Nature is full of beautiful plants with their unique features. Every plant has its nature and importance in the system. Alocasia zebrina is one such beautiful tropical perennial plant with big, dark green, heart-shaped leaves. The glossy green leaves are supported upright on long and thin stems with distinct zebra-like patterns of yellow and black color. This is the reason for its typical species name ‘zebrina’ meaning Zebra.
These plants are indoor exotic plants. The size of the plant is medium and decent enough to be easily kept in the house. The mature plant reaches up to a height of 18 to 40 cm. The length of leaves varies with species and environment.
The average leaf length of a mature plant is around 6 to 10 cm. It is native to the Philippines and is attractive enough to decorate any corner of your home. In this article, we will discuss important facts about the Alocasia zebrina plant.
Alocasia Zebrina Plant Family
Alocasia zebrina belongs to the family Araceae (the Calla family). Dozens of hybridized varieties are created from the basic species of the Arocasian family which are more than 70 in number. These are rhizomatous plants with different sizes and characteristics. Popular varieties are;
- Alocasia amazonica is commonly called the Amazon lily.
- Alocasia macrorrhizos are around 15 feet in height.
Common Names of Alocasia Zebrina
- The big prominent heart-shaped leaves somewhat resemble the ears of the elephant so it is called ‘the elephant ears plant.
However, this name is used for some other Alocasia plant species as well.
- The typical striped pattern on the stems resembles the skin of the tiger. This creates another common name as ‘Alocasia zebra tiger plant’.
- They are also called ‘Zebra Alocasia’ or ‘Zebra plant’.
Alocasia Zebrina Plant Dormancy Season
It is important to mention that from October to January, the plant gets dormant. In this stage, almost all or half of the leaves of the Alocasia zebrina plant turn yellow and fall. So you don’t need to get worried as your plant is not dying. It is just ‘resting the winters away’. In this phase, you have to provide the necessary care to keep the plant rest peacefully.
Keep the plant in a warm area, with suitable indirect sunlight and watering twice a month in little quantities while keeping the soil dry between intervals. Let the leaf turn fully yellow and then remove the dead leaves with sheers to prevent the wastage of resources of the plant. Wait for the summers to come and your plant will get up again with its beauty and fresh new leaves.
Alocasia Zebrina Care
Zebrina Alocasia is not easy to handle and its maintenance is somewhat tricky as compared to other members of its family. Important points related to the Alocasia zebrina care are mentioned below:
The Alocasia zebrina and its other family members are water-loving plants. The months of March to September are the growing season for the plant. The plants are inactive functioning and need water in good quantity. The key is to water frequently (thrice a week) but in lesser quantity. Make sure that the upper 5 inches of the soil are dry before you water the plant for the next time.
In the winter season, the plant gets dormant by removing its majority or all of the leaves and doesn’t show any signs of growth. Water the plant twice a month in little quantities to avoid dryness. It is always recommended to water the plant with very slightly warm (to kill the intense coolness) water in winter to save the roots from freezing.
The plant requires moist but well-drained soil.
The Zebrinas being native to the rain forests require a humid environment to dwell.
If you find that the environment of your house is somewhat dry or low in humidity you can try any of the under mentioned measures:
- Adding a humidifier in the room.
- Misting the leaves of the plant.
- Putting a pebble-filled tray under the plant pot and fill it will water to provide the plant with the necessary moisture.
Some people prefer putting it in the bathroom window where the Alocasia zebrina gets enough moisture and light from the environment.
The Alocasia zebrina needs bright indirect light for its proper growth. It is important to keep it in a window with blinds or a corner with plenty of indirect sun exposure.
Intense and direct exposure to sunlight may burn the waxy leaves of the plant.
Make sure to rotate the plant pot frequently, so that all parts of the plant get a good quantity of sunlight and no part remains in the darkness. A good practice is to rotate with an angle of 90 degrees every time you water the plant.
One of the important factors of Alocasia zebrina’s care is to keep the plant in a suitable temperature range which is between 18 to 22 degrees Centigrade. The growth may turn compact at a lower temperature.
The plant feeds well on a common house plant fertilizer in the ‘slow-release form’ to be added once a month from March to September.
Never add fertilizer in the winter when the plant is dormant, as it may burn the leaves or plant as a whole.
Providing fertilizer over the plant’s needs creates salt buildup in the soil which leads to plant destruction.
One of the important points of the Alocasia zebrina Care is that a pot with one or two drainage holes at the bottom is recommended. Standing water at the base of the soil is a source of all great plant issues including root rot, so bottom drainage in the pot is highly recommended.
The plant has big exposed leaves that make food through photosynthesis. It is important to keep the leaves clean by misting or wiping the leaves with a wet cloth to remove dust. This will prevent any blockage in the stomata of the leaves and ensure healthy plant growth.
The Hardiness growth zones are 7b-11.
The plant is toxic just like the majority of Alocasians. On ingestion, it causes ulceration and irritation in the throat, esophagus, and eyes. It is strictly advised to keep the babies and pets away from the plant.
Alocasia Zebrina Variegated
Variegated plants have different colors than the original species due to the lack of the green color forming substance chlorophyll in some of the cells. This color difference is most prominent in the leaves of the plant. Variegated plants give a unique appearance and look like an all-new plant species.
Experts create genetic mutations and cultivate those plants as variegated plant varieties. Variegated plant varieties of different shades are available like bi-color and tri-color variegated plants. The appearance and intensity of variegation of these plants may vary according to season and age.
There is a long list of plants whose variegated varieties are created, sold, and admired by the people. These variegated plants are sold at higher rates as compared to the common plant species.
The Variegated Alocasia zebrina is famous variegated plant species in which the leaves have prominent white or light green patches or strips on the surface. These are sold in markets and people like to have them in their homes.
If you find that the Alocasia zebrina variegated is reverting by developing full green leaves like the original species, you can carefully prune the green leaves to maintain the variegation. This can be done up to an extent until the life of the plant is not affected.
Jual Alocasia Zebrina
‘Jual’ basically stands for saleable products. The term ‘Jual Alocasia zebrina’ refers to the fact that these are in demand by plant lovers and are available in markets.
Alocasia Zebrina Plant Propagation
The Zebra Alocasia is a rhizomatous plant like the other family members. The propagation is usually done by the ‘division of rhizome’.
The ideal season for propagation is spring and the early days of summer. The division of the rhizome is never to be tried in the winter season when the plant is dormant.
- Dig around the plant to create a space to take out the mother plant. Make sure you dig while leaving at least 12 cm of space near the rhizome to keep the roots safe.
- Now carefully dig out the parent plant.
- Look carefully and divide the rhizome.
- Now plant the mother plant back.
- Plant the smaller part of the rhizome in moist soil keeping the tip of the rhizome above the soil line and rhizome in an upright direction.
- Provide the baby plant with required Alocasia zebrina care like warm temperature and mild indirect sunlight. Water is frequently in low quantities after observing the moisture level of the soil.
- After about three to four weeks, new shoots will develop on the plant as a sign of successful propagation of the Alocasia zebrina plant.
Ignoring your zebrina can cause different types of problems for your plant. The most common problems are root rot and leave spot disease that is injurious to plant growth and development.
Pest infections are another worrisome thing for your zebrina. Your plant can be easily susceptible to mealybugs, spider mites, scales, and aphids if there is excessive moisture across the leaves’ surface.
Therefore, you should regularly check the lower surface of your leaves to check any pest infection or disease. Moreover, the use of neem oil and antibacterial soap is suggested to reduce the extent of damage caused by these pests and diseases.
The Alocasia zebrina plant is a member of the Araceae family. It is an exotic indoor plant famous for its lush green leaves and zebra-like long, thin, and patterned stems. It is native to the Philippines and is somewhat tricky to be taken care of.