Zebra Plant Lighting: Do Zebra Plants Need Sunlight?

Zebra plants are beautiful tropical plants. They are known for their deep green foliage and white veins penetrating throughout the plant, with yellow flowers adding an accent. Zebra plants are not easy to grow, and they require a very specific set of rules to reach their full potential. One of the demands that must be met is the lighting.

Zebra plants need an equal mixture of bright light and shade. They do not need direct sunlight as this leads to burnt foliage. Zebra plants can survive in partial shade, however, complete shade is not ideal. If not given enough sunlight, the zebra plant will not be able to produce flowers.

There are many types of zebra plants, however, this article will mainly be discussing the Aphelandra Squarrosa. The Aphelandra Squarrosa needs lighting to emulate that of a rainforest. Rainforests have both light and shade, which is required for this plant’s proper growth. If you are planning on growing a zebra plant, then keep reading below. You will be able to discover everything you need to know about how to grow this plant!

Proper Lighting For Zebra Plants

Zebra plants need a mixture of light and shade. They cannot grow properly if they are given too much light or too much shade, they must receive equal amounts of each.

Zebra plants need bright, indirect light. Zebra plants have the potential of growing vivid, magnificent yellow flowers. These flowers are part of what gives the plant its exotic look, and they stand out against the green and white foliage. However, in certain circumstances, these flowers are not given the potential to bloom. For instance, if not enough light is provided, then the yellow flowers will not grow. In order to help zebra plants flower, place them in an area where they can receive bright, indirect sunlight.

However, an excess of direct light can scorch the plant’s green leaves. In theory, burning the leaves can be fixed. However, it is possible that they will never return to their original state. To try restoring the foliage, remove the plant from the direct light and return it to indirect light.

Can Zebra Plants Grow in Shade?

The flowers on zebra plants provide the plant with unique features and are what many people notice first about the plant. With proper lighting, the flowers can live for about six weeks. However, the flowers that grow on zebra plants cannot bloom in complete shade. In order to bloom, the plants must receive bright light. Of course, the flowers are not necessary.

If the flowers are not important to you, then the plant can grow pretty well in shady areas. The plant may start to droop after a while, however, it will most likely be okay. Just keep an eye on it and be prepared to move it to a brighter area if you notice problems.

Creating The Best Conditions For Indoor Zebra Plants

When being kept indoors, ensure the zebra plant is getting enough sunlight. Place the plant in an area where it is getting a mixture of light and shade.

The hardest part of having an indoor zebra plant is achieving the proper level of humidity. In order to get the right humidity level, keep the plant in a room with a humidifier. Otherwise, the room may be too dry for the tropical plant.

Zebra plants need specific conditions to grow. They are not capable of thriving in just any condition, making growing these plants a difficult task. If you are an amateur gardener, then you may want to consider another plant.


Water the zebra plant whenever the top of the soil is dry. It will need to be watered about every two weeks, however, keep an eye out on your plant to ensure its soil is never too dry. Although zebra plants do not do well if it is dried out, it is just as important to not overwater it. By overwatering, you can cause the plant to droop.

Watering the plant is essential for your zebra plant to be healthy. Do not underwater or overwater your plant. Ensure it is getting the right amount, otherwise, it will not grow as it should.


Keep your zebra plants at a constant temperature. Zebra plants need consistency, and will not grow correctly if they have to constantly adapt to different temperatures. Zebra plants are meant to be kept at a constant temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Zebra plants need high humidity, around 40-80%. Zebra plants are native to the rainforest, where there is an excess of humidity. In order for the plant to grow properly, its natural habitat must be replicated. In order to parallel the rainforest, a humidifier may be necessary. A humidifier adds moisture to the air, which can help increase moisture in the air.

To increase humidity even more, mist the plant frequently. Zebra plants enjoy moisture, making frequent mists necessary. When misting, try to avoid the leaves because wet leaves are more vulnerable to rot, fungal infections, and disease. Another popular way of increasing the humidity is by placing moist pebbles around the pot. This will create more moisture and increase the humidity. If the humidity levels are too low, then the foliage may turn from a deep green to brown, indicating more moisture is needed.


The soil for zebra plants should always be moist. Multipurpose soil can be used, but it is important to ensure the soil is moderately acidic. The acidity of the soil should never go above 6.0.

If you notice that your zebra plant is dying, then you may need to replace the soil. Do not repot the plant unless absolutely necessary, because zebra plants do best when they are attached to their roots. To replace the soil, remove the soil and replace it with fresh soil.

More Tips For Indoor Growing

According to MasterClass, there are seven tips to growing a zebra plant indoors. Below is a list of the seven tips they provide:

  • Keep your zebra plant in a partially shaded area
  • Water regularly
  • Fertilize during the growing season
  • Repot your zebra plant every year
  • Deal with pests quickly
  • Maintain high humidity
  • Wear gloves when handling your zebra plant