There's little doubt how zebra plant got its name. Its large (8- to 12-in.-long), blackish-green leaves are adorned with striking white stripes along the veins and midribs. As a bonus, the plant blooms for about 6 weeks in fall, when small yellow blossoms peek out from showy, waxy yellow bracts. 'Louisae' is the most common selection, but selections 'Apollo' and 'Dania' are more compact and have more striking venation.
For most Southerners, this native of Mexico and South America is an indoor plant. It prefers filtered sun from a south or west window. Too much sunlight burns the foliage; too little results in leggy growth and small leaves. Let the soil surface dry slightly between waterings, but don't let the plant wilt. Feed with a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer every 2 weeks from spring until fall. Cut back leggy stems after bloom to encourage branching and create a bushier plant.
Gardeners in south Florida can grow zebra plant outdoors, where it blooms in summer and fall. Give it dappled shade and well-drained soil. If an unexpected freeze injures the top, cut the plant to the ground; it will resprout.