This post contains affiliate links. I will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through these links.
Alocasia Zebrina is a fun houseplant easily recognized for its unique striped stems. Its care is relatively easy, too. In this post, I’ll review everything you need to know about Alocasia Zebrina care and propagation!
What is Alocasia Zebrina?
Alocasia Zebrina, also sometimes called Alocasia Zebrina Tiger, is a species of Alocasia named for its unique striped stems. This one is a tropical plant native to the Philippines. It’s a popular choice for Alocasia lovers!
Alocasias are also commonly referred to as elephant ear plants.
Where can I buy an Alocasia Zebrina?
You can easily find an Alocasia Zebrina for sale on Etsy. Check out this absolutely stunning Zebrina from one of my favorite Etsy shops!
How do you take care of Alocasia Zebrina?
One of the keys to successful Alocasia Zebrina care is proper watering through its active growing stage AND its dormancy period. Yes, this plant has a dormancy period! I’ll review that and the rest of its care requirements below.
First, I want to cover Alocasia Zebrina’s dormancy period. After this section, the rest of this guide will be for when the plant is out of dormancy and actively growing.
In late fall, your Alocasia Zebrina will start to go dormant, so if you experience some leaf drop, droopiness, or just a general unhealthy-looking plant around that time, this is normal. Growth will commence again in the spring.
While it’s dormant, you should not be watering it as much as usual. Instead, let the top two inches of the potting mix dry out before watering, and add only a little bit of water—you don’t need to saturate your plant during this time.
If you’re not sure, then wait a little longer. Less is more during dormancy.
Water your Alocasia when the potting mix dries out about half an inch down. Keep it moist, but now wet, as you don’t want to have it sitting in soggy soil which could lead to root rot.
Be sure to feel the potting mix first with your finger before watering to determine moisture levels and whether or not you actually need to water it.
Note that if left too dry for too long, this plant can start to go dormant.
Provide your Alocasia Zebrina with bright, indirect. Do not put it in direct light or it could harm the leaves.
If you don’t have enough light, no worries! Grow lights are a great solution—a solution I use a LOT! Below are my two current favorite grow lights:
Provide your Alocasia with a well-draining potting mix. A mixture similar to indoor plant potting mix, peat, and perlite (about a 1-1-1 ratio) will work. Peat helps hold some moisture while perlite helps increase drainage.
Should I mist Alocasia Zebrina?
Since they’re native to tropical areas, Alocasia Zebrina likes to be in higher humidity levels. One way to do this is by misting every few days or as needed.
Personally, I don’t always find misting to be the most effective. I like to use a method more foolproof, like a humidifier. I really like the humidifier below because it can last up to 96 hours!
While Alocasia Zebrina prefers a warmer environment, it should be fine in normal household temperatures.
Note that it starts to go dormant if kept too cold. When the temperature starts to get much colder than 65 degrees Fahrenheit (around 18 degrees Celcius), the plant will start to go into dormancy.
Be sure to remove it from cold areas in the winter, like a windowsill.
Alocasia Zebrina likes to be fertilized during the growing season (spring and summer). During the growing season, fertilize it every other week. Use a balanced indoor plant fertilizer diluted by half.
Pruning is not necessary for this plant except to remove any damaged or dying leaves. If you can’t pull the leaf away gently, use a pair of clean, sharp scissors or a knife to remove it.
Repot your Alocasia Zebrina when it’s rootbound. Use a pot that’s one size up from the current pot and has good drainage. If possible, try to repot in the spring.
You can check if your plant is rootbound by seeing if the roots are coming out of the drainage holes or slipping the plant out of the pot and checking if the roots are heavily coiled around the outside of the soil. Also, if your plant looks unhappy in general, that could be another clue it’s rootbound.
Foliage and Flowers
Alocasia Zebrina’s leaves are quite lovely, even though the plant is named for its stems. I always consider Alocasias to be statement-making plants. With its long, striped stems each with a single arrow-shaped leaf, the Zebrina is no different.
Occasionally this plant flowers in the form of a spathe and spadix.
Problems and Pests
Below are some Alocasia Zebrina problems with their common causes. However, it’s important to evaluate your overall care routine when experiencing problems with your plant.
- Your Alocasia Zebrina is drooping – The stems of this plant hold moisture, so a little bit of droopiness might just mean that your plant is dry and needs water. However, it could also be overwatering, which can cause root rot and lead to a mushy plant. Feel the potting mix with your finger to determine if your plant is too dry or too wet.
- Your Alocasia Zebrina has yellow leaves – This most likely means you’ve overwatered it, but again, feel the potting mix to confirm.
- Brown, crispy leaf edges and tips – This most likely indicates your plant is too dry—either the potting mix itself is too dry or you have very dry air which could be causing brown tips. Consider if you need to increase watering or add a humidifier.
- Pests – Pests are not too much of an issue for this plant but potential pests include aphids, mealybugs, scale, and spider mites. While there are more specific ways of dealing with each pest, for general houseplant pest control I really like Bonide Systemic Insect Control as well as an insecticidal soap for houseplants.
Alocasia Zebrina Propagation
The best ways of propagating Alocasia Zebrina are by simply dividing and repotting the plant or by digging up and replanting the corms.
Alocasia Zebrina Propagation by Division
If you have an Alocasia growing multiple stems, you can separate them into sections and repot each section.
Remove your plant from its pot and identify one or more sections you want to separate. Gently untangle the roots from each other. If you need to cut them, use clean, sharp scissors or a knife, but try to keep most of the roots intact.
Pot up the different sections into appropriately sized pots with good drainage, give the plants a good watering, and care for them how you normally would.
Alocasia Zebrina Propagation by Corms
Instead of dividing your plant, you can remove the corms and grow new plants. If you have a mature plant, you should definitely have some corms to work with. You might not have any with a young plant.
Remove your plant from its pot and gently search around the roots in the potting mix for some small, round chunks. These are the corms!
Using a pair of clean, sharp scissors or a knife, snip the corm away from the main root it’s attached to, snipping close to the corm and keeping the majority of the root attached to the main plant.
If you can, gently peel away the outer-most layer of the corm (it will be dark brown and then lighter on the inside). This will help the corm root and sprout faster.
To root the corms, you can place them into a small amount of water (as my Instagram friend @lizziesjungle taught me). Use a small container like a bottle cap or shot glass and add a few drops of water so the corm is sitting in the water but the top of the corm is not underwater.
Give them bright, indirect light and keep the humidity up by covering them with clear plastic wrap or another humidity method of your choice. Remove the plastic wrap for a little every few days to give them some fresh air.
You can also try burying the corms into moist potting mix, keeping it moist but not wet, until you see little plants sprouting. However, from my personal experience and what I’ve heard from others, you’ll have better success rooting them in water.
After one to two weeks, you should see little roots sprouting from the corms, and eventually, a new bud coming from the top! Once you have a little plant growing, you can plant it into potting mix, water it, and start caring for it like a normal plant.
Note: Even though the two are slightly different, corms are commonly referred to as bulbs. The easiest way to tell them apart is a corm doesn’t have rings when you cut it in half like a bulb does. An onion, for example, is a bulb.
I won’t go into the science here, but this page from the University of Illinois has more details on corms vs. bulbs if you’re interested.
How fast does Alocasia Zebrina grow?
In optimal conditions, Alocasia Zebrina is actually a pretty fast-growing plant! It typically grows to about three feet tall in optimal conditions.
Is Alocasia Zebrina pet safe?
Alocasia Zebrina is toxic, so no, it is not pet safe. Be sure to keep this plant out of your furry friends’ reach.
Types of Alocasia Zebrina
Other “types” of Alocasia Zebrina include Alocasia Reticulata, Alocasia Tigrina, and Alocasia Tigrina Superba.
These names are used across the internet, but they are not actually scientifically registered. They are likely just unregistered sports of the Zebrina and the names were probably made up for commercial purposes. I got this helpful information from Exotic Rainforest.
There are also variegated Alocasia Zebrinas, which are very rare, and therefore, expensive!