Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Zebra Plant
Calathea zebrina

Family: Marantaceae
Genus: Calathea (ka-LAY-thee-uh) (Info)
Species: zebrina (zeb-REE-nuh) (Info)

15 members have or want this plant for trade.


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive BayAreaTropics On Oct 28, 2008, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

So far the only Calathea that passes through average S.F. Bay Area winters and lives to grow the next summer.Needs warmest shade and shelter we can give it. Shade given by structure and some reflected heat can work. Cool natural shade of trees and ferns cools the soil too much.
Fantastic warm greenhouse plant-one of the most satisfying you can grow.The purple bloom is other worldy,yet beautiful. Can do fine as a house plant with much light and better than average humidity.Can get close to 3' indoors although foliage will have some browned edges and yes,will bloom. Really,a must have to any tropical look yard or collection.

Neutral brownfinger On Jan 13, 2004, brownfinger wrote:

Only had my Calathea plant a few days. Saw in grocery store and thought it was stunning. The one I have is very full and some of the leaves have died, but most of it is still growing. (I think I kept the wrapping on too long and it killed a few of the small leaves at the bottom.) I gave up on being able to grow plants a long time ago, but have recently wanted to stick my "brownfinger" back in. I need any help or tips for keeping it alive and that would encourage me to buy more. I have it in my kitchen where it gets low to medium light and have watered it regularly. I'm wondering, though, since it is full looking, (1) if or when I should think about moving it over to a larger pot (2) how to properly move it (3) what kind of soil/fertilizer should I use if moved, etc.
I know this is a tall order, but I am a virtual beginner.

Thanks for any help.

Positive House On Jul 14, 2003, House from London, KY wrote:

A very beautiful house plant, easy to grow and the blooms, although small, last for over a month.

Positive palmbob On Jul 6, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Though listed as an indoor plant in the Sunset Western Garden book, this species is very hardy for Southern California use (as long as kept moist and in the shade). It is one of the more striking garden plants for a tropical looking landscape. Snails like it, for deer don't for some reason.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Hayward, California
Merced, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Delray Beach, Florida
Jensen Beach, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

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