The Aphelandra Squarrosa, AKA “zebra plant” is a large Brazilian rain forest plant, which can grow into large, upright shrubs that bloom profusely in the moist, tropical heat. This zebra houseplant is known for its large, dark green leaves deeply veined in white or yellow, hence the zebra name. Their brightly colored flowers and bracts make for a prized display. They’re usually pretty small at the time of purchase and many indoor gardeners consider them a short-lived friend. Even with excellent zebra plant care you may never get a second flower bloom, or even a first to start with.
Zebra plants have pretty strict conditions once they have flowered. The best place for them to grow well is in bright, indirect or filtered light. So next to a window in a very brightly lit room.
Sensitive to both over and under watering, zebra plants can be a little bit tricky to maintain. Keep the soil consistently moist throughout the active growing season, then in the winter months, allow the soil to dry out a bit between waterings. The ideal for those cooler months is a barely-moist environment.
These guys are from the jungles of South America & therefor need a humid environment to thrive. This above-average humidity can be achieved by placing a small humidifier nearby the plant, setting the pot over a wide drip tray filled with pebbles & water, misting the plant frequently or by placing the plant with other house plants.
The Zebra Plant’s flower is bright yellow & grows in a bract formation, which kinda looks like the top of a pineapple. While the flowers themselves will only last for a number of days, the bracts will remain intact for around 6 weeks. After that time, it is important to cut off the yellow crown immediately and prepare the plant for a second bloom. While another bloom is never guaranteed, this will at least give the plant a reasonable chance of producing a second flower. Zebra plants are not the easiest plants to get to bloom and they actually don’t bloom very often. Increasing light that the plant receives throughout the day, ensuring temp/humidity needs, and removing any dead flowers from the crown as they die off, are all steps you can take to encourage more blooms to grow.