The Zebra plant is from the same family (marantaceae) as the popular indoor prayer plant and has many similarities, although the Calathea zebrina grows taller and can be slightly more difficult to grow. It’s sometimes named prayer plant when sold at garden stores and its common name (Zebra) is also given to the Aphelandra squarrosa.
Being a tropical plant native to Brazil the Calathea does require a warm and moist environment which encourages the foliage to thrive and look its best.
|Names:||Zebra plant (common). Calathea zebrina (botanical/scientific).|
|Max Growth (approx):||Height 1m.|
|Poisonous for pets:||Non-toxic to cats and dogs.|
|Temperature:||Average room temperatures of 65-75ºF (18-24ºC) are best, and no lower than 60ºF (15ºC). Sudden temperature drops and cold drafts should be avoided.|
|Light:||In its natural habitat the Calathea dwells in forest areas shaded by trees without direct sunlight, which is why a bright but shaded spot within a warm greenhouse or conservatory suits them very well. Anywhere else indoors just needs to be bright without direct sunlight.|
|Watering:||During the growing season water the plant thoroughly and keep the soil moist (remember this plant loves moisture). When it’s winter growing slows down or stops, reduce watering and you can allow the top soil to become slightly dry between each watering. If you can – use tepid rain or distilled water and avoid cold hard water.|
|Soil:||A peat based potting mix will be required. 2 parts peat and 1 part perlite is one mixture that will be fine.|
|Fertilizer:||Feed with a balanced liquid fertilizer every two weeks from April – October.|
|Re-Potting:||You’ll need to re-pot once every two years, during spring|
|Humidity:||This is one of the conditions which can be difficult to get right in many households and to maintain throughout the whole year for this plant. Misting and keeping the soil moist will help, but if you can and if your plant is showing signs that it’s needed – use a humidity tray or electronic humidifier. Placing the Calathea near other plants will also improve humidity.|
|Propagation:||Propagation is done by dividing the main plant when re-potting is carried out. Provide a warm environment and enough humidity after dividing and replanting.|