Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pretty picture: Aphelandra squarrosa

I hear they're not particularly satisfying houseplants, in the long-term, but I do sometimes feel mildly bad about never having tried an Aphelandra squarrosa. This one was at the ex-job, quite a while ago.


I'm not sure exactly why I feel like I should have attempted it -- it's not as though there's a list of Houseplants You Must Try If You're Going To Be Into Houseplants. (And if there were such a list, Aphelandra probably wouldn't be on it.1) But that's sort of what it feels like.


So what about it, readers? Have I been missing out on something awesome? Or is A. squarrosa as disappointing as I've heard?

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1 What would be on that list? Well, pothos, obviously. Codiaeum. Sansevieria trifasciata. Dracaena fragrans and D. marginata. Schlumbergera? African violets? Peperomia obtusifolia. Araucaria heterophylla / A. columnaris. Dieffenbachia. Phalaenopsis. Crassula ovata. Spathiphyllum. At this point I suppose I'm just listing plants I see for sale a lot. And some of those wouldn't actually be fair to inflict on someone who was new to houseplants. (Codiaeum wouldn't be fair to inflict on someone experienced, as far as that goes.)


10 comments:

Claude said...

It seems that whenever I get an old book on plant care, vintage 50's or 60's, this plant is heavily featured. They've got a nice graphic look to them, but I've never been tempted to take one home, so I can't say how difficult it is.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I don't think you're missing out. I've tried this plant, and it can be a little fussy. Not terribly so. And certainly not impossible to grow. And it can be pretty even after the flowering period is over. But it's not a 'must have', earth shattering, life altering plant. It's an okay type of plant.

orchideya said...

Before I got exclusively into orchids I tried Aphelandra squarrosa, a.k.a "Zebra plant", because it was always available at HD and I figured, foliage looks nice even without blooms. Of course it never re-bloomed for me, but eventually foliage started to get brown edges that would progress through the leaves. Finally it was looking so rough that I couldn't stand the view and threw it away.
Definitely not missing out...

Ivynettle said...

I've never had one at home, but having them at the shop is almost as good... or bad. The two that didn't sell within the first two weeks or so quickly stopped blooming (and are refusing to rebloom) and all dropped their lower leaves. They don't seem to die easily (although, OK, they do get daily attention from yours truly, don't know how they'd do with infrequent waterings... probably not well, considering how quickly they wilted in warmer weather) but keeping them looking good isn't easy either.

Anonymous said...

You are smart to avoid yellow flowers altogether. :)

Carol

Tom said...

Oops I just left my Aphelandra comment on the other post. ::cries with shame::

ardas said...

You are not missing anything. I bought this plant some time ago. It was quite expensive here in Poland. I tried to give it all it needs and yet it lost all it's flowers relatively quickly. Then leaves. Then stem. Now that I think about it it might have been sick. Anyways, it tried to grow new leaves from stem stub. 6 months later after summer outside in my mint patch leaves are twice as big then in the beginning yet still not bigger than a nail.
Plant is kinda high maintenance. Leaves have nice graphic design. Flowers are not that great to be honest. You can find hundreds plants better suitable for indoor growing AND more preety :D

Anonymous said...

I had an Aphelandra squarrosa for nearly a year, I think. It was... a plant. It caused its fair share of troubles, given that it had an affinity to a species of pest which I never did manage to identify, and I also never figured out exactly what sort of watering schedule it liked. One day it just upped and died. I have not the foggiest. Anyways, it was a nice plant in other aspects, but it was not the most amazing plant ever, and I'm not overly inclined to try one again. Yet. Maybe sometime. But not yet.

Anonymous said...

I've had a Zebra Plant for a little more than a year now, and I LOVE it. Although it does require more frequent watering than any of my other plants, its very good at letting me know its thirsty by drooping its leaves. It just flowered, which is really nice to have in October, and I couldn't be happier with it.

Ortiz 805 said...

HAd one and killed it... She was a pain in the you know what.