Zebra plants are beautiful, but they can also be somewhat tricky to keep healthy. If your zebra plant is losing leaves, you may be wondering why that’s happening.
There could be a variety of reasons for this problem, and it may take some detective work on your part to figure out the root cause.
In today’s blog post, we’ll go over some possible reasons why your zebra plant may be losing leaves and what you can do about it!
Why Is My Zebra Plant Losing Leaves?
Zebra plants lose their leaves when they are stressed from not enough sunlight, cold temperatures, being transplanted, when given too much water, and if pests are attacking.
I will now go more in-depth into each of these causes and what you can do to save your beloved zebra plantâ€¦
1. Not enough sunlight
It’s a good idea to place your zebra plant near a window that gets at least five hours of sunlight per day. If you’re not able to provide the proper amount of light, it’s best to move them outside during spring or summertime when they can get plenty of light!
You see, plants need sunlight to produce chlorophyll. If they don’t get enough sunlight, their leaves will lose their green color and turn yellow or white.
Make sure to rotate your plant so that all leaves receive equal light exposure. Not doing this can result in the plant getting “leggy” and having weak growth, which can cause more leaves to fall off.
You can also use artificial grow lights (Amazon link) to provide the proper amount of light. I use them in the winter and can say they really make a difference in plant growth!
2. To make room for new leaves
Did the leaves fall off when the plants bloomed? When plants blossom, they may get rid of their lower leaves for energy. This is not a problem and usually does not indicate any concerns with your zebra plant’s health.
This means that the leaves will be replaced in a few weeks with new, fresh ones!
3. Cold temperatures
Zebra plants are very hardy, but they should be kept in temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If your plant is exposed to colder weather for a long period of time, the zebra plant leaves may turn yellow and fall off.
Your zebra plants can most likely handle cold temps if it’s only temporary – however, the damage will occur when the temperature stays low for an extended period of time.
4. Moving or being transplanted
If you’ve recently transplanted your zebra plant, it’s possible that the leaves fell off due to shock. It can take a while for plants to adjust when they are moved or transplanted into new pots!
This is why you should only repot if absolutely necessary, like if the plant has root rot or is simply too big for the pot.
Unfortunately, many people try to save their zebra plant by repotting it, but this can actually make the issue worse if the plant is already stressed.
Zebra plants should be watered frequently, but they do not need to be drowned in water. In fact, if you give your plant too much water all at once when it’s still dry down below, the zebra plant leaves may turn brown fall off!
It’s a good idea to only water when the top inch of soil is dry. You can test this by sticking your finger in the soil. If it’s moist, do not water!
Watering too often can cause yellow leaves and brown spots to form on the zebra plant. This usually means that the roots are rotting from being soaked with too much water for an extended period of time.
If root rot takes hold, then the plant will start to die and lose leaves. That’s why it’s important to water your zebra plant properly!
The type of water matters too…
If you want to make sure that your plant gets the best water, consider using distilled water instead of tap water. The chemicals and additives in tap water can damage plants over time.
6. Pests (thrips)
If you notice that your zebra plant has lost all of its leaves, then it may be infested with thrips. These are insects that eat the sap from plants and can kill them!
It’s not too difficult to get rid of thrips – just use an insecticidal soap or horticultural oil spray. You’ll need to hit both upper and lower parts of the leaf so make sure to cover each side evenly when spraying.
My favorite way to get rid of plant pests is to use neem oil, which is a natural remedy that works great against thrips and other harmful bugs!
Zebra Plant Leaf Drop FAQ
Zebra plants aren’t particularly simple to maintain. As a result, there are numerous inquiries about how to cure zebra plant leaf drop. I’ll go through some of the most commonly asked questions below:
I bought a new plant and it is losing leaves â€“ what should I do?
Your new plant may just be adjusting to its new environment. Keep it in a well-lit area for at least five hours each day and don’t overwater the plant yet!
The plant likely just needs to be left alone to recover from the stress of being moved to a new location. Making lots of changes may only make the problem worse.
I went on vacation and my zebra plant’s leaves are falling off â€“ what should I do?
The leaves may fall off if you go too long without checking on your plant. A vacation is fine, but the problem occurs when people forget about their plants for weeks or even months at a time!
Inspect the plant for signs of pests, as these may have taken advantage of your absence. You can use neem oil to prevent pests from attacking your zebra plant.
In conclusion, there are several problems that can cause your zebra plant’s leaves to fall off. The most common reasons include overwatering, stress from the environment, and being exposed to cold weather for too long (or moving it during winter).
If you take care of your zebra plant properly, however, it should last for years without any major problems. Your plant will grow healthier and produce more vibrant leaves!
Tim is an avid gardener from the UK. He was the founder of PlantCarer.com from 2021 to Sep 2023. He sold PlantCarer.com to Aaron. He has since started his own business called Seed To Supper, which provides new gardeners all the materials you need in a box (pots, seeds, compost and instructions) to grow your own delicious and nutritious vegetables and herbs from start to finish – no garden required.