05 Jul

Ornamental Houseplant for Tropical Climate: Aphelandra squarrosa (Zebra Plant)

Aphelandra, usually known as Zebra Plant, is an evergreen perennial from tropical climates. It is popular among gardeners and horticulturists for its beautiful foliage and flowers. The genus includes about 170 species of evergreen bushes; all known by the common name – Zebra Plant.

Aphelandras or Zebra Plants are characterized by large, showy and glossy green leaves with prominent veins of white or silver color that make these plants quite attractive and a good choice as ornamental houseplants. One of the common species is Aphelandra squarrosa. It produces large leaves and quite showy and colorful flowers surrounded by yellow bracts.

Aphelandra squarrosa

Aphelandra squarrosa, Zebra Plant, Image via CoffeeGeek.com

Most species of Aphelandra are frost tender and do not grow well in colder climates. They are best grown under partial shade and rich, organic soil. For best results, Aphelandras should be provided with moist soil and temperature not falling below 70 F.

Flowers on Zebra Plant appear in late summer or autumn and last for several weeks. Both the flowers and foliage make Aphelandra a good candidate for container gardening and ornamental houseplant for patios and gardens where they can be grown for seasonal displays.

02 Feb

Lovely Foliage Plants for Pots and Gardens: Calathea

Calathea are my favorite foliage plants for decorating gardens, patios and windows. They belong to the family of Maranta and like their cousins, these ornamental plants produce very beautiful foliage in a variety of colors and sizes. Some of them form dense clumps of short-stemmed leaves whereas some produce larger leaves on solitary plants. Some of Calathea plants produce blotched leaves, some have colorful markings on their leaves, and some have colored and patterned leaves.

Calathea, The Zebra Plant

Calathea, The Zebra Plant, Image by Ahmad Fuad Morad

Most species of Calathea come from tropical regions of the Americas and require warmth, higher levels of humidity and partial shade to grow perfectly. Water these plants regularly in a rich but well-drained soil. Do not overwater these plants.

Calathea can be propagated from divisions and grown as border or pot plants. Popular species include:

Calathea Concinna: Good as ground cover or border plant, this low-growing species requires regular watering and can be grown indoors.

Calathea Rotundifolia: Grows as a compact foliage plant. Produces bright, marginated green leaves with shades of red or brown beneath.

Calathea Ornata: Relatively larger plant; good for growing in containers as well as in the ground. Leaves are marked with rose-pink lines. Violet flowers appear on long spikes.