Ever wanted a small shrub as an indoor plant? If so, the zebra plant or Aphelandra squarrosa is the perfect choice for you. It is relatively easy to take care of, low maintenance, aesthetically pleasing and thrives in potted environments.
Aside from the usual appearance of this plant, dark green leaves with pronounced white leaf veins and golden flowers, there are various cultivars to choose from.
Read on to know which Aphelandra varieties suit you best.
The Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Leopoldii’ is known for its broader foliage with that classic white vein contrast growing from a reddish-brown stem. Also, this cultivar bears gold flowers with red bracts. In terms of growing this cultivar, it prefers partial to full shade light, slightly acid soil pH at 5.6 to 6, and the minimum pot size is 1 gallon. If you want to propagate the leopoldii, stem cuttings are the way to go.
The Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Louisae’ is the perfect cultivar for you if you love the contrast between the green and yellow shades. Its foliage has a deep green broad color with yellow veins. Also, its blooms are surrounded by gold bracts. There are no special maintenance or growing requirements for this cultivar.
The Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Brockfeld’ originated from Germany. It is widely cultivated for its bright and lighter green foliage with the yellow leaf venation. Also, this cultivar stands out among others because of its more compact stature. It is one of the cultivars that will serve as a good desk plant. No special maintenance or care is required for this cultivar.
Also known as the Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Fritz Prinsler’, this cultivar also came from Germany. This cultivar is a result of crossing the Leopoldii and Louisae. The cross between the two resulted in an aphelandra with green foliage contrasted with slightly yellow veins. Also, this cultivar bears yellow bracts and flowers. It is recommended to plant it in pots with at least a gallon capacity or more. Same growing and maintenance are needed by this cultivar.
If you are a fan of striking but classy plants, this cultivar is perfect for you. This cultivar came from Denmark and is a child of the Fritz Prinsler cultivar. It serves as a good desk plant with its compact growth. In terms of its aesthetic appeal, it bears leaves with the creamy white leaf venation. Its stem is reddish-brown to maroon, while its flowers are yellow.
The blooms are said to last for up to 6 weeks. After the flower has lived its weeks, it should be removed and pruning should be done for this Aphelandra cultivar. Same as the other cultivars, follow the general grow and care requirements for Aphelandra squarrosa.
Similar to the Dania cultivar, the Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Ivo’ also came from the Fritz Prinsler cultivar. It prefers slightly acidic soil, partial to full shade sunlight, and could withstand up to 35 degrees Fahrenheit. The main difference it has with Dania is that it has darker green foliage. This cultivar is best grown in 1-gallon pots or larger. The requirements for growing and maintaining are the same.
The Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Red Apollo’ rises above others with its unique foliage color. It bears leaves with a reddish-brown base color with yellowish-white accents. Despite its beautiful foliage, this cultivar rarely blossoms. Also, this cultivar is slightly sensitive to light. If exposed too little to light, the red pigments on the leaves will not show as vibrant.
This cultivar stands out with its very light green foliage, which makes it look like it has a slight white cast. Moreover, its leaves have green leaf venation, which is a unique and beautiful combination for zebra plants. It is a product of the cross between Aphelandra squarrosa and Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Snow White’ making it less common than the types found in the Brazilian forests. Other than the light requirement mentioned above, other growing conditions are the same as the other cultivars.
The snow white cultivar differs from the rest with its white leaf veins and dark green base leaf color. It got its common name from having mottles or tiny spots of white near the veins and midrib making it look like the plant is covered with snow. Moreover, its blooms are yellow or gold with a similar appearance to the other cultivars. Aside from the similarity in flowers, the cultural requirements for this Aphelandra cultivar are the same as the other ones, which makes it easier to care for them.
Tips on Choosing the Right Aphelandra Type
Although the first thing you would consider in picking the Aphelandra plant for you is what it looks like, it should not be the only thing that comes to mind. There are other things you would need to consider to choose the perfect plant for you.
First, you need to know where in the house you are going to put it. Some cultivars are more compact than others and it can either be an advantage or a disadvantage. For example, a more compact cultivar suits best for rooms with less space or for layering with other plants. Remember to pick a plant that will go well with your other plants and furniture. This may vary depending on where you choose to put it, but it is best to know
The second thing to consider is your availability to take care of the plants. This is important because there are cultivars, like the Red Apollo, that may need more attention than others. Furthermore, each cultivar should still be treated differently despite the similarities they have. A grower must always have time to observe and check the well-being of their plants.
Lastly, take time to read and learn more about the Aphelandra plant. We have an article about growing and caring for Aphelandra plants. It is vital to know this information to ensure the optimal growth of your plant.
*image by sweemingyoung/depositphotos