Tradescantia zebrina Bosse
Inch Plant, Silver Inch Plant, Wandering Jew
Commelina zebrina, Cyanotis zebrina, Tradescantia zebrina var. zebrina, Zebrina pendula
Tradescantia zebrina is a popular plant with slender, prostrate or trailing stems that bear attractive, green to purple leaves with two broad, silvery, longitudinal stripes on the upper surface and a reddish-purple underside. The branches can grow up to 20 inches (50 cm) long, rooting at nodes. The leaves are ovate with a pointed tip, stem-clasping, and measure up to 4 inches (10 cm) long and 1.2 inches (3 cm) wide. They are slightly succulent and chartaceous when dried.
The small flowers have three rose-pink or mauve petals and prominent white anthers and appear sporadically throughout the year on plants grown in their native habitat but rarely on indoor plants. The fruits are three-locular capsules that contain gray-brown seeds, one or two per locule.
Tradescantia zebrina is native to Mexico, Central America, Colombia, and the Caribbean islands. It has also been introduced and naturalized in parts of Africa, Asia, Australia, South America, and various oceanic islands.
USDA hardiness zone 8a to 11b: from 10 °F (−12.2 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Growing Tradescantia is easy, and you will find the plants quite resilient. These plants typically grow in moist, well-drained, and acidic (pH 5 to 6) soil. Tradescantias do best in partial shade but will do equally well in sunny areas if the soil is moist.
You can grow Tradescantia indoors, too, if suitable conditions are given. Provide the plant with a soilless mix or loam-based potting compost and keep it in bright filtered light. You should also pinch out the growing tips to encourage bushier growth.
Allow it to spend warm spring and summer days outdoors, if feasible. Water moderately during active growth and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every four weeks. Water sparingly in winter.
These plants like to be kept fairly moist, so water regularly, especially when growing in containers. Cutting the plants back once flowering has ceased can promote a second bloom and help prevent re-seeding. Cut back the stems about 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) from the ground.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Tradescantia.
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