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Calathea Zebrina Care: The Complete And Best Guide

Calathea Zebrina is an interesting and exotic houseplant. This beautiful plant has dark green leaves with striking white stripes, making it a unique and eye-catching addition to any home. Calathea Zebrina is a low-maintenance plant that is easy to care for, making it perfect for anyone who wants a hassle-free garden. Keep reading to learn more about this fascinating plant and Calathea Zebrina care!

What is a Calathea Zebrina?

Calathea Zebrina is a tropical evergreen perennial plant that is native to Brazil.

Calatheas are part of the Marantaceae family, which is like the Maranta family. Calathea zebrina is also referred to by its brand-new scientific name, Goeppertia zebrina.

The stunning light green, velvety leaves of Calathea zebrina, which have purple undersides and dark green stripes running across them, give the plant its common name, Zebra Plant. This Calathea variety features velvety leaves that are marked with alternating dark green and light silver stripes resembling the pattern of a zebra’s coat.

Native to tropical rain forests of South America, Calathea zebrina thrives in warm, humid climates. The striking foliage reaches up to 2 feet in height and is set off by its pale pinkish-white flowers.

Calathea Zebrina

Calathea Zebrina Care Overview

Scientific Name Calathea zebrina
Origin Southeastern Brazil, South America
Family Marantaceae
Soil Type Peaty, rich
Soil pH 6.1-7.8
Light Requirements Bright or medium, indirect light.
Watering Keep the soil lightly moist, watering once the top of the soil is just starting to dry out.
Soil Well-draining potting mix.
Temperature 65-75°F (18-24°C).
Fertilizer Fertilize monthly with 1/4 strength water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season.
Humidity >60% humidity where possible.
Pruning Minimal pruning requirements. Remove dead or damaged foliage as required.
Propagation Propagate by division
Re-Potting Only repot when quite a root bound, as doesn’t tolerate frequent re-potting.
Diseases and Pests Fairly pest-resistant, but can be affected by spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, and scale at times.
Toxicity Non-toxic to humans and animals.

How to care for Calathea Zebrina?

Though caring for a healthy Calathea zebrina isn’t hard, you gotta know some stuff and pay attention. Calathea zebrina can thrive for years in your house or work if you take care of it right. The tips will help you care for your Calathea zebrina.

Light Requirements

Calathea Zebrina is a low-light houseplant that thrives in indirect light. It should be placed in a spot that gets filtered light, like near a north-facing window. It will not tolerate direct sunlight and should be kept out of hot, sunny spots.

If you don’t have a north-facing window, you can still grow Calathea Zebrina in a spot that gets filtered light from another window. However, it won’t grow that well in these conditions.

Place it near a window that’s shaded by sheer curtains or blinds for just the right light. The foliage may start to yellow and brown if the light is too harsh. If this happens, move it to a less bright spot or farther from the window.

Calathea zebrina can lose its strong development and generate lanky stems if the environment is too dark, despite the fact that it can handle lower light levels. If this occurs, slowly relocate to a brighter area.

It’s also key to keep Calathea Zebrina away from things like heating vents that can dry its leaves up.

lighting calathea zebrina


The best soil for Calathea Zebrina is a light, draining mix that has lots of organic stuff. Soil should be light, airy, and a bit acidic (with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5).

A good potting mix has equal parts sphagnum peat moss, organic compost, perlite, and shredded bark. This mix gives the best draining and airing while still keeping water. Also, adding a slow-release fertilizer when you plant can give good-for-you nutrients to your Calathea.

Soil should be slightly damp but not drenched as this can rot roots and cause other problems for your plant. Let the soil dry a little between waterings. If the soil stays too wet, it could cause root rot and other issues for your Calathea Zebrina.

So make sure you don’t overwater your plant! Additionally, never allow the pot to sit in standing water as this can also cause root rot.


Watering for Calathea Zebrina should be done steadily and often. Water the plant when the topsoil is dry to a depth of 1-2 inches. Water until it starts draining from the drainage holes at the bottom of the planter, then remove any excess water that has pooled in the dish beneath.

Watering Calathea too often can lead to root rot and other problems, so let the soil dry between waterings. Water with warm water or purified water for top results. Put your Calathea Zebrina in a spot with soft light and keep the humidity about 40-70%.

Water every 1-2 weeks during the growing season and less often during the winter months. Water with warm water and use a liquid fertilizer every second watering during the growing season.

Water less often in colder months, when the plant is not actively growing. Avoid any water contact with the leaves as this can lead to spotting or discoloration of the foliage.

Additionally, misting the leaves can help keep them healthy and hydrated. Water using room temperature or filtered water.

Like most other Calatheas, Calathea zebrina can be picky about water quality. Living in an area with rough water or having tap water with lots of fluoride and chlorine might result in leaf spots and brown tips.

watering for calathea zebrina


Calathea Zebrina is a good-looking houseplant that thrives in high humidity. Humidity is key to consider when caring for this plant, as it needs a certain level of moisture in the air around it to live and thrive. Keep humidity between 40-60%.

Here are some tips to up humidity:

  • Humidity can be easily maintained by spraying the foliage regularly
  • Using a small stone tray
  • Clustering plants together to up humidity levels and using wet-keeping potting soil.
  • Think about buying a humidifier to help you keep the perfect weather for your Calathea.
  • If your zebrina is small enough, is to put it in a terrarium.
  • Put dishes or trays of water under the plant’s leaves as another way to up the humidity for your zebrina.


Fertilizing your plant helps give it the needed nutrition needs to grow. Fertilizers come in different mixes, but an evenly mixed fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10-10-10 is ideal for Calathea Zebrina.

Fertilizers are best applied during the growing time, usually from late spring through fall.

Fertilizing more often than once every 2 months can lead to too much feed and burn the plant. So be sure to follow the instructions carefully. It is a good idea to use a liquid fertilizer and thin it out as instructed on the packaging.

You can feed your zebra Calathea with worm compost tea if you prefer to fertilize your houseplants gently and organically.

You can buy worm compost tea sachets if you don’t yet have a vermicomposting setup of your own. The sachets are soaked in water for many hours, and then your houseplants are watered and fertilized with the solution that has been soaked with compost.

Tips: It is also important to water your plant before fertilizing it to avoid fertilizer burn.


Repotting pots for your Calathea Zebrina is a simple process that should be done every 1-2 years. Repotting pots should be done in the springtime when your plant is getting into its growing time.

So how do you figure out when it’s time to repot pots? First off, it may be time to repot pots if your calathea is drying fast and you find yourself watering it more often than usual, maybe 2-3 times each week.

Another sign that your houseplant needs a larger pot is roots that are sticking out of the drain holes in the container or the soil’s surface.

Repot when you want your Calathea to grow bigger or if you have hopes of propagating it.

When you repot:

  1. Pick a pot that is bigger than the last one and has good drain holes in the base.
  2. Fill it with fresh potting soil that is specifically made for indoor plants.
  3. Be careful not to hurt the roots of the Calathea Zebrina as this can harm the health of your plant.
  4. Gently take it out from its old pot and put it in the new one.
  5. Use a chopstick or pencil to make sure the soil is evenly spread around the roots, then pat it down softly.
  6. Give your Calathea Zebrina a nice water and place it in a bright spot with soft sun.

Repotting pots for your Calathea Zebrina will help keep it healthy and encourage new growth.

calathea zebrina with new pot


Pruning Calathea Zebrina is key for the well-being of the plant. Pruning should be done carefully and thoughtfully to make sure the beauty of its leaves and overall shape are kept up.

Prune only when a leaf or stem has died or looks hurt, or if multiple stems have bunched up in a not-so-nice way. If needed, you can also prune good stems and leaves from the plant to make it smaller. Additionally, cutting off any brown leaf edges won’t affect the growth of the remaining leaves.

When pruning, use clean scissors or shears and make sure the cut is neat and straight.

Pruning should be done in the late spring to mid-summer, as this is when new growth will come in after pruning. Pruning can also help to boost thicker, lush greenery.

Prune sparingly, as over-cutting can cause stress to the plant and can result in held-back growth. Pruning should also be done with caution, as too much pruning can cause the plant to become uneven and not pretty. Prune only when needed for the health of your Calathea Zebrina

Calathea Zebrina Propagation

Propagation means making new plants from the old ones. Propagating Calathea Zebrina, also known as Zebra Plant, is possible by dividing it. You can do this in spring or early summer.

Zebrina’s a plant that sprouts from rhizomes; each rhizome makes a stem with a leaf on it. Look at your plant, you can split it if there’s more than one bunch of stems. Ensure rhizome bunches got at least three leaves for the best outcome.

  1. Carefully take out the plant from its pot and gently split any smaller plants from the main plant.
  2. Softly split the roots by hand or using a sharp knife after taking it out carefully from its pot.
  3. Every offset should have a good chunk of roots attached to it for it to sprout new leaves.
  4. Place them in separate pots with a soil mix that drains well and water often until they’re settled.

You should repot the Calathea after splitting it into a pot with drain holes at the bottom and rich, peaty soil that drains well. Put the divided part back in the same place it was growing in and ensure to plant is not deeper than it was growing before.

calathea rebrina after propagation

Calathea Zebrina Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Common pests that can affect Calathea Zebrina include spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids.

  • Spider mites on Calathea are small, dark bugs that make webs on parts of the plant like leaves, stems, and flowers. They also suck up plant juice, and if you don’t deal with them, they’ll hurt plants.
  • Mealybugs are small, white bugs with waxy body threads that are often found in gangs on stems and the underside of plants. Mealybugs drink up plant juice, which can make leaves drop or make the leaves turn yellow.
  • Aphids are easy to spot ’cause they’re small and soft bodies, and they come in all sorts of colors from black to yellow. They frequently reside on the underside of leaves, where they can distort leaves or slow growth.

These pests can damage the plant by nibbling on the leaves and stems, which can lead to the yellowing or browning of leaves. Proper pest control steps should be taken to stop infestations from happening first off.

Usual ways to control pests include regular checking, and using bug-killing soaps, oils, and other natural cures. If you find an infestation, it should be treated straight away to stop it from spreading.

It’s also important to keep up good care habits like watering right, fertilizing, and controlling temperature to lower the chances of pests bugging Calathea Zebrina.

Calathea Zebrina Care Common Problems

Common plant diseases that may affect Calathea Zebrina include root and stem rot, leaf spot, and powdery mildew.

Root and stem rot

If you give too much water to your plant or let it soak in water, root rot might show up. Carefully get the plant out of the pot and check the roots if you see leaves going yellow, shriveling, or not growing much. Brown, dark, or mushy roots are no good.

Leaf spot

Different kinds of fungus, including some called Drechslera and Bipolaris, are blamed for Helminthosporium leaf spot sickness. This fungus might be why you see any bad spots on your zebra Calathea leaves. As it gets worse, the bad spots, which are usually brown or tan with a yellow ring, get bigger.

Powdery mildew

It starts as white powdery spots on the top of the leaves and can spread to other plants if you don’t deal with it fast. The sickness comes from a fungus called Erysiphe Cichoracearum, and signs of powdery mildew can be yellowing leaves, droopy leaves, not growing much, and weird leaf shapes. If you don’t do something for a long time, powdery mildew can kill the plant.


To keep these sicknesses from happening, it’s important to make sure the plant gets enough light and air and water it right. It’s also smart to repot the plant often to keep the soil good.

If your Calathea Zebrina gets hit by bugs or sickness, you gotta act fast to keep the plant healthy. Using a gentle bug-killing soap and cutting off bad parts can often work to fix the problem. Also, using fungus-killer sprays might help fight fungus.

FAQ about Calathea Zebrina Care

Q: Is Calathea Zebrina a tough plant to look after?

A: No, it ain’t that hard to look after if you get the conditions right. It needs indirect light and you gotta water it regularly with warm water. Keeping the soil wet, but not too wet, is the secret to keeping this plant happy. It also likes misting and a lot of humidity. If you care for it right, Calathea Zebrina will flourish for years and make your space look pretty in any place.

Q: How do I water my Calathea Zebrina?

A: The best way to water your Calathea Zebrina is with distilled or rainwater. Don’t use tap water ’cause it can have too many minerals that might hurt the plant. Water your plant when the top of the soil feels a bit dry to the touch. Make sure to water it all over and don’t overdo it, ’cause that can cause root rot. Let extra water drain from the bottom of the pot, and don’t let your plant sit in leftover water. Lastly, think about getting a humidity tray or mist your Calathea Zebrina often to give it the right environment with enough humidity.

Q: How much light does a Calathea Zebrina need?

A: Calathea Zebrinas like bright, but not direct, sunlight. Don’t let it in direct sunlight ’cause it can burn the leaves. The best light condition for a Calathea Zebrina is a window that faces east or west in a room that isn’t too bright. If your plant isn’t getting enough light, its leaves might start to lose their patterns or turn yellow.

Q: How often should I feed my Calathea Zebrina?

A: Feed your Calathea Zebrina every two weeks when it’s growing season (spring to late summer). Use a liquid feed that’s made especially for houseplants. In winter, you can cut back on feeding to once a month. As always, be sure to follow the instructions on the fertilizer.

Q: What’s making my Calathea Zebrina wilt?

A: It could be because the room is too cold or isn’t getting enough water if your Calathea zebrina starts to wilt. Make sure the temperature inside is between 65°F and 80°F. Calatheas can’t survive in really cold climates. Check if the soil’s dry if it’s not too cold; if it is, the plant probably needs more water to keep the soil moist as Calatheas like. Water the plant if the soil seems dry a lot.

Even though it’s pretty easy to care for, Calathea Zebrina needs some specific attention when it comes to watering, light, temperature, feed, humidity, repotting, pruning, and propagation. You’ll be on your way to having a Calathea Zebrina that’s healthy and happy if you stick to these simple care instructions. But, there’s always a chance of pests and diseases, like with all plants. Be sure to get help from a pro if you see any of these problems with your plant.

Please don’t hesitate to contact FamiPlants if you need any assistance or have any queries – we’re always delighted to help!

Learn more about Other Calathea care resources:

Hi, I'm Cathleen Clemens. I graduated from Cornell University with a degree in plant science. I gained detailed knowledge about various kinds of plants and how to properly care for them. My experience has enabled me to easily detect any issues such as pest infestations, nutrient deficiencies, or signs of diseases in the plants.

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