Aphelandra care

Aphelandra (Zebraplant) - Expert tips

How to Care for Aphelandra (Zebraplant): Expert Tips for Thriving Plants

The Aphelandra, also known as the Zebraplant, is a stunning houseplant that captures attention with its dark glossy green leaves adorned with striking silver-white veining, resembling the patterns of a zebra. Originating from the lush forests of Brazil, this tropical plant belongs to the Acanthaceae family and thrives in warm and humid environments. With its unique appearance and relatively low maintenance, the Zebraplant has become a favorite among indoor plant enthusiasts, adding a touch of exotic beauty to any space.

Aphelandra Care: 10 expert tips for growing it successfully

  1. Provide bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves.
  2. Maintain a warm and humid environment. Aphelandra thrives in temperatures between 18-24°C and appreciates higher humidity levels.
  3. Keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Water when the top inch of the soil feels dry. Ensure proper drainage to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.
  4. Use a well-draining, peat-based potting mix. Adding perlite or orchid bark can enhance drainage.
  5. Choose a pot with drainage holes to prevent water accumulation at the root level. A slightly larger pot than the current one will give the plant room to grow but avoid drastically oversized pots.
  6. Feed your Aphelandra every 4-6 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Reduce or stop fertilizing in fall and winter when growth slows down.
  7. Regularly remove dead or yellowing leaves to encourage healthy growth and prevent the spread of diseases. Pruning can also help maintain the plant's shape.
  8. Keep an eye out for common houseplant pests like spider mites and aphids. If you notice any infestations, treat them promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
  9. Repot your Aphelandra every 1-2 years, preferably during the spring. Gently loosen the roots and move the plant into a slightly larger pot with fresh potting mix.
  10. Aphelandra's growth can slow down during the fall and winter months. During this period, reduce watering and avoid excessive feeding. Ensure the plant isn't exposed to cold drafts.

Aphelandra leaves

Aphelandra Care Tips

Light & placement

When it comes to caring for Aphelandra houseplants, light and placement are key factors to consider. These tropical beauties thrive in bright, indirect light, so it's important to find the perfect spot for them in your home. Place your Aphelandra plant near a north or east-facing window, where it can receive filtered sunlight throughout the day. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves.

Expert tip! Make sure to rotate the plant occasionally to ensure even growth and prevent it from leaning towards the light source.


Aphelandra plants thrive in moist soil but are also sensitive to overwatering. Ensure that the top centimetres of the soil feels slightly dry before watering. Stick your finger into the soil to check its moisture level or use a water meter. If it feels too wet, hold off on watering until it dries out a bit.

Expert tip! Remember, it's always better to underwater than overwater an Aphelandra. Observe the plant closely and pay attention to any signs of wilting or yellowing leaves.


Fertilising Aphelandra houseplants is an essential aspect of their care routine. These tropical beauties require regular nourishment to thrive and produce vibrant blooms. When it comes to fertilisation, it is recommended to use a balanced plant fertiliser. Apply it to the soil every two to four weeks during the plant's active growing season and avoid fertilising during the winter months, as these plants do not require as many nutrients during their dormant period

Temperature & humidity

These tropical beauties thrive in warm environments with temperatures ranging between 18°C to 24°C. Consistent and moderate temperatures are ideal, avoiding extreme fluctuations. Moreover, Aphelandra plants appreciate high humidity levels, mimicking their natural habitat. A relative humidity of around 50% to 60% is recommended to ensure optimal growth. To maintain humidity, you can mist the leaves, place the plant near a humidifier or use a pebble tray filled with water.

Flowering Aphelandra

Soil & repotting

When it comes to repotting, choosing the right soil is essential. Aphelandra plants prefer well-draining soil that retains moisture without becoming waterlogged. A good mix for repotting Aphelandra houseplants consists of a combination of sphagnum moss, perlite, and a small amount of organic matter like compost or coco peat. This type of soil provides the right balance of nutrients, aeration, and moisture retention, promoting healthy root development and overall plant growth. When repotting, it's important to gently remove the plant from its old container, loosen the roots, and place it in the new pot with fresh soil.

Aphelandra propagation

Propagating Aphelandra houseplants is a relatively simple process that can be done through stem cuttings or air layering, where stem cuttings is the most common and easy method.

For stem cuttings, choose a healthy stem with at least two sets of leaves and make a clean cut just below a node at a 45-degree angle. Plant the cutting in well-draining soil, remove the lower leaves, apply rooting hormone, and provide a humid and bright environment. Alternatively, you can propagate the plant in water by dipping the cutting in rooting hormone and placing it in a narrow glass filled with distilled water.

Aphelandra Zebraplant leaves

Most common pests & diseases on Aphelandra

Aphelandra houseplants are known for their vibrant foliage and striking flowers, but they are also prone to certain pests and diseases. The most common pests that can infest Aphelandra plants include aphids, mealybugs, mites and, unfortunately, many more. These pests can cause damage to the leaves and overall health of the plant if not addressed promptly.

Additionally, Aphelandra plants are susceptible to diseases such as leaf spot, powdery mildew, and root rot which can cause discoloration, wilting, and other visible signs of distress.

To learn more about identifying and treating common pests and diseases on Aphelandra and other houseplants, you can visit our PLNTSdoctor page.

Are Aphelandra poisonous for your pets or children?

Aphelandra is a genus of tropical plants known for their attractive foliage and vibrant flowers. While Aphelandra plants are generally not considered highly toxic, they can still pose a mild risk to pets and children if ingested. Better be safe than sorry, so we suggest keeping these plants from your animals and children.

Buy your new Aphelandra online at PLNTS.com

At PLNTS.com, we have beautiful Aphelandra, such as Aphelandra Squarrosa. Buy Apheladra online at PLNTS.com.


Carlijn is probably one of the biggest plant geeks ever. She is always on the lookout for new gems and loves to share all her plant knowledge, tips and inspiration with our community!