Scientific name: Alocasia Zebrina
Synonyms: Elephant Ears, Zebra Plant, Zebra Alocasia
Featuring gorgeously patterned stems and glossy, arrow-like deep green leaves, the Alocasia Zebrina is a must-have for all exotic houseplant collectors.
It is native to the hot humid jungles of the Philippines. This slender beauty loves brightly lit areas, but be careful not to expose it to direct sunlight as this can damage the glossy leaves.
The Alocasia Zebrina is also very fond of high humidity, so if you have a warm, bright bathroom, this is a fantastic place for it, but it can also handle drier conditions if you pay attention to its needs. Watering is also crucial for keeping this houseplant alive. Elephant Ears, in general, prefer slightly moist soil with a short period of time between waterings. However, prolonged dryness can be deadly.
Another important note is that these are deciduous plants during Winter dormancy, usually in temperate regions. This means it is common for them to shed their leaves. If this does happen place your plant in a warm bright spot and water sparingly until new shoots appear and resume with regular watering.
When young, Alocasia Zebrina makes for a great tabletop piece, and as it matures, it will add intrigue as a floor plant in a brightly lit corner or among other larger foliaged houseplants.
They aren't the easiest plants to care for, but if given the proper care and attention, they thrive as indoor plants. So if you are up for the challenge of some more exotic tropical houseplants then the Alocasia Zebrina is a fantastic place to start.
NOTE: These plants are considered poisonous and should be kept away from pets and children.
Alocasia Zebrina Common Symptoms
- Stunted growth/brown edges on leaves: This is a sign your Alocasia is dehydrated. Optimal watering is necessary to keep this plant thriving. Water your Zebrina regularly during its growth period being sure to keep the soil evenly moist and allow it to dry out two-thirds of the way before watering again, do not allow the soil to stay dry for prolonged periods. Brown edging on leaves can also be an indication of a lack of humidity. Rectify this by spritzing at a minimum of twice a day or place your houseplant on a pebble tray to raise humidity naturally.
- Yellowing leaves/droopy stems: Overwatering is the leading cause of houseplant expiration in most homes. Yellowing leaves, especially near the soil, is the first sign of a plant that is being overwatered, another indication of over-saturated soil in the Alocasia Zebrina is if the stems begin to droop. Amend this by allowing your soil to dry out two-thirds of the way before watering again. Be sure that your planter is draining correctly and use the guide of watering weekly during summer months and less often in winter. Click for more on Identifying Under vs Over watering.
- Washed out foliage/ Brown crisp patches: As much as your Alocasia loves bright light, too much direct sunlight can leave your leaves looking dull and washed out. Direct sunlight can also burn the foliage leaving unsightly brown patches on the leaves. Relocate your Alocasia Zebrina out of direct sunlight to improve its appearance.
- Pests: Already stressed Alocasia Zebrina will be highly susceptible to pest infestations leading to excessive yellowing fronds and leaf drop. Mealybug, scale and spider mites are common indoor plant pests and can weaken your plant relatively quickly if left untreated. Adjust environmental stressors for your house plant and treat infestations with an organic pesticide.
Alocasia Zebrina Care Instructions
- Origin: Philippines
- Height: Average between 18 - 40cm, indoors and out.
- Light: Bright filtered light, do not allow your Alocasia to be exposed to direct sunlight.
- Water: Allow the soil to dry out two-thirds between watering. Prevent prolonged dryness.
- Humidity: Medium to high humidity is ideal, if choosing a bathroom or kitchen, be sure these spaces remain consistently warm.
- Temperature: Ideal temperatures range from 18°C - 26°C.
- Soil: A well-draining moisture retentive organic potting mix is sufficient.
- Fertilizer: Use a well balanced organic fertilizer once a month.
- Repotting: Your Alocasia Zebrina will only need to be repotted every two years or so, or once the plant has become rootbound. Be sure to up pot into a planter that has adequate drainage. Soak your plant 24 hours beforehand to assist with transplant shock and be sure to tamper with the roots as little as possible during repotting. It is best to re-pot during warmer weather. Click for more on Re-potting Houseplants.
- Propagation: Division is the most successful way to propagate your Alocasia. Once your plant has reached past heights of 25cm it would have developed basal offshoots, also known as corms. These can be split up from each other and repotted in their own planters to form new plants.
If in stock, shop for Alocasia Zebrina here.