Calathea zebrina (Zebra plant) is an ornamental indoor house plant. This evergreen perennial growing up to 1 m. The long stalks to 12 inches carry elliptical leaves 18 inches or more long. It has velvety patterned ovate leaves which are light green in color with darker green stripes like Zebra stripes and the underside of the leaves are purple. It produces purple or white inconspicuous flowers which are unlikely to appear indoors. It is one of the indoor air-purifying houseplants.
Scientific Name: Calathea zebrina
Synonyms: Calathea binotii Gentil, Endocodon zebrina, Goeppertia zebrina, Maranta bicolor, Maranta pulchella, Maranta zebrina, Phrynium bicolor, Phrynium pulchellum, Phrynium zebrinum, Phyllodes zebrina.
Common Name: Zebra plant
How to grow and maintain Zebra plant (Calathea zebrina):
Calathea zebrina thrives best in bright indirect sunlight or filtered sunlight to partial shade. Direct sunlight will damage the leaves and fade the color. Keep your plant in front of East, west, or north facing window is suitable.
Calathea zebrina prefers to grow in rich organic, moist, Well-drained soil. Use a good potting mix consists of two-part peat and one part sand or perlite mix.
Calathea zebrina prefers ideal temperature between 60°F to 70°F / 15°C to 21°C and does not like cold drafts. Never keep your Calathea zebrina in a room that has a temperature lower than 50°F / 10°C. Hot temperatures cause the leaves of a Calathea Plant to curl.
Water your plant regularly during the growing season (April to August) and always keep the soil moist but never allow your plant to sit in water. During the winter season, reduce watering and you can allow the topsoil to become slightly dry between each watering.
Fertilize your plant regularly with a balanced liquid fertilizer. Fertilize your plant once per month in the period from April to October. Fertilizer will improve the health of the foliage and make the leaves stronger and greater. Reduce fertilization in the winter season when plant growth typically slows down.
Calathea zebrina can be easily propagated by division. Take divisions from mature plants at a re-potting time. Simply divide the plant by half or more segments and plant each segment into a separate pot. Make sure to carefully isolate the stems of each plant. Provide a warm environment and enough humidity after dividing and replanting.
Re-pot your Calathea zebrina plant every year or every 2 years. As the plant grows, you should move it to a wider pot so the new stems and roots have enough room to develop. Repotting is best done in spring.
Pests and Diseases:
There is no serious pest or disease issues. But Look for aphids, scale, mealybugs and spider mites. Leaf spots may appear. Calathea zebrina plants don’t flourish in low humidity where leaves may roll or brown up. Too much of direct sun usually causes leaf scorch. Treat spider mites with insecticidal soap and prevent by keeping the humidity up. Kill scale with neem oil.