Aphelandra Species, Zebra Plant

Aphelandra squarrosa

Family: Acanthaceae (ah-kanth-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Aphelandra (af-el-AN-druh) (Info)
Species: squarrosa (skwa-RO-suh) (Info)
Synonym:Aphelandra chrysops
Synonym:Aphelandra concinna
Synonym:Aphelandra leopoldii
Synonym:Aphelandra oostachya
Synonym:Aphelandra squarrosa var. lousiae



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


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)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:


Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

By budding

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Centre, Alabama

Gaylesville, Alabama

Elk Grove, California

Hayward, California

Merced, California

Oak View, California

San Diego, California

Denver, Colorado

Altamonte Springs, Florida

Bartow, Florida

Big Pine Key, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida(2 reports)

Largo, Florida

Miami, Florida

Port Charlotte, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Winter Garden, Florida

Winter Haven, Florida

Zolfo Springs, Florida

Davenport, Iowa

Gonzales, Louisiana

Shreveport, Louisiana

Grants Pass, Oregon

Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

, Queensland(2 reports)

Austin, Texas

Plano, Texas

Portland, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Stafford, Texas

Provo, Utah

Cabin Creek, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 19, 2012, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

These used to be very common..now,not so common. These work great as porch plants in the SanFran bay area. This is a highland tropics plant so our cool summers suit it just fine. A little succulent so go easy on the peaty potting soils or over watering...they like morning sun,warm shade,and no wind. Not a fast grower. I haven't tried them in ground yet..just so nice looking you want them on the porch!
2018: They seem to not be long lived. Mine after a total of five years just died. Declined for no reason. I've talked to others..they same the same thing. So,enjoy them for 3 or 4 years,then take cuttings!
2021: One I started with in 2018? Grew well and I planted in ground in 2020. So far..it's fine. Needs consistent watering and dappled sun is best,more than that will cause the... read more


On Apr 9, 2012, awwwjustme from Shively, KY wrote:

I just got this plant today, I love the leaf color and then on the way home I notice a yellow flower blooming....so wish me luck on growing it...


On Apr 17, 2011, Shaunapie from Chambersburg, PA wrote:

I found this plant while browsing a clearance rack at lowes for 1$ I thought what the heck and brought it home to my college dorm knowing absolutly noting about it. Despite other peoples comments about this plant being picky I haven't had any problems I water it every other day and it has been growing great for me! The only leaf it ever lost with me was one I pulled off because it was so damaged.


On Aug 20, 2010, southernwv from Cabin Creek, WV wrote:

I have this plant, and as a couple people have said, they seem to die almost as quickly as you get it in the house. These plants can't dry out, not once, but they can't stay wet either. They are very picky, but once you get it right, you'll be amazed how they grow. Mine get a little morning sun, but is in medium shade the rest of the day. After buying 6 plants I finally got one to live. They need bright light, warmth, and need to stay moist (not wet) on another note, a bright window seems to work, flourescent lights don't do anything to keep it alive. I have a greenhouse so mine get a lot of light in the winter months, and temps are kept right at 60F.


On Dec 22, 2009, lyn_s from Brooklyn, NY wrote:

I was given a zebra plant as a gift a little over a year ago. At the time it was about 6-8 inches tall. I live in Brooklyn, NYC--hardly a very tropical climate. The plant has lived on a (south) windowsill for most of that time. It gets watered once a week. It flowered twice between November and June.

The plant summered in my (north) garden. We had a very rainy summer and it grew to nearly two feet high and the stem has become quite woody. I brought it back into the house in October and it's just flowered again--a large (nearly three inches) yellow flower that is now starting to wilt. I would like advice on how to care for it going forward. I'd prefer not to have it grow much more--I don't really want a "zebra tree."


On Jan 13, 2009, wormfood from Lecanto, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Mine died, As did the other 5 I bought. I took the last remaining piece of stem that was rotting and stuck it in my worm bin in August. It's now January and 3 leaves tall. I don't touch it at all. It's protected in a shade house at minimum 43*

Planted this piece next to the drip hose around the end of Feb. It's doing beautifully. I'm not doing anything to it for fear of killing it.


On Nov 16, 2008, Jaxgirl from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I live in Jacksonville FL where the summers are very hot and humid and the winters are cool (some cold down to the teens and 20s) and quite dry. I've had my zebra plant for almost a year now so it's experienced my spring, summer and fall so far. I keep it as a potted plant on a table on my screened porch where it receives an hour or so of direct morning sun and then bright shade the rest of the day. The plant gets watered once a week or so, pretty much drying out between waterings and it's almost never misted and never fertilized. I have never experienced leaf drop, mites, scale or any other negatives. In the time that I've had this plant it has added 12 new leaves to it's sturdy stalk-like stem and much to my delight I now see the budding of a flower right in the top center of the pl... read more


On Oct 26, 2007, shanpatmom from Elk Grove, CA wrote:

I found this plant at a safeway store. It looked so unique I had to have it. I have had some trouble getting the moisture right and keep losing the big lower leaves. The leaves seem to burn right down the center stripe and then the tips. I'm not sure if this is a moisture issue or a pest issue. This plant seems to be sensitive to changes in temperature so I just keep moving it. I'm excited though because I didn't even know it bloomed. Wish me luck.


On Sep 30, 2007, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I am on the borderline of Zone 8b/9a and I've had success with growing this plant outdoors in a shady spot. It is protected by our winter freezes (surviving temperatures around 28 F) by being near a north facing wall of my garage (protected from winds in winter, and the wooden wall probably retains some heat). It blooms for me each year. Both of my Zebra plants lost most of their bottom leaves. I think the plant might benefit by being pruned back to stimulate new growth, which I will probably do next Spring. I think the Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa) makes an impressive show in a sub-tropical shade garden and can tolerate temperatures lower than the Zone 10 range specified above.



On May 20, 2007, Opoetree from Oak View, CA wrote:

I bought this plant at a Trader Joe's in Ventura, California. I was impressed with its unusual blossoms and vibrant foliage. It bloomed for a long time outside my front door. I fertilized it with Alaskan fish fertilizer and it bloomed again the next year. This past winter we had the lowest temperatures we've ever had (for at least my lifetime) and the plant looked dead. I was able to remove the portions that had frozen and low and behold, leaves started to sprout again this spring....so I am awaiting those gorgeous blossoms again. What a little miracle plant!


On Mar 1, 2006, montrealzebra from Montreal,
Canada wrote:

this is a beutifull plant but cannot be over or under watered. Try watering you're zebra plant just before the soil dries out, and make sure to spray the leaves atleast once a day during growing season. Mine blooms very beutifull yellow flowers in fall and spring.


On Sep 3, 2005, knotimpaired from Vieques, PR (Zone 11) wrote:

We have planted 5 and every one lost its leaves. We took them out of the ground and have them in full shade with minimum water and they seem to be doing better. Its more of a wait and see. It could be too hot down here for them.


On Oct 24, 2004, emilyrasmus from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

I think the secret to this plant is mild temperatures (65f - 85f) and consistent watering. When I let the soil dry too much, the plant would shed a lot of leaves, but since I've been keeping it moist (not wet) and occasionally misting it (2 -3x week), I have lost only one or two leaves. Compare that to the 50+ new leaves and what a difference. I also have kept this plant inside as our summers tend to be dry and a little hot.


On Aug 16, 2004, plwiseman from Midway, TX wrote:

I bought a zebra plant early this Spring. I live in Tx, so I keep it indoors and it is doing well. I have it sitting by a window that gets only morning sun. I think this plant needs a cool enviroment (or a WARM only climate, Tx summers are too hot) with a small amount of sun. As the plant puts on new little leaves at the top, it sheds the bottom older ones. It puts forth pretty yellow blooms also.


On Jul 6, 2004, skrefft from Shreveport, LA wrote:

I have had my plant for about a year and a half now with no problems other than initial wilting because I left it in direct sun. I have transplanted once after bloom last summer and it is now beginning to bloom again. Currently on a shady porch with morning sun. Beautiful plant even when not in bloom.


On Feb 17, 2004, vagardener from Springfield, VA wrote:

I've never had success with this plant, and I've tried many times growing it indoors. It seems very susceptible to insects and diseases. This is a pity, because they are a very handsome and they always look great at the garden center.


On Feb 13, 2004, gotmel from Lone Jack, MO wrote:

I recieved this plant as a Christmas gift. From the time I got it, it started loosing leaves fast. Then I realised it had mites. So I set it outside and hosed it off. I left it outside for the summer but no new leaves started coming up. Later in the fall I realised it had gotten scale when its immune system was down because of mites. So I hosed it off. I finally got rid of them and by that time this plant had been sick for a year. Somehow it still kept with me and is growing peacefully in a humid bathroom now. Now don't be afraid to buy this plants because I told you that mine got mites. I made the mistake of setting it a little to close to a infected plant. A stupid mistake. But I will never need to learn that lesson again.


On Apr 28, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This plant is not only pretty because of its white-veined, green folliage, but also for the apical inflorescence with its beautiful yellow bracts