Q: I have a Zebra plant that I grow in the house. It is always getting new leaves but as it grows all the bottom leaves fall off. Is this normal?
A: Zebra plant, Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Louisae’, is native to Brazil.
It requires warmth, high humidity and high light levels, plus soil that is kept neither too moist nor too dry. A bathroom with a big skylight or a kitchen greenhouse window on the east side of a house would be a good location for this plant.
If it is at all unhappy, it drops lower leaves, just like you’ve observed.
Try hanging a screw-in 1200 lumen fluorescent bulb in a fixture a few inches above the plant’s foliage to give it light. Conceal a misting sprayer behind its pot so you can mist the leaves a couple of times each day to raise the humidity.
See Zebra Plant