How To Grow and Care For Alocasia Zebrina

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Alocasia Zebrina is a rhizomatous tropical perennial plant from Southeast Asia, particularly the most humid and moist rainforests of the Philippines.

The plant belongs to the Arum family, which is a family of wild monocotyledonous flowering plants. 

Striped leaves of Alocasia ZebrinaPin

However, it rarely grows in the wild anymore and is currently a highly prized ornamental plant due to the unique striped pattern on its stem that resembles tigers or zebra patterns.

Related: Tips on Growing Alocasia The African Mask Plant

It’s one of the few plants known by its original botanical name, as it’s known scientifically as “Alocasia Zebrina,” too. The name is pronounced [a-lo-KAY-shuh or a-loh-KAY-see-uh] [zeb-REE-nuh].

In addition to its original name, it also goes by “The elephant ears plant” due to its prominent heart-shaped leaves. However, other Alocasia plant species may also go by this name. To specify the Zebrina, you may call it:

  • Alocasia zebra tiger plant
  • Zebra alocasia
  • Zebra plant

In today’s article, you’ll learn how to grow and care for Alocasia Zebrina, as well as other information about the plant. Let’s hop in!

Alocasia Zebrina Care

Plants Size & Growth

The exotic alocasia zebrina is known for growing quite fast, especially during the warm seasons when temperatures are as close as possible to their original habitat in high and well-drained elevations in the forest undergrowth.

Alocasia zebrina can grow up to about 5′ feet high (about 91.4 cm) and spread of about 3′ feet wide. 

The fast-growing plant will usually put out leaves once every two weeks if all the ideal growing conditions were met, especially during the summer.

The plant will naturally shed the older heart-shaped leaves and replace them with new foliage that grow quickly.

Flowering and Fragrance

Alocasia Zebrina belongs to the Arum family, so they’re known for being a highly flowering species. 

Ideally, the zebra plant is known for producing relatively small flowers and has a whitish color that looks somewhat like peace lilies or calla lilies.

The flowers usually grow as multiple tiny flowers on a spadix, common among all other Aroid plants. A leaf-shaped spathe usually covers the flowering spike.

One thing you should know is that these plants rarely bloom when grown indoors. But the plant is grown for its amazingly unique stem with zebra patterns and heart or arrow-shaped leaves. As a result, the flowers are typically insignificant. 

Like all plants that won’t typically grow flowers indoors, Alocasia zebrina doesn’t produce any fragrance. However, the flowers are very small anyway and won’t have any significant odor.

Indirect Light & Temperature

Alocasia Zebrina needs plenty of indirect sunlight for optimal growth without exposure to direct sunlight to avoid scorching the waxy leaves.

If that happens, they turn yellow, so make sure to move the plant away if you notice any yellowing in the leaves.

Ideally, you should keep the leaves in a corner with indirect sun or in a west or east-facing window behind sheer curtains. 

The plant follows the sun’s path, so make sure to rotate them every now and then for a more even and uniform growth.

The ideal temperature for the plant is usually between 65 to 80 F (18 to 28 C). Colder temperatures will make the leaves fall. 

Remember to avoid temperature fluctuations or place them in the air-conditioning. They do best in a humid environment and suffer in the lack of humidity. 

If you live in a USDA growing zone 10 through 11, you may grow the plant outdoors!

Watering and Fertilizer

You need to water the Alocasia zebrina approximately once a week for the best level of care.

Make sure that you let the top 1 or 2 inches of the soil dry out before you water it again to avoid excess water and suffocating the plant roots and causing them to rot.

On the other hand, if you under-watered the plant, the edges of the leaves will start to look slightly brownish. 

Reestablishing a good watering schedule based on the top of the soil dryness will regain the flower’s natural colors.

As for feeding, you only need to apply a slow-release fertilizer during the growing season, ideally once every 4 weeks. 

Soil Potting Mix & Transplanting

As you can see, the topsoil needs to dry up to 1 or 2 inches deep before watering the plant. That’s why Alocasia Zebrina requires well-draining soil.

The ideal soil mix for potting Alocasia zebrina is similar to all Alocasia species. 

It should contain one part of regular houseplant soil, peat moss, and coarse sand or perlite to allow the soil to aerate and drain well.

Grooming And Maintenance

The main maintenance tip that you should know about Alocasia Zebrina is that it has a dormancy period.

During that time, the leaves will start to wilt and fall off even with proper care, so don’t panic. Instead, give the soil less water during this period and wait for the plant to return to its original state.

Alocasia Plants To Grow and Collect

How To Propagate Alocasia Zebrina

Alocasia will grow in lightweight clay aggregates (LECA), and is quite easy to propagate because they produce bulbs.

All you have to do to propagate the plant is pull them out of the plant by wiggling it carefully until it comes off. 

Make sure that the bulb is ready for propagation. If it’s still skinny and resists coming off easily, give it some more time. Then, you can either let the new plant grow in the soil or transfer it to a new pot.

Alocasia Zebrina Pests or Diseases

Sterile soil, proper care, feeding, and watering should be enough to prevent serious Alocasia Zebrina diseases. However, poor maintenance could expose it easily to root rot or leaf spots.

As for pests, there are some pests that the plant is susceptible to, and they’re usually found under the leaves. These pests include spider mites, mealybugs, scales, and some aphids.

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