Why Are My Zebra Plant Leaves Falling Off?

I’ve been into indoor gardening for over a decade. The Zebra plant has been my favorite houseplant due to its bold striped leaves. But within the past week, my zebra plant has dropped all the leaves. It has been due to an inappropriate zebra plant care routine.

So, why are my zebra plant leaves falling off? The possible cause of zebra plant leaves dropping are too much moisture, inconsistent watering habits, over-fertilization, extreme temperature changes, incorrect lighting, and low humidity.

There is no need to freak if you notice the zebra plant leaves turning brown and falling off. I wrote this article to share my experiences and mechanisms that helped me fix the zebra plant leaves falling off.

You May Also Read: How to Grow and Care for Stromanthe Triostar

Reasons for Zebra Plant Leaves Falling Off


Zebra plants do best in well-draining soil that can hold moisture for an extended period. The relative soil moisture enhances vegetative growth and its posture maintenance.

Overwatering is due to poor soil drainage, and this results in yellowing of the leaves. The yellow foliages turn mushy and cause extra weight.

The leaves’ structure later deteriorates and falls off. The golden rule is to inspect the soil moisture before watering your favorite houseplant.

Use well-draining soil in a pot with drainage holes at the bottom. These drainage holes will help to eliminate excess water from the potting soil.


Zebra plants prefer slightly moist potting soil to thrive. The moisture content allows the plant to maintain its posture throughout the year.

Zebra plant wilting and drooping are signs of under-watering. It will take about a week for the zebra plant leaves to start falling off.

Soak the dry potting soil with distilled or rainwater to rehydrate the houseplant. Ensure the potting medium does not get soggy in the long run.

Zebra plants need more water during summer and spring. Reduce the watering frequency during winter to avoid overwatering-related issues.


The Zebra plant is a light-feeder tropical houseplant. Fertilizer application helps the zebra plant to experience vegetative growth and stay healthy.

Too much fertilizer application tends to cause damages to the houseplant. The excess salt accumulation inhibits the roots from water uptake.

Yellow leaves, brown leaf tips, stunted growth, and dropping leaves are signs of over-feeding your houseplant.

I recommend flushing the potting soil with distilled water or re-potting the tropical plant. The best option is to flush the potting medium every three months to prevent salt buildup.

Be sure to feed your zebra plant every 3-4 weeks during spring and summer. Do not fertilize the houseplant during winter or fall due to the dormancy effect.

You May Also Read:

Extreme Temperatures

Zebra plants thrive under a temperature range of 65-85oF. Use a digital thermometer to monitor the indoor temperature changes.

Too high temperatures will make the plant limp, and the leaves will start dropping. The heat encourages water loss through leaves and deteriorates their structures.

Too cold temperatures cause irreparable damages to the houseplant. The freezing temperatures make the leaves look blackish and result in extra weight.

I recommend keeping the zebra plant away from cold and hot drafts. Ensure the indoor temperature ranges from 55-65oF at night-time and 70oF at daytime.

Incorrect Lighting

Natural Light enables houseplants to make their food and stay alive. These tropical plants might shed leaves to prevent energy loss.

Zebra plants thrive under bright indirect sunlight to enhance healthy growth. Direct sunlight exposure will cause scorching of the leaves.

Put the zebra plant near a north-facing window. Ensure the window has shears and curtains to reduce the sunlight intensity. Natural light allows the plant to bloom and stay healthy.

Use artificial lights when growing the zebra plants in a dark room. Another excellent option is to take the plant outside for 2-3 hours during early mornings and late evenings.

Low Humidity

Zebra plants thrive in a region with warm and humid conditions. The humid environment enables the houseplant to stay healthy and happy.

Dry air around the houseplant will make the leaves drop one by one. It is a natural response that helps the houseplant to conserve water.

Ensure the indoor humidity level ranges from 70-80%. Use an electric humidifier to boost the indoor humidity and prevent leaves from falling off.

Pest Infestations

Zebra plants are less vulnerable to pests. But this does not make the tropical plant invincible to pest infestations. Mealybugs, spider mites, and scales do attack the houseplant.

Insect infestation is due to placing the houseplant in a poorly ventilated room with a high humidity level. These insects do damage the leaves’ vital tissues and make them fall off.

Isolate the plant and use an insecticidal spray to eliminate these sap-sucking creatures. You can also use Neem oil or alcohol dabs to knock off the bugs.

Plant Diseases

Zebra plant leaves falling off can also be a sign of disease. Most zebra plant diseases are due to overwatering and too high humidity.

Fungal leaf spot disease usually causes more harm to tropical plants. Use a mild solution of baking soda spray to treat the zebra plant.

Another option is to re-pot the houseplant to fresh potting soil and avoid overwatering. It is the best choice to revive the houseplant.

You Might Also Read: Red Aglaonema Varieties with Names and Pictures

Related Questions

Do Zebra Plants Lose their Leaves?

Yes. Indoor zebra plants are temperamental and can easily lose their leaves. Correct care and conditions will help to prevent the leaves from falling off issue.

How often to Water a Zebra Plant?

1-2 times a week. But zebra plants will need more water during spring and summer due to their active growth. Reduce watering frequency in fall and winter due to dormancy effect.

Why Are My Zebra Plant Leaves Turning Brown and Falling Off?

Over-fertilization and inappropriate watering routines are the possible cause of zebra plant leaves turning brown and falling off. Other causes are extreme temperatures and low humidity.

You May Also Like: Why Are My Zebra Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?

Final Thoughts

Zebra plants need more attention and love than other tropical houseplants. Appropriate care and condition will help to prevent leaves from falling off.

Use the comment section to share your experience after dealing with the zebra plant leaves falling off. Be sure to use the recommendations in the article to fix the issue.