How to Care For and Grow All Types of Alocasia Zebrina Plants


Known for its zebra-like leaves, Alocasia zebrina is a tropical houseplant popular worldwide. It’s native to southeast Asia and belongs to the Araceae family. 

To grow a healthy Alocasia zebrina, you need to provide it with bright indirect light, well-drained soil, and a humid environment. 

You’ll also need to place it in a warm location with 65-85°F temperature and water it weekly. Because it’s a heavy feeder, you should fertilize it every month. 

Eager to learn more about this gorgeous plant and its care requirements in detail? Just keep reading!

What Are Alocasia Zebrina Plants?

Alocasia zebrina (scientific name) is a tropical plant of the Araceae family. It’s also known as zebra plant, elephant ear, zebrina Alocasia, and tiger taro. It’s native to subtropical and tropical forests of Southeast Asia.

Many grow Alocasia zebrina as an ornamental house plant because of its unique, exquisite appearance.

Here’s exactly how it looks: it has heart-shaped leaves, typically striped white and green, topping a striking stem. This stem features yellow and black markings resembling a zebra look. 

The plant can reach a height of six feet, and its leaf length ranges between 4 and 13.5 inches.

Quick Summary of Alocasia Zebrina

Here’s a quick look at Alocasia zebrina’s characteristics and its care requirements:

  • Common names: Zebra plant, zebrina Alocasia, tiger taro
  • Light: Medium to bright indirect sunlight
  • Water: Weekly watering and frequent misting
  • Temperature: Between 65°F and 85°F
  • Hardiness zone: 10-11 (USDA)
  • Soil pH: Neutral, acidic
  • Soil type: Moist and well-draining
  • Repotting: Every two to three years
  • Pruning: Minimal pruning: only remove dying and damaged foliage
  • Size: Up to 6 ft
  • Bloom time: Rarely flowers indoors
  • Propagation: By division or growing corms

How to Care for Alocasia Zebrina

Alocasia zebrina requires special care to thrive. You’ll need to provide it with daily indirect sunlight, regular fertilizing during growing seasons, and well-drained soil. You should also water it lightly and provide a temperature above 65°F.

Here’s how to offer this tropical plant the ideal growing conditions in detail: 

Provide Indirect Sunlight

Alocasia zebrina requires several hours of indirect sunlight per day to thrive. However, it’s highly sensitive to sunburns, so you shouldn’t expose it to sweltering direct sunlight. This houseplant is also susceptible to dropping leaves if it stays in a low-light condition. 

Here’s what to do: we recommend placing Alocasia zebrina directly in front of a north or east-facing window to provide the required brightness. 

Nonetheless, if you place it in front of a west or south-facing window, keep it a couple of feet away from the window edge. This is to avoid exposing it to direct sunlight.

Alternatively, you can filter the direct sunlight using a window film or sheer curtain. 

Offer Well-Drained Soil Mix

This indoor plant is susceptible to root rot in case of overwatering. As such, you’ll need to pay significant attention to the quality of its soil mix to avoid this serious problem.

We recommend planting it in a well-drained soil mix consisting of equal parts of pumice or perlite, potting soil, and coco peat. 

Water Lightly Regularly

Alocasia zebrina won’t tolerate soggy soil, but it also won’t grow healthy if its soil dries out regularly. So, what to do? 

You’ll need to keep the soil lightly moist constantly, yet only water when the top inch of the soil is slightly dry.  

In addition, when watering, you should ensure the pot allows the excess water to drain.

Control Temperature and Humidity

This tropical plant doesn’t tolerate cold environments. It’ll have a hard time growing if it stays in temperatures below 65°F for an extended period.

Ideally, Alocasia zebrina should grow in a warm environment between 65-85°F. So, you’ll need to adjust the house temperature when it drops significantly to save your plant.

Regarding humidity, this plant prefers humid environments, yet it can still do well in slightly dry conditions.

If you grow it in a dry condition, watch for crispy edges, curling leaves, or dropping leaves. If you notice any of these signs, you’ll need to provide the plant with more humidity.

To do so, place it in a naturally humid room such as a kitchen or laundry room. Alternatively, you can use a humidifier.

Fertilize Consistently

Alocasia zebrina is a heavy feeder that will consume considerable nutrients to grow healthy. So, you’ll need to fertilize it once a month during summer and spring using a balanced houseplant fertilizer. 

That said, you should stop fertilizing the plant in winter and fall as it doesn’t grow actively during that time.

How to Grow Alocasia Zebrina Plants

Although growing Alocasia zebrina from seeds is uncommon, it’s possible. If you want to propagate this plant from seeds, the following steps will help you do this properly:

  1. Prepare a humid peat-based potting mix and add it to a pot. Then, extract Alocasia zebrina seeds from a dried pod and scatter them on the surface of the soil mix.
  2. Sprinkle a small layer of slightly moist potting mix on the top of the seeds. Cover the pot with a clear wrap or plastic bag to keep it warm. 
  3. You should keep the pot covered until you notice the germination of the seeds. Still, you’ll just uncover it daily for around 15 minutes to 1 hour to provide the seeds with some airflow.
  4. Place the container in an indirect light and mist the potting mix from one time to another to keep it lightly moist.
  5. Be patient, as seed germination takes three weeks to three months.

How to Repot Alocasia Zebrina Plants

Here’s some good news: you don’t have to repot Alocasia zebrina yearly. In fact, the plant thrives when its root is bound in a small pot. 

You’ll probably need to repot it every two to three years. This is when you notice the roots running out of the pot drainage holes, and the container looks cramped. 

In this case, you should consider moving it into a larger container. The best time to repot this indoor plant is spring or summer when it’s strongest.

In addition, the ideal pot for your plant would be 2 to 4 inches larger than the previous one. 

This specific size will allow the plant an adequate place to grow further without being too large, causing water accumulation.

To minimize the plant stress during transplantation, you need to water it adequately one or two days before repotting.

Once you’re ready to repot your Alocasia zebrina, follow these steps to do it properly: 

  1. Gently pull the plant out of the old pot and examine the roots. If you notice separate root systems, it may be time to divide the plant.
  2. To separate the plant, remove the old soil covering the root system and start to untangle the roots while keeping them intact as much as possible.
  3. If you decide not to divide the plant, you need to maintain the soil surrounding the root ball. The only soil to remove is the crusted layer that surrounds the periphery.
  4. Prepare the new pot by adding a thick layer of potting mix. Place the plant on the top of the soil while centering the root ball. 
  5. Start to fill the sides of the container, but try to keep a minimum of 1 inch empty at the top.
  6. Start to provide it with the care requirements of a normal Alocasia zebrina plant. 

How to Care for Alocasia Zebrina Plants in All Seasons

You should pay close attention to the seasonal changes and adjust your care for Alocasia zebrina accordingly. 

In summer and spring, you need to water the plant regularly and give it constant fertilization. Because these seasons are generally dry, you need to keep monitoring the humidity level around the plant and increase it when it drops.

In fall and winter, on the other hand, you may need to reduce the watering slightly. You should stop fertilizing the plant until the following growing season as well. In addition, you’ll need to protect your Alocasia zebrina from cold drafts at that time. 

How to Propagate Alocasia Zebrina Plants?

You can propagate Alocasia zebrina plants by division or growing corms. In either case, to propagate any type of plants, you’ll need to pick healthy, strong individuals for this purpose.

It’s also wise to propagate during the repotting process. Once you’re ready, here are the steps to follow to propagate an Alocasia zebrina using the simple division method: 

  1. Gently remove the plant from the container and brush any excess soil off its roots. Note that each plant grows from an individual bulb.
  2. Separate the bulbs and roots from each other to divide the plant.
  3. Plant the divided plants in a new well-draining potting mix. Water the plants well and place the pots in a location with indirect light.

What Family Do Alocasia Zebrina Plants Belong to?

Alocasia zebrina belongs to the Arum family, also known as the Araceae family. It’s one of the ornamental plants that make up the Araceae types. 

This indoor tropical plant is native to the Philippines. It’s universally appealing because of its zebra-like shape. 

How Long Do Alocasia Zebrina Plants Live?

Unfortunately, there’s no accurate data and information we can rely on to predict the lifespan of Alocasia zebrina. 

However, we can tell it’s a long-living plant based on the experiences shared by many gardeners online. 

Most of these gardeners stated that Alocasia zebrina can live for several years with proper care.

What Are Common Pests and Diseases for Alocasia Zebrina Plants?

Alocasia zebrina is highly prone to spider mites, mealybugs, and fungus gnats because of the moist conditions this plant prefers. 

You also need to keep an eye out for root rot that can result from overwatering and poor soil drainage. 

If you notice brown, mushy stems, dropping leaves, or yellowing leaves, you need to inspect the root for rot.

Besides these common problems, here are a few issues you need to be aware of:

  • Dropping leaves: This indicates the plant suffers from underwatering, lack of light, insufficient humidity, overwatering, or even root rot.
  • Curling leaves: This is an indication that your plant receives inadequate moisture.
  • Yellow leaves: This can be a result of overwatering, underwatering, or even lack of light
  • Stem bending: This might be a sign that the stems contain too much water because the soil doesn’t dry out properly.

How to Tell If the Alocasia Zebrina Plant Isn’t Growing

Several signs can indicate that your Alocasia zebrina isn’t growing enough. The most obvious ones are wilting, lack of new leaf production, and yellowing leaves.

This slow growth of your Alocasia zebrina is usually caused by underwatering, overwatering, poor drainage, pest infestation, or just dormancy.

So, you’ll need to figure out the root of the problem to be able to solve it. 

Are Alocasia Zebrina Poisonous?

Alocasia zebrina is toxic for humans and animals, including pets such as dogs and cats. This houseplant contains oxalate crystals that cause multiple harmful reactions when ingested, including vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and mouth pain.

That way, we recommend keeping your Alocasia zebrina entirely away from your children and pets by placing it in a high spot.

How to Help the Alocasia Zebrina Plant to Grow

If you start noticing your Alocasia zebrina is dying, you need to determine the causes promptly. Here are a few signs to look for to help your plant grow.

Symptoms like droopy stems, yellowing leaves, and collapsed stems usually indicate that your plant is dying from overwatering. Developing root rot can also be an excessive watering problem.

On the other hand, if you spot pale leaves, your plant is probably experiencing a severe lack of light. Another common sign is brown edges, mainly indicating a lack of humidity.

Obviously, if your Alocasia is experiencing any of these severe issues, you want to address the potential cause as quickly as possible.

Here’s how: if your plant is dying due to overwatering, you’ll need to let the soil almost dry before watering it again.

If it’s a lack of lighting problem, you’ll need to relocate your houseplant into a brighter location to receive more sunlight.

To get over the dehydration problem, you need to use methods like pebble trays or misting to revive the plant. 

However, if your plant experiences severe root rot, it must be repotted in new, well-drained soil. Before doing so, trim off any affected roots to stop the rot from spreading.