A Zebra plant (Aphelandra squarrosa) has spectacular foliage and exotic looking flowers. The nickname Zebra plant comes from its large, dark green, shiny leaves that have a bold white midrib and white veins. The stems of the leaves have a purple tinge. The bright yellow flowers on a Zebra plant, which require very bright light to bloom, emerge from bracts at the end of a long stem. A Zebra plant, native to the Brazilian forests, is primarily a table plant that stands about a foot tall. These plants do require a little extra care; but this beautiful, out of the ordinary houseplant, is well worth it.
A Zebra plant produces flowers from a four sided yellow spike made up of overlapping bracts. The yellow flowers only last a few days, but the attractive bracts of a Zebra plant last for a month or two. Once the bright yellow bract fades, remove the entire flower spike.
The brown spots of the leaves of zebra plants are usually caused by Leaf Spot Disease. Keep the leaves dry, do not mist the plant, provide good air circulation, and allow the leaves to dry out more. You can use a commercial Fungicide or treat the problem with the homemade remedy of putting a tablespoon or two of baking soda and a teaspoon or two of mineral oil in a spray bottle of water. Shake the solution well and then spray all areas of the plant that are infected. Keep infected plants away from your other houseplants.
Zebra plants are called “photo accumulators.” In order for a Zebra plant to get flowers they have to have the right number of long days in bright light. Move your Zebra plant to a brighter location and hopefully it will bloom in the fall.