Your Guide To: Zebra Plant

Everything you need to know to care for this striking succulent.

A zebra succulent’s fun stripes and structured texture make it a playful addition to any room, but as a compact, sunshine-loving plant, it does best on a bright window sill or shelf. This slow-growing succulent is low on maintenance, making it ideal for a new (or just super-busy) houseplant enthusiast.

Shelf-size zebra plants also make great office space companions due to their easy-going nature—they're sure to add a punch of color to any cube, desk, or break space. Whether stacked in a row of green beauties or standing alone as the brightest spot on your sill, zebras are always up to the task.

How to Keep a Zebra Succulent Happy

Like all succulents, zebra succulents store water in their leaves. Remember that they are native to desert spaces, so think lots of sunshine and low humidity as you start to care for this plant.

How Much Light Does Zebra Succulent Need?

When you’re scoping out a home for your zebra succulent, choose the sunniest spot you can find, as zebra plants grow best in bright sunlight. If you don’t have bright, direct sunlight available, keep in mind that zebra succulents can adapt to a medium-light setting if you’re keeping humidity low and taking extra care not to over-water them.

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How Do I know When To Water My Zebra Succulent?

Zebra succulents are used to a dry climate, which is why they store water in their leaves and in their roots. You only need to water a zebra succulent twice a month, if that. For best results, you’ll need to let the soil your zebra succulent lives in dry out a bit between waterings. Test soil by feeling the top two inches of dirt with your fingertip (or better yet, take all the guesswork out of watering with a Plant Moisture Indicator from our accessories shop).

When the top two inches of soil is dry to the touch, saturate your zebra succulent’s potting soil with water from a small container or watering can. Pour the water out slowly, moving in a clockwise motion so that you can evenly water your plant’s roots.

Any excess water will drip into the tray at the bottom of your plant. Empty that tray within half an hour — zebra succulent’s roots can be damaged by sitting in water for too long. (Gardeners call it “having wet feet,” and zebra succulent lovers will want to avoid it as much as possible!). Remember that with this plant it’s better to err on the side of needing to go back and water it versus giving it too much water in the first place.

How Do I Use Plant Food for My Zebra Succulent?

Plant food is an important part of maintaining the vivid, striped patterns and strong, sturdy leaves of your zebra succulent. For a shelf-sized zebra succulent in a container that’s between 5 and 6 inches in diameter, insert 3 new plant food spikes (included with your plant purchase) into the soil once every month during the spring, summer, and fall. Zebra succulents are normally dormant during the winter months, so you can cut back to adding plant food every two months during that time.

What Is a Zebra Succulent's Ideal Environment?

Low humidity and warm environments suit zebra succulents best. Temperatures should be kept between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (around average room temperature) to keep it comfortable for this plant. Any drafty areas in your home should be avoided when you place your zebra succulent.

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Use these tools to keep this playful plant looking extra perky.

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Use these tools to keep this playful plant looking extra perky.

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How Do I Prune and Maintain My Zebra Succulent?

Zebra succulents are slow growers. Even in ideal conditions, our shelf-size zebra succulent won’t grow to be more than six inches tall. As newer leaves grow in to replace older ones, you may notice that the old-growth start to shrivel or shrink. You can prune away any old growth without hurting your plant by using pruning shears. Zebra succulents need very little else in the way of maintenance.

How to Address Common Zebra Succulent Issues

The most common zebra succulent issues are due to overwatering.

  • Drooping leaves are a sign that you are overwatering this plant. Wait a while before watering again and remove leaves that look damaged.
  • Rotting at the base of your plant is another sign that you have overwatered your zebra succulent. You may need to check for signs of root rot and dry your plant out for a significant amount of time before watering again. If you catch root rot early, you can report your zebra plant in fresh potting soil to give the roots a fresh start.

What to Do If You Still Have Questions

If your zebra succulent doesn’t seem to feel at home in your space, we’re here to help! You can chat with a live Greendigs representative on our website. You can also shoot us an email at [email protected]

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