So, you got a new zebra plant to bring unique colors to your home. The problem is that you don’t know which part of the house suits this flora’s needs.
You may be asking questions like, “How much sunlight do zebra plants need to survive?” or “Which part of the house is best to put these plants in?”
Well, you’re in luck finding this post. We’ve outlined a zebra plant lighting guide to help your prized flower survive inside your home.
Zebra plants (Aphelandra squarrosa) are beautiful tropical plants known for their attractive and vibrant leaves. These types of plants are native to Brazil, growing underneath thick canopies.
Many love zebra plants for their unique leaves with white vein-like stripes resembling a zebra. They produce gorgeous golden flowers from late summer to early fall.
As they typically grow in the understory of Brazilian rainforests, zebra plants can survive exceptionally well indoors. But as most gardeners noted, they can be temperamental.
Zebra plants need the right amount of sunlight and care to grow under your roof. You also need to watch the temperature, humidity, and handling methods.
All these requirements mean these plants need more care than other houseplants. Still, it doesn’t mean tending your zebra plant indoors is impossible!
Like most tropical floras, zebra plants enjoy their fair share of sunlight. However, you can’t simply leave your zebra plant under the sun and expect it to survive.
Zebra plants thrive better in warm, shady, and humid environments. And while they need the sun, these plants can’t tolerate direct and long-term exposure.
However, it doesn’t mean leaving your zebra plant under deep shade. Placing it in areas unreachable to sunlight can stunt its growth, slow blooming, or worse, kill the plant.
When caring for these tropical plants, you should know how much sun they prefer. Too low and you’ll stunt the flora; too much and you can harm them.
So, how much sun do these plants actually need?
Well, partial sun exposure is your goal. Look for a spot with enough sunlight to reach the optimal temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit or about 15 to 16 degrees Celsius.
The ideal space for your zebra plant should strike a balance between shade and light. Pick an area with bright, indirect sunlight to maintain the appropriate temperature.
You can keep zebra plants outside if you live in warmer regions of the US, such as Florida and Southern California. You can have them in your garden or inside sheltered locations.
However, in most parts of the country, you’ll want to keep them indoors to increase their chances of survival, as zebra plants won’t be able to handle the changing temperatures.
Still, looking for a perfect spot for this sensitive flora can be challenging. So if you can’t find an optimal space indoors, placing them under trees or awnings is your best option.
Zebra plants can be picky when it comes to their space. So, here are some tips for choosing the most suitable place to house your zebra plant:
In their natural environment, these floras are used to growing underneath trees. It provides indirect sunlight and partial shade, where zebra plants thrive best.
Of course, you can’t simulate these perfect conditions under your roof. But it doesn’t mean there’s no place for a zebra plant inside your house.
You can set your flower near East-facing windows for their weak and cool morning light. But you could also put it beside North-facing windows if your area is free from obstructions.
Humidity is another vital aspect to consider for your zebra plant. It needs a high humidity level of about 60 to 70 percent to thrive.
A well-lit bathroom, wet kitchen, or areas with more moisture is ideal.
Here’s a tip: you can measure temperature and humidity using a room thermometer and hygrometer. This way, you’ll get precise measurements to care for your prized flora.
A humidifier is another excellent tool to maintain humidity levels for your plants. This device helps the zebra plant by releasing moisture it can absorb.
Indoor plants often require strong air circulation for their growth. However, this isn’t the case for your zebra plant.
Too much airflow can cause drought stress to these tropical plants. And it can reduce the level of humidity, which can affect the flora’s health.
For this reason, avoid placing your zebra plant in places with strong air currents. You should keep it away from fans, air conditioners, or heaters.
Light is a critical consideration for zebra plants. However, it’s not the only factor to watch out for when caring for these houseplants.
As a tropical plant, an appropriate watering routine is necessary for a zebra plant. The goal is to keep its soil moist without waterlogging the flower.
Water your flora to saturation every few weeks to maintain enough moisture. It’s also best to use lukewarm water to emulate the water temperature of tropical regions.
Here’s a watering tip: drain the container of excess water to prevent root rot, and avoid watering your zebra plant directly on its leaves to prevent crown rot.
A zebra plant loves rich but fast-draining soil for its pot. So, a multi-purpose potting blend should do well for your flora.
You’d want soil mixed with sand or perlite to keep it well-draining for a long time. Your zebra plant’s container should have enough drainage holes as well.
Most zebra plant owners use plastic pots with drain holes before placing them on decorative containers. This method allows for easy watering and soil maintenance.
The best time to fertilize your zebra plant is during the growing season. The growing season for these tropical plants happens during spring and early summer.
An excellent fertilizing practice is to apply water-soluble fertilizer once every two weeks. It’ll help the plant during its flowering period, which starts in late summer to early fall.
Your zebra plant will experience a brief dormancy period during the winter months. You should reduce water but continue fertilizing the plant until the late winter when growth restarts.
Repotting the zebra plant every year should keep it healthy and growing. But you should do it during springtime or before the flora wakes from dormancy.
Always use a larger pot when repotting your zebra plant. Use a container at least one inch bigger than the last to accommodate growth and prevent root bounding.
You can also prune your zebra plant while repotting it. And stem cuttings can grow well into new flora to adorn the interior of your home.
Zebra plants are non-toxic and safe for both humans and animals. Nevertheless, contact with the sap from these tropical plants can irritate your skin.
So, you should always use protective hand gloves when handling these flowers, especially when repotting, pruning, or cutting the bloom.
Finally, don’t forget to remove the zebra plant’s golden flower after six of blooming. It’ll help the plant redirect its energy and encourage new growth.
No one can argue about the attractiveness of zebra plants as indoor companions. They make great ornamental flowers while doubling as an air purifier.
Still, nurturing these tropical beauties can be challenging if you don’t know their needs. So remember that zebra plants prefer medium light conditions, high humidity, regular watering, well-drained soil, and lots of love!
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.