Call us at 1-800-355-8086
Blooming Plant
of the month

            
aphelandra

(printable PDF)

If you have trouble viewing these PDF (portable document format) files, download a copy of the free Adobe Reader.

BOTANICAL

Aphelandra squarrosa
(af-el-AN-druh skwah-RO-sa)

COMMON NAME
Zebra plant

DESCRIPTION
Aphelandras are compact plants that grow up to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. They have white-veined, glossy green foliage and flower spikes at the stem ends.

COLORS
The colors of Aphelandras’ flowers vary depending on the species. The most popular species, A. squarrosa, has yellow or golden flowers. There are also species with orange-scarlet, scarlet and pink flowers.

CONSUMER LIFE
Aphelandras will begin flowering when the plants are only a few months old. They typically bloom from late summer through fall. With proper care, the plants will bloom continuously for several months.

AVAILABILITY
Aphelandras are available year-round.

IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
LIGHT Bright, indirect light is best for Aphelandras that are displayed indoors.
WATER Keep the compost moist at all times with soft, tepid water, but do not allow it to become waterlogged. Water in the early part of the day. Avoid standing water on the foliage. Reduce watering in winter.
TEMPERATURE Aphelandras are sensitive to low temperatures. The plants will do best if nighttime temperatures are maintained at 65 F to 75 F and daytime temperatures average
75 F.
HUMIDITY Aphelandras need moderate to high humidity. Mist the leaves frequently.
FERTILIZER Fertilized plants are more tolerant of insect attacks. Be sure plants are watered well before applying fertilizer.
SOIL These plants thrive in a potting mixture that has equal parts of loam, peat moss and sand.
GROOMING Do not pinch off the tips of the shoots. The idea is to produce one stem with one large spike of flowers. Cut these plants back when they have finished flowering to remove straggly branches and faded blossoms. Trimming also will stimulate new, healthy growth.
TOXICITY These plants can be toxic if eaten. Keep them out of the reach of children or pets. Handling them may cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.

CHALLENGES
ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Aphelandras are sensitive to ethylene gas. Check with your supplier to make sure your plants have been treated with an ethylene inhibitor at the grower or transportation level.
BROWN LEAF TIPS Low air humidity is usually the cause.
LOSS OF LEAVES This may be caused by dryness at the roots, cold air, too much sun or drafts.
PESTS Check the plants frequently for aphids, spider mites and whiteflies. Control them with insecticidal soap.

FUN FACTS
WHAT’S IN A NAME The genus name “Aphelandra” comes from the Greek name for “simple anther,” the pollen-bearing part of the stamen.
FAMILY Aphelandras are members of the Acanthaceae (Acanthus) family. Relatives include firecracker flower (Crossandra), black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia) and shrimp plant (Justicia).
ORIGINS The plants are native to the tropical Americas, especially Brazil.


Some information provided by:
University of Florida, http://mrec.ifas.ufl.edu/research.asp
Dave’s Garden, http://davesgarden.com
Botany.com, www.botany.com/aphelandra.html
The Chain of Life Network®, www.chainoflifenetwork.org
The New House Plant Expert, by Dr. D.G. Hessayon

Photos courtesy of The John Henry Company

 
You may reach “Blooming Plant of the Month” writer Steven W. Brown, AIFD, at sbfloral@aol.com or by phone at (415) 239-3140.
 

Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2007
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.
Site management by Tier One Media