How to Care For Elephant Ear Zebra Plant

Published on February 13th 2021
An image of an Alocasia zebrina elephant ear sebra plant
Give this wow-factor plant the attention it deserves with this Alocasia Zebrina care guide
The first thing you notice about Alocasia zebrina is the gorgeous zebra-striped stems that give the plant its name. Those statement stems are topped with arrow-shaped leaves perched high on petioles that look like elegant diving swallows. More often than not the leaves are compared to floppy elephant ears (hence the common name Elephant Ear plant).
Plant lovers with a penchant for animal print will love this plant, but it's not the best houseplant for beginners.
Although that hasn't put prospective plant parents off. Sales of Alocasia have rocketed during the pandemic, and sales of Alocasia Zebrina, in particular, grew tenfold compared with the previous year, according to the RHS.
Instagram has likely helped to propel those patterned stems to the coveted position they enjoy i our homes today. Yet Alocasias are actually one of our longest-lived house companions. Alocasia longiloba ‘Veitchii’, the trendy elephant’s ear, first arrived from the jungles of Borneo in 1862 and was a popular focal point in Victorian parlours.
You can see a stunning Alocasia zebrina specimen in the Waterlily House at Kew Gardens or you can marvel at those beautiful stems from the comfort of your own home by purchasing one on Candide.

How to care for Alocasia zebrina

Humidity: This tender, evergreen perennial originates from South-East Asia, where it thrives in the humid atmosphere provided by the forest floor. To give this plant the best chance, place it in a bathroom or kitchen and provide regular misting.
Light: Bright indirect light is best. It doesn't want to be in full view of the sun as this will scorch the leaves, but a sunny room out of reach of the hottest rays will work well.
Soil: Plant Alocasia zebrina in well-draining soil.
Water: Alocasia zebrina enjoys fairly moist soil but only water when the top two inches of soil feel dry.

How to propagate Alocasia zebrina

The Alocasia zebrina is bound to provoke serious houseplant envy. But you can please your pals by propagating your specimen.
The Alocasia zebrina is rhizomatous, which means it grows from bulbs which emerge from the roots. The best time to repot and propagate Alocasia Zebrina is in spring. You can also propagate this plant by taking leaf cuttings. See a step by step guide on petiole leaf-cutting propagation below.

Common Alocasia zebrina problems

Why is my Alocasia zebrina dying?
In winter, it might look like your plant is dying. However, before you panic, know that Alocasias go through a period of dormancy. During the dormant period, you should halt feeding and keep the compost on the dry side. Your plant should bounce back as temperatures warm up.
But, what if my plant is really dying?
Chilly weather combined with a blasting radiator can be a lethal combination for Alocasia Zebrina. Look out for the following symptoms and adjust your care.
  • Curling leaves or brown crispy leaves: Both of these could be a sign you need to raise the humidity surrounding your plant. You can do this with regular misting, grouping it together with other plants and positioning it in the most humid rooms of your house (the bathroom or kitchen).
  • Drooping leaves: If your plant is looking sad and wilting, this could be a sign of over and underwatering. Check the compost and adjust your watering accordingly. In some cases, you may need to repot in fresh soil to avoid the death grip of root rot.
  • Yellow leaves: When the leaves turn yellow, Alocasia zebrina is likely telling you it is getting more water than it can handle! This plant doesn't like to be waterlogged. Allow the soil to dry out before resuming watering.
  • Though pests are rare, spider mites can be an issue.

Top tips

  • Clean the leaves regularly to keep them dust-free.
  • Feed with an organic fertiliser once a month in spring and summer.
  • The Alocasia zebrina is toxic so keep away from curious pets and young children.
  • Those large glossy leaves will follow the light so rotate your plant regularly or move to a brighter position, particularly in winter.

Types of Alocasia

Alocasia Polly types

Compact and baby Alocasias
Medium Alocasias
Large Alocasias

Where to buy Alocasia zebrina plant

Treat yourself to this statement houseplant today. Find an Alocasia zebrina plant for sale on Candide.

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