Zebra Plants aren’t easy to take care of, especially if you haven’t handled many plants before. They are pretty picky about their requirements and aren’t tolerant to overwatering, underwatering, full sun, full shade, too high or low humidity, low temperatures, or even too much fertilizer.
Being anywhere outside of their comfort zone can lead to issues like drooping and wilting leaves. But don’t worry, we are here to help!
If your Zebra Plant has drooping or wilting leaves, it is most likely due to overwatering or underwatering. However, factors such as the amount of sunlight, fertilizer, humidity, or temperature can also affect a Zebra Plant’s leaves.
Continue reading to learn what might be causing problems with your Zebra Plant, as well as how to remedy any issue they might be facing.
Why Are My Zebra Plant Leaves Wilting?
Zebra Plants develop wilting and drooping leaves for a variety of reasons. Zebra Plants are tropical and therefore need a hot and humid environment. If they don’t have this, they may not be able to function and grow as they should.
Both low temperature and low humidity can lead to your Zebra Plant leaves drooping or wilting. Generally, you want above 60°F (15°C) to keep your plant happy and healthy. If the temperature drops below this, even just overnight, you risk your Zebra Plant being unable to keep its leaves flourishing and they may begin to droop, wilt, or fall off.
Even if you are watering your plant enough, it may not have the right amount of humidity.
Too much fertilizer may be another cause for a Zebra Plant to have wilting leaves. This plant doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer, and can easily get over-fertilized.
The most common reason why a plant might be wilting or have drooping leaves, however, is the amount of water they are given – either too much or too little.
What Does an Overwatered Zebra Plant Look Like?
Unfortunately, Zebra Plants are sensitive to both overwatering and underwatering, so you have to be careful when determining a watering schedule. When it comes to overwatering, Zebra Plants will generally first begin to show stress with a yellowing of the leaves.
Stems may also begin to grow soft and be squishy to the touch, rather than the firm stems they should be.
How Often Should You Water a Zebra Plant?
Though Zebra Plants are tropical, they don’t need to be watered as often as you might think. Zebra Plants do best with soaking. This means you take their pot and soak it generously in water. If the pot is too large to soak, you can pour in water until it begins to drain out of the bottom.
After that, you can usually leave it alone for two to three weeks depending on the humidity and temperature where you live. If you are unsure if it is time to water, simply test the soil and make sure it is completely dry.
How Do I Know If My Zebra Plant Needs Water?
There are tools out there that will tell you how moist your soil is and if it is time to water. However, the simplest (and cheapest) method is to just stick something in the soil. Most gardeners opt to use their fingers, but bamboo skewers or stakes work as well. Simply stick it a few inches into the soil and pull it back out. If soil is wet and clinging to it, it is still too moist to water again.
Do Zebra Plants Like Direct Sunlight?
Zebra Plants are used to living under a canopy of larger trees. Therefore, naturally, they only get partial sun and partial shade. By giving your plants too much sun or too much shade, they will struggle to bloom and grow, and may even end up sick or injured.
Try to avoid placing your Zebra Plant in direct sunlight. Instead, put them somewhere where they can get indirect sun or partial shade.
How to Save a Dying Zebra Plant?
Once you have a guess as to what is causing your Zebra Plant to die, you can try one of the following recommendations to reverse course and help save it.
Too Much or Too Little Sunlight
If it is dying due to too much sun, you simply want to move it to a place where it gets a little less. Next to a window where it gets indirect sunlight but the sun doesn’t come in and hit the plant is ideal.
The same is true if your plant isn’t getting enough sunlight. Simply move it to somewhere where it gets a little bit more sun.
Not Humid Enough
To remedy a lack of humidity, you need to find a way to increase the humidity in the vicinity of your Zebra Plant. Placing it in a bathroom where showers are often taken is a good option, or you can buy a humidifier and place it in the same room as your plant.
An easy option is to make a humidity tray. This is a tray that goes underneath the pot of your plant. You usually place small rocks in it and pour in water to fill the bottom, but not so much that it goes over the top of the rocks. As this water evaporates, it increases the humidity in the area.
Another option is to frequently mist your plant. A light misting can help keep your plant humid, but this requires a lot more hands-on care than the other options. Just be careful to not over-mist your plant, as that can harm it, too.
Over-fertilizing is a serious issue as well. Most traditional liquid fertilizers you buy in the store can be diluted to half strength with Zebra Plants. Even then, they usually only need it every other week in their growing months. In winter and fall, they don’t need any feedings at all.
If you happen to over-fertilize your Zebra Plant, it is easy enough to remedy. Simply soak your plant well and let it drain for thirty minutes or so. Repeat this two or three more times to ensure the fertilizer has been rinsed out of the soil.
Too Much or Too Little Water
When it comes to underwatering, you can address the issue simply by watering your plant. As long as you catch the issue quickly enough, you will see your plant begin to thrive again in just a few hours.
If you have overwatered your Zebra Plant just once or twice, you may only have to let the soil dry. However, if you have been chronically overwatering your plant or the damage seems more severe, then you will have to repot your plant.
Root Rot and Fungus
Before repotting, check the roots. If your roots look soft, discolored, or squishy, your plant likely has root rot. To remedy this, you will have to trim the damaged roots. Always use sterilized tools for trimming to prevent the fungus that causes root rot from spreading. You can also use this time to trim any damaged or dying leaves.
Remove as much old soil from the roots as possible to prevent the likelihood of transferring the fungus with you. You can also spray the new pot and your plant’s roots with a fungicide to help eliminate any fungus that still may be present.
If you are repotting, don’t get a pot that is much bigger than the pot it was in before. This is because Zebra Plants don’t do well in new, unfamiliar locations or with having too much space.
How Do You Fix a Sagging Zebra Plant?
If your plant is sagging, it is likely due to underwatering. If your plant seems to suddenly start drooping, it is very likely because it just needs water. You can check the soil first. If it is very dry, then give your Zebra Plant some water. In a few hours, if that is the problem, you will start to see it spring back.
Will Leaves Grow Back on a Zebra Plant?
When it comes to Zebra Plants, their new growth always sprouts at the top of the plant. This means that if your Zebra Plant has lost leaves from the bottom, then they will likely not grow back.
Most caretakers of these plants don’t get worried about this as Zebra Plants tend to naturally get leggy anyway. If you don’t want a leggy plant, the other option is to cut the stem down. New growth will occur where you pruned it. Just be careful and cut slowly to avoid killing your plant.
Zebra Plants are notoriously hard to take care of. They are finicky plants that even experienced plant owners have a hard time with. Therefore, it isn’t unusual to see something wrong with your plant, such as drooping or yellow leaves.
While underwatering or overwatering is the most common reason for drooping leaves, too much or too little sunlight, over-fertilization, and not enough humidity can also play a role in your Zebra Plant’s health.
Keep the temperature above 60°F (15°C) and always check the top few inches of soil before watering to ensure your plant is on the right watering schedule. Taking the time to identify what is wrong with your plant can help to make sure it grows healthily and happily for a long time.