Dear AGO

“Hi there, I love your is super informative and I am really impressed with it!
I have a question, my boyfriend bought me this plant and I have no idea what it is. I live in California but am not even sure if it is indigenous to this state.
Please help me…photo attached.




“Hi Krissi —

Love your ring!

Looks to me like your nice boyfriend bought you an iresine maybe. For a reference, compare it to some of the iresines on this page.

Whatever it is, it looks tropical and probably can’t take frost.

Thanks for your kind words about the blog.

Happy spring.”


“You are so sweet, thank you so much for your help!

So, last night my boyfriend spent about 3 hours trying to identify the plant…and became very excited after he discovered the zebra plant, thinking it must be ours. However, now that you are sending me this link, it could very well be an iresine. Do you know any way to be sure? What seems to be unique is this plant’s trunk, it is like a miniature tree because it’s base is brown and as thick as a finger.



“Krissi, I’m going to post this mystery on my blog, with your photos and questions, later this week. Maybe we’ll get some more clues to its identity.

Hoping to banish confusion,


And that’s the end of the email exchange. But what a boyfriend, bringing home a plant and then researching it for three hours! He’s a keeper for sure, Krissi. And I think aphelandra, aka The Zebra Plant, is a very good possibility, especially due to the thick trunk. If anyone can confirm or deny, please do.

This entry was posted in Plant Portraits, shop talk and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Dear AGO

  1. It is a zebra plant. It will have a yellow bloom. It is not iresine, which are typically more to the red spectrum. I have grown both, although I have not seen a zebra plant in number of years.

  2. hoover says:

    Not Iresine, the leaves of which are quite flimsy. Yes, zebra plant that needs some care, should look more robust and have less bare stem.

  3. Denise says:

    Zebra plant it is. Thanks for the help! I don’t keep a single plant indoors…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *