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Zebra plant

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
by Cricket on July 26, 2005 07:42 AM
My Aphelandra squarrosa is slowly losing all its bottom leaves but supports lots of vigourous top growth. It is on an unobstructed south-facing windowsill where other than the leaf-loss the plant seems to be thriving. Some of the dropped leaves yellow first, others fall green. The plant has dried out several times. Although the it doesn't appear too large for its pot and it was repotted (but not up potted - Hi Will [wayey] ) in January it needs watering every one to two days or the leaves wilt like a thirsty peace lily. There are no apparent pests. Could the leaf drop be due to underwatering?

Cricket
by Will Creed on July 26, 2005 09:06 AM
Hi Cricket,

Zebra plants do not tolerate dryness to the point of wilting at all. It is best to water thoroughly as soon as the surface of the soil feels dry.

Zebras quite naturally grow tall and leggy even in the best of circumstances, so it is a matter of time before they need to be pruned back. You can try rooting the cutting in a plastic tent, but the success rate is not high.

BTW, I know from previous correspondence with you that your south facing window is obstructed by a large overhanging roof deck. Although you may have a clear view out your window, the overhang blocks a considerable amount of light. A normal south-facing window receives many hours of direct sun every day, something that yours does not. Direct sun would be too much for a Zebra plant.

(Interesting tag line!)
by Cricket on July 26, 2005 10:09 AM
Thanks, Will. The plant has dried out more than once and it didn't get watered at all when I was recently away for five days. [shocked] It usually requires daily watering, particularly in warm weather.

quote:
I know from previous correspondence with you that your south facing window is obstructed by a large overhanging roof deck.
You have a good memory! [muggs] But it is my patio door that is obstructed by the deck overhang. The window in which the zebra plant sits is an unobstructed part of the house and receives direct sun all afternoon. I'll post a photo as soon as my camera batteries finish recharging.

quote:
Direct sun would be too much for a Zebra plant.

Oops! [Embarrassed] What exposure should it be in?
by Cricket on July 26, 2005 11:33 AM
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And after the removal of dying leaves...
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by Will Creed on July 27, 2005 08:10 AM
Hi Cricket,

Photos do not lie, so I must stand corrected. Apparently your Zebra has adapted quite well to the direct sun you have provided. Yours is one of the healthier older Zebras I have seen.

What leaves you have lost were undoubtedly a result of the occasional episodes of drought, which is what you had suggested in your original question.

I wish I had just said, "Yes," and left it at that instead of pontificating as I am oft inclined to do. Thank you for puncturing my pomposity - I need that from time-to-time!

If you have any questions about Zebra plants, please contact Cricket.
by Cricket on July 27, 2005 08:40 AM
quote:
Yours is one of the healthier older Zebras I have seen.

Thanks, Will!

quote:
Thank you for puncturing my pomposity
Oh no! [Embarrassed] My intention was only to clarify the Zebra's environment. You are NEVER pompous! [kissies] It would have been helpful for me to post photos at the same time the original question was posed.

Will the leaves grow back if I water more diligently? And what exposure is optimum for Zebra plants?
by Cricket on July 27, 2005 08:55 AM
quote:
If you have any questions about Zebra plants, please contact Cricket.
[Big Grin] [Big Grin] Like Cricket knows anything about Zebra plants!
by Will Creed on July 27, 2005 09:01 AM
Cricket, you are very kind.

The fallen leaves will not grow back. All new growth will continue to grow at the tops of the stems.

More diligent watering will help prevent further lower leaf loss.

Optimum light is the light that it has most recently had. The new leaves on your Zebra are adapted to the light you provided when they emerged. Leaves grown in indirect light might washout if given the same exposure. Isn't it remarkable how adaptable plants can be? Of course, that often leads to confusion as to what is best for a particular plant and sometimes makes a liar out of me! LOL!
by Will Creed on July 27, 2005 09:02 AM
In the wild, I have seen Zebras feeding off of Crickets!
by Cricket on July 27, 2005 09:29 AM
quote:
The fallen leaves will not grow back.
I guess I now have a Zebra tree! [Big Grin]

quote:
In the wild, I have seen Zebras feeding off of Crickets!
[shocked] [scaredy] I live in the wild!
Hmmm, Are there Zebras in your concrete jungle? Maybe I can take refuge in NYC! [grin]
by Cricket on July 27, 2005 09:32 AM
quote:
Isn't it remarkable how adaptable plants can be? Of course, that often leads to confusion as to what is best for a particular plant and sometimes makes a liar out of me!
So annoying when plants do that! [perplexed] And you wonder why I talk to my plants! [Wink]
by tkhooper on July 27, 2005 09:45 PM
I love you too. That's a nice looking plant. My apartment has spider mites. I thought I had gotten rid of them but they just came and attacked my parsley so no more house plants for me. I'm so upset.
by njoynit on July 27, 2005 10:23 PM
I was growing one of these....quiet nicely too....and had made a "Y and had 2 yellow flowers...then my hubbys rotti knocked it.Plant did not survive..My SIL bought one though last week(she even seen my double bloom at new years).
Mine wouldn't take full sun.But TX sun is lots warmer than where your at way up north of me.I'd winter it indoors in a southern expousre for winter,but then its gotton north side of house and was quiet happy.Mine was about yours size,but I had mine potted up a size from yours.Temp drops below 50 usually cause leaf drop and so do spider mites(Debra got a spider mite lesson yesterday in walmart)

I loved this plant.The foliage is nice and the flower is neat also.I had orange(well bronze) panseys in pot once with them.

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I will age ungracefully until I become an old woman in a small garden..doing whatever the Hell I want!

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by Cricket on July 28, 2005 04:13 AM
Hi Njoynit,

Too bad about your Zebra plant! Is the rotti still in your bad books? (I notice it is hubby's rotti [lala] ).

This is my first Zebra plant. The foliage is lovely on its own but I love the challenge of getting flowering houseplants to bloom and the yellow flower is so pretty and long-lasting.

No signs of spider mites. You are so right about the Texas sun being hotter than here. Still, I do watch the plant closely for signs of sun damage. And I am repotting it into a slightly larger pot. Our weather the last few days is hot so I am having to water twice daily. I can't see myself doing that for long! [Roll Eyes]

Pansies planted with the Zebra would look very sharp. Do you have photos?
by Will Creed on July 28, 2005 09:27 AM
Tammy,

No reason to get rid of all your houseplants because of spider mites. I know they are upsetting especially when they come back after you think you have gotten rid of them. But they can be treated successfully.
by afgreyparrot on July 28, 2005 09:39 AM
Mr. Creed...

quote:
Sorry, that member's private message mailbox is currently full. Please try sending your private message another time.

[tongue]

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