Meet the Zebra Plant, a brightly patterned foliage plant, hailing from the rainforests of South America. The Zebra Plant gets its common name from its long white-striped foliage, while its botanical 'Aphelandra' refers to its single-celled anthers (the male part of the plant: apheles meaning simple and andros meaning male).
Native to tropical Brazil, the Zebra Plant likes a good amount of indirect light, warmth and humidity. You can mimic this atmosphere by placing your plant on a tray of pebbles in a warm room. As the water evaporates, it'll add local humidity around the plant. Make sure he's kept away from draughts too.
In its native habitat, Aphelandra can become huge, sprawling shrubs - think Yellow Hydrangea of the rainforest. In the home, they'll stay much smaller and can be slotted onto shelves or sideboards. Due to its shape and size it is a plant for every room.
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The flowers you see are actually bracts (coloured leaves), with the true flowers being held just inside those bracts, and which last just a few days. The yellow bracts stay in good condition for up to 8 months.
You’ll be pleased to know that your Zebra Plant isn’t too stressed out by a cold English winter. Allow plants to fall into their winter dormancy, and reduce all watering. After blooming, cut back your plants to allow new growth to come through!
You may experience leaf drop on your plants from time to time. This could be because your plant is too dry or is subjected to a draft. Browning leaves can be due to low humidity, either give them a spritz or install that tray of pebbles beneath your plant!