Judging by its name, the leaves of the Alocasia zebrina would be the ones featuring the zebra pattern, but the plant comes with a twist sporting zebra stripe-like patterns on its stalks.
This adds an element of surprise to the plant, especially that the leaves of the Alocasia zebrina are simple and elegant.
If you don’t enjoy the patterned leaves of other Alocasia varieties, or you’re looking for a simple Alocasia plant, the ‘Zebrina’ variety may be of interest to you.
It’s not the easiest plant to grow, but my recommendations below will help you offer it the best care.
Size & Growth
Unlike most Alocasia varieties, the ‘Zebrina’ stays at an average of 3 feet, making it a perfect houseplant size-wise.
The zebra-striped stalks may add pizzazz to the plant, but the leaves aren’t to be dismissed either. Their light green coloration, smooth surface and interesting shape create a pleasant atmosphere wherever you decide to keep this plant.
And because the plant stays at a manageable size, it’s not difficult to find a suitable spot for it. It’s important, however, to consider the Zebrinas light requirements first.
The large leaves of the Alocasia Zebrina enjoy bright light and will suffer both in strong direct light and dark shade.
Partial shade or dappled light works great for this plant, so outdoors, it will do fine under a tree that filters direct light.
Indoors, it’s best to pick a location with a north-eastern exposure. You can even place this plant a few feet away from a southern window if the window is covered with sheer curtains.
If the plant doesn’t get enough light, it will become lopsided. To prevent this, rotate the plant each time you water, so light gets distributed evenly on all sides of the plant.
Consistent, moderate watering is the key to keep this Alocasia variety happy. Because the stalks of the plant can hold a bit of water, it’s susceptible to root rot when overwatered.
To prevent root rot issues, don’t soak the soil when watering. It’s best to add smaller amounts more frequently than do a deep soak infrequently.
The potting mix should be slightly moist and neither dry nor soggy. The best way to tell when your Alocasia needs watering is to poke a finger a few inches deep into the soil. If the soil is still moist, postpone watering by a few days.
To reduce the risk of problems caused by overwatering, another thing you can do besides learning the correct watering routine is to choose a well-draining potting mix for your Zebrina.
By well-draining, I mean the type of potting mix that doesn’t become saturated with water and allows water to percolate fast.
Tropical plant mixes, succulent mixes, and mixes that contain perlite, coarse sand, and peat moss will work fine for this plant, allowing the soil to aerate and preventing compaction and excess water retention.
In a suitable mix, the roots of the Zebrina are much less likely to rot, even when a bit overwatered.
Temperature & Humidity
Alocasias thrive in a humid environment and the Zebrina variety is no exception. It does not do well in dry conditions, so if you’re keeping it outdoors during periods of drought, you need to up its watering.
It can be difficult to maintain a high moisture level indoors, so getting a humidifier to do the job for you or occasionally misting the plant in the morning can help humidify the air.
If the air is too dry, the Alocasia zebrina becomes susceptible to pests, which is a whole different level of trouble you’ll need to deal with.
Therefore, make sure that humidity levels are slightly above average to keep your Alocasia happy and healthy.
As for temperatures, these tropical plants enjoy temperatures between 60 F and 80 F. The plant is not cold or frost-resistant, so make sure to take it back inside in the fall.
A good quality liquid fertilizer applied twice or once a month during the growing period will help with the growth of your Alocasia. Make sure to dilute the fertilizer to half-strength, so that you don’t accidentally burn the plant.
Potting & Repotting
The Zebrina doesn’t mind being in a small pot as long as it still fits. If the plant gets too large for the pot, you can transfer it to a pot that’s only one size bigger.
Generally, it’s best to leave the plant undisturbed if it hasn’t outgrown its pot. It’s unlikely that you’ll need to repot more often than very 2 years or so.
Repotting can be beneficial to help freshen up the potting mix. It’s also a good change to inspect the roots of the plant and even divide the rhizome to propagate the plant.
How to Propagate Alocasia Zebrina?
When the plant reaches a certain level of maturity, it will create offshoots that you can gently separate from the mother plant and transfer to separate pots. You can also divide the clumps the roots form to grow a new plant.
Regardless of the method of propagation you choose, you’ll need fast-draining potting mix, indirect bright light, moderate watering, humidity and warm temperatures.
You’ll notice some plant activity withing two months after propagation. By the thrid month, you can treat the plants as you would a mature Alocasia plant.
Make sure not to overwater, nor allow the soil to go completely dry.
This Alocasia variety grows to dimensions that make it suitable for indoor growing. Although it needs some attention as far as watering and humidity are concerned, you won’t have a harder job Zebrina compared to other tropical plants.
An otherwise simple-looking plant if not for the zebra stripe patterns on its stalks, the Alocasia Zebrina adds elegance and pizzazz to any room you want decorate.
Make sure the plant is reached evenly by light, so that it doesn’t grow lopsided. Avoid direct sunlight, sudden fluctuations in temperatures, cold drafts, excessive heat and dry conditions.
If you manage to do all these, you’ll be enjoying a healthy and strong Alocasia.