforests. So keep that image in mind when trying to recreate that environment for your plant.
First, you’ll need a bright fluorescent light beside your plant, especially if you don’t get plenty of sunshine where you live.
We recommend you leave that light on all day and turn it off at night when you go to bed. Since it’s a photo accumulator, the more light your plant gets, the better.
Second, keep your soil lightly moist and your leaves dry at all times. If water pools up on your plant’s leaves while watering it, make sure to dry it off to prevent any fungal infections.
Third, you should also set up the temperature between 65 to 70 ℉ to mimic its original rainforest environment. And as an extra step for the ultimate tropical weather, set a humidifier to maintain a 40 to 80% humidity level around your plant.
Last but not least, feed your plant once every two weeks with a soluble fertilizer to provide the nutrients it needs. As an extra tip, try applying the fertilizer at half its recommended strength once you see any active growth on your plant.
After taking good care of your zebra plant and checking off all the previous steps, you should get one of the two following scenarios:
After months of consistent care, you may notice that a group of little yellow bracts starts growing its way out on your zebra plant. That’s when you literally reap the fruit of your hard work — or in this case, you reap rare golden yellow flowers.
A zebra plant’s flower looks like a cluster of golden yellow bracts growing on a spike that could become as long as 4 inches per flower. The bright yellow color and unique shape make the flowers all the more special for every zebra plant owner.
Once you successfully grow flowers on your zebra plant, you could expect to have 2–4 flowers per plant. With a consistent routine, these flowers could last for up to six weeks if you take good care of them.
You might follow all the previous steps, yet still not get any flowers. This means that you’re probably doing something wrong.
First and foremost, check if your plant is getting too much direct sunlight. In their natural habitat, zebra plants are used to getting sunlight from behind a canopy of trees in rainforests. So if your sunlight source is directed toward your plant, it might scorch its leaves.
But then again, don’t leave it in a completely shaded spot. Otherwise, you’ll just get leaves and no flowers. Try to find a spot with partial shade and indirect sunlight for optimal light exposure.
Second, you may be feeding your plant too much nitrogen. Nitrogen works wonders on your leaves. It helps them grow and become lusciously green and healthy — but it’s not as beneficial when it comes to flowers.
Finally, you’re not watering the soil correctly. Your plant’s soil needs to be lightly moist at all times. So you should never let it dry out completely.
Another watering mistake to avoid is bottom watering your plant. Sure, it’ll help keep the soil moist, but it won’t wash away the salts and minerals at the top.
So remember to spritz the top of your soil at least once a month to wash away any salts or fertilizer build-up on the soil.
The moment your zebra flower blooms and you start seeing little bracts growing, don’t change a thing in your routine. Continue maintaining your plant exactly as usual because whatever you’re doing right now, it’s working and your plant seems to thrive on it.
After four to six weeks of blooming, your flowers will start to fade and become less vibrant. At this stage, you need to cut off the spent flowers to save nutrients for the ones that are more lively and redirect the plant’s nutrients and energy into new blooms.
This process is known as deadheading or pruning. Gardeners and plant owners use this technique to produce more flowers by focusing the plant’s energy on pollination and growing new flowers.
Zebra plants aren’t known to bloom regularly, especially indoors. Since its indoor growing conditions differ from those in its natural habitat, it’s difficult to provide your zebra plant with the exact same environmental conditions as those in a Brazilian rainforest.
However, it’s not impossible. If you follow the steps mentioned above, you can expect to see flowers annually in late summer or early fall. That is usually the time when zebra plants are in bloom and start growing their flowers.
Zebra plants are famous for being lusciously green foliage plants that add an unmatched tropical touch to your space. Their big, striped green leaves are sure to catch anyone’s attention and send them straight to the heart of the Brazilian rainforests.
However, growing flowers on a zebra plant isn’t as easy as growing and maintaining its foliage. It takes a lot of hard work and paying attention to every little detail to provide the perfect rainforest environment for your plant and allow it to bloom.
If you manage to tick off every requirement, you’ll get to grow beautiful yellow flowers on your zebra plant during its bloom season and enjoy the outcome of your hard work throughout the past months.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.