Goeppertia Zebrina Care

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hoya carmelae


Watering FrequencyModerate Watering
ToxicityNon-toxic for cats, dogs, and humans

Goeppertia zebrina is a well-known Prayer Plant, grown for its stunning foliage featuring green ovate leaves that have light and dark green stripes. The undersides of the leaves are a deep purple, which is not readily visible as the leaves will curve as they mature. 

Also known as a Zebra Plant, Peacock Plant, and Zebra Prayer Plant, Goeppertia Zebrina is relatively easy to find at many big box stores, plant shops, and garden centers. While the Goeppertia zebrina is known well for its beauty, it can also prove to be difficult to grow indoors – which is why it is essential to keep its natural growing environment to give it the proper care and encourage continued growth. 

The Goeppertia zebrina has gone through a few re-classifications over time, having previously been known as Calathea zebrina – the plant has now been re-classified under the Goeppertia genus. Another fun fact about the Goeppertia zebrina is that it comes with accolades – having earned a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit. 

Origin and Indoor Environment

Goeppertia Zebrina is native to the humid forest region of the South American country, Brazil. As such prefers high humidity, low light, and warmth to grow and thrive. 

As an evergreen perennial, the Goepperia Zebrina is rhizomatous – meaning it uses its horizontal, underground stem to send out roots and shoots from its nodes. 

Lighting Requirements

As the Goeppertia Zebrina is native to the forests of Brazil, the plant appreciates low light. Direct sunlight can sunburn the plant’s foliage. North-facing windows are suitable for the Goppertia Zebrina, or a few feet back from east and west-facing windows.

Low light does not mean no light. The Goeppertia zebrina will still require well-lit conditions to ensure its continued growth.

Watering Frequency

As the Goeppertia zebrina appreciates high moisture, we recommend setting a moderate watering schedule for your houseplant to ensure its success. While the Goeppertia zebrina appreciates moist soil – we do not recommend overdoing it with frequent waterings as this can lead to root rot.

As the seasons change, the watering frequency will also differ. During the growing season, ensure that this plant has consistently moist soil. In the winter and fall months, cut down on watering and only water when the top layer of soil is dry. 

Goeppertias are also sensitive to the type of water you use. Tap water can contain salts that Goeppertia plant varieties are often sensitive to. You can purchase distilled water or use rainwater to water your Goeppertia to avoid crispy leaves. If you don’t mind crispy leaves, tap water is also fine. Also, there is no shame in having crispy leaves. 

Increasing Moisture and Warmth

As Goeppertia loves and appreciates moisture and warm temperatures, there are a few things you can do to raise humidity and warmth in their indoor environment. 

While not all of us have a greenhouse, all of us can do our best. Goeppertias have a reputation for being difficult. If you’re unable to raise the humidity and/or warmth of your indoor environment you’re not a bad plant parent. 

Placing plants in the same family or that have similar growing conditions needs can be grouped together. This can raise the humidity in the area they are all placed in. Alternatively, you can also purchase a humidifier to raise the humidity in the area. 

Making sure that the temperature in your home does not dip below 20 degrees celsius is also recommended, as Goeppertia zebrina is also sensitive to the cold. 

Potting Mix, Soil, and Fertilization Needs

Goeppertia zebrina appreciates most soil. We recommend using a well-draining potting mix that is also able to retain some moisture.

Only repot your Goeppertia zebrina once a year. Spring would be the best time to re-pot so that it is set up properly for the growing season. When choosing a pot, opt for a pot sized 2 inches bigger than the pot it was previously in. Make sure that the depth of the pot is still the same and that it also has a drainage hole.

If you recently picked up your Goeppertia zebrina from a garden center or plant store, it is likely that the potting mix your plant came in will have enough nutrients to sustain it for a few months. 

You can also choose to fertilize your Goppertia in the growing season by opting for a balanced all-purpose fertilizer with a 10/10/10 NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) ratio.

Goeppertia zebrina Blooms

Goeppertia zebrina can bloom seasonally in the right growing conditions. Although, they will generally not bloom when grown indoors. If your Goeppertia zebrina does bloom, you’ll see inconspicuous clusters of flowers ranging from white to purple. 

Propagation of Goeppertia Zebrina

You cannot water propagate Goeppertia Zebrina.

Propagation of Goeppertia zebrina can occur through division or from seed. You can divide your Goepperia zebrina when you repot the plant, just separating a section out from the main root ball. Alternatively, you can purchase and grow Goeppertia zebrina from seed. Albeit, this can be a more difficult way to propagate. 

Pest Issues

Spider mites are a common pest of the Goeppertia zebrina. These annoying pests can be seen by the naked eye, although they are quite small and hard to detect. What you can see is their webbing, which you will find in the foliage of your houseplant – hence their name, “spider” mites. 

As a preventive measure against spider mites, we recommend neem oil. This can deter the likelihood of an outbreak from occurring. 

If you’re past the preventative stage there are a few things you can do. First, isolate your Goeppertia zebrina immediately to prevent the spread of spider mites to your other houseplants. Next, Blast them off the foliage of your plant with a hose or sprayer of water, and opt for a mite-specific pesticide to treat with. Be sure to follow the instructions of the pesticide, and check every couple of days to ensure a new outbreak hasn’t started. Usually, you’ll need to treat a couple of times to fully get rid of spider mites on your Goeppertia zebrina. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you take care of a Calathea Zebrina?

Calathea (Goeppertia) zebrina appreciates high humidity, moist soil, and low lighting.  

Does Calathea Zebrina need sunlight?

Calathea zebrina prefers low light. We do not recommend placing your Calathea zebrina in a place that receives direct sunlight as it can damage its leaves. North-facing windows or a few feet back from east and west-facing windows would be best.

How fast do Calathea zebrina grow?

Calathea zebrina must have the right growing conditions to ensure continued growth: high humidity, moist soil, and low lighting.

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