Characteristics of Calathea Zebrina

The Calathea zebrina is officially known as Geoppertia Zebrina. This plant usually grows in subtropical conditions, but it can also be grown as a houseplant in your home. Let’s find out the explanation about characteristics of Calathea zebrina and also some other information about this plant.

Characteristics of Calathea Zebrina

Calathea zebrina is known as a zebra plant. This plant comes from tropical areas of southeastern Brazil. This plant is the same as all others from the Maranta group and Calathea genus where it is grown for its striking leaves. On that site, it is also explained that this plant has velvety patterned ovate leaves where the colour is light green with darker green stripes like Zebra stripes. The underside of the leaves is purple, but it is not always visible because leaves grow horizontally.

Calathea Zebrina

As explained on the Pela site, the leaves are able to reach 18 inches. Their shape is oval with a slight point at the end. The leaves grow on single, upright stalks of varying heights. Usually, the whole plant reaches around 3 feet tall. The spread of the leaves makes it about 3 feet wide. The leaves have the tendency to fall back from the stems, not pointing up.

This plant is often categorized into the prayer plant group and other plants in the genus Maranta. You can see the plant leaves fold at night and in the morning the leaves will unfold again.

Calathea zebrina generates purple or white inconspicuous flowers. However, if they are planted indoors, they are unlikely to appear.

How to Care for Calathea Zebrina

Here is the explanation about caring for Calathea Zebrina.

  • Soil Requirements for Calathea Zebrina

Originally, Calathea zebrina grows along the rainforest floor where the moist soil is fertile with fallen leaves and other plant debris. So, when you grow this plant in your house, you need to be able to replicate this soil. You are able to use a fertile, peaty mixture with good drainage. Calathea zebrina needs a moist soil medium. However, it does not mean that you have to use a heavy soil mixture which tends to retain too much water for too long a period. If so, the root can rot. However, you also have to avoid a fast-draining mix which contains too much sand because it will be hard to keep the soil moist if you use this kind of soil. So, what is the best mix of soils for Calathea zebrina? You are able to use a mix of one part potting soil, two parts peat and two parts perlites. If it has a lot of African violet mixes, it can also be good.

  • Light Requirements for Calathea Zebrina

When this plant is grown outdoors in the climate that it likes, the plant prefers a shady to partially shady location. When you decide to grow this plant as a houseplant, you have to make sure that you provide bright or medium, indirect light. Make sure that the plant avoids direct sunlight, particularly in the afternoon because if you put it under direct sunlight, the foliage of the plant can lose its colour or develop burns or brown patches or edges. This plant can tolerate lower light. Nevertheless, if the light is too dark, the plant can lose its robust growth and generate leggy stems. If this condition happens, you are able to move to a brighter location gradually.

  • Temperature Requirements for Calathea Zebrina

It is important for you to remember that this plant is native to tropical areas where it has warm year-round temperature. So, if you make this plant as a houseplant, you have to place it in an area where the temperature average is between 65°F to 75°F. It is important for you to avoid placing the plant in locations which are exposed to hot or cold drafts. If there are warm drafts, the leaf edges of your plant can be brown or curling. How about cold drafts? These can cause wilting and leaf yellowing. If you want, you are able to take your Calathea zebrina outside over the summer months. However, you have to bring it indoors again before cooler nights of autumn.

  • Water Requirements for Calathea Zebrina

You have to make sure that you can keep the soil lightly moist but not too saturated. Make sure that you do not have waterlogged soil, but you also have to make sure that it does not completely dry out. Let’s say that the soil really dries. If so, you will find that your plant wilts and the leaves curl. In spring through summer where the plant is actively growing, you have to water it more often to keep the soil moist. In winter, when the plant goes into dormancy and growth slows, you have to reduce the watering.

  • Humidity Requirements for Calathea Zebrina

This plant needs high requirements for humidity. If the humidity is less, you will see that the foliage turns brown at the tips and edges and the leaves will curl and then the plant will fail to grow. Make sure that your home has humidity levels between 50% to 60%. If your house does not have this humidity level, you can do these methods for creating the right humidity for your Calathea Zebrina.

o You can sit the Calathea zebrina plant on a tray filled with pebbles alone or mixed with other plants. The water in the pebble tray will evaporate and the humidity will be created around the plant.

o You can put the Calathea zebrina in a room with a humidifier.

o You can put the Calathea zebrina plant in a natural humid room such as in the bathroom or kitchen. In these kinds of rooms, water is consistently used and it has the needed light conditions by your Calathea zebrina.

o You are able to group the Calathea zebrina plant with other potted plants.

o You can mist the Calathea zebrina with room temperature water several times in a week.

  • Fertilizer Requirements for Calathea zebrina

The fertilizer requirement for this plant is low. However, it is better if you fertilize it monthly with a very diluted, balanced fertilizer solution. If you want, you can use a water soluble fertilizer that you can make up at ¼ strength. Make sure that you do not over fertilize it because it can cause more problems than under fertilizing. Avoid feeding the Calathea during fall and winter because in this period, it stops active growth.

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