The Zebra plant (scientific name – Calathea zebrina) is a perennial foliage plant that displays fairly large ovate leaves at the tips of it’s long stalks, growing up to 1 metre tall.
The Zebra plant is from the same family (marantaceae) as the popular indoor prayer plant and has many similarities, although the Calathea zebrina grows taller and can be slightly more difficult to grow. It’s sometimes named prayer plant when sold at garden stores and its common name (Zebra) is also given to the Aphelandra squarrosa.
Being a tropical plant native to Brazil the Calathea does require a warm and moist environment which encourages the foliage to thrive and look its best.
How it looks: Just like all others from the Maranta group and Calathea genus, it’s grown for its striking leaves. This variety has velvety patterned ovate leaves which are light green in color with darker green stripes, like Zebra stripes. The underside of the leaves are purple and not always visible because leaves grow horizontally (although some will curve or grow more upright). It’s a clump forming plant that produces long stalks (up to 1 metre tall) and the leaves (15 inches or more in length) sit at the top .
Flowering: The Zebra plant produces purple or white inconspicuous flowers which are unlikely to appear indoors. These are not the main attractive feature of this plant, even when they do bloom (still nice to see of course).
Displaying: Caltheas love a warm but shaded spot in greenhouses or conservatories, but anywhere indoors without cold drafts and enough light is suitable. A bright bathroom large enough to house the plant can be a good location, because of the higher moisture levels.