How to Grow Tradescantia Zebrina

This handsome houseplant seems to have it all, and then some!

  • Use a well-draining potting mix.
  • Let it shine in a hanging basket.
  • Give it plenty of indirect light to keep its stripes.
  • Don’t allow T. zebrina to get too dry between waterings.
  • Feed it plant food to give it a boost.
  • Pinch back leggy stems to encourage new, fuller growth.
  • Grow more T. zebrina by placing cuttings in water or soil.

Striped leaves? Check. Brilliant hues? Check. Long, trailing vines? Check! If it seems like Tradescantia zebrina has all the trappings for one heck of a handsome houseplant, that’s because it does. Also referred to as T. zebrina or inch plant, this prize-worthy member of the spiderwort family has looks and personality. Its unfussy nature means Tradescantia zebrina care couldn’t be easier.

How to Plant Tradescantia Zebrina

T. zebrina isn’t worried much about its soil. Simply use Miracle-Gro® Indoor Potting Mix, a well-draining, nutrient-filled potting mix shown to be less prone to gnats (they too can’t help but love this plant). Select a pot with drainage holes or a hanging basket. If you go with the latter, a water-collection saucer that snaps on the bottom of the pot will make life easier. T. zebrina grows quickly, so be prepared to repot it if you see roots coming out the bottom or its growth slows down dramatically.

Where To Grow Tradescantia Zebrina

Tradescantia zebrina hails from Mexico and Central America, so unless you live where it’s warm year-round (lucky you!), you’ll want to grow T. zebrina as a houseplant or tender annual. You can also take it outside after any threat of frost has passed to enjoy its company on the patio for summer, then bring it back in come fall. That’s right, it can double as an indoor and outdoor plant—another amazing quality to add to the list! Both inside and out in the fresh air, T. zebrina’s trailing habit makes it an ideal plant for a hanging basket or as part of a mixed container. This is particularly noteworthy if you do live in hardiness zone 8 or above (check your plant hardiness zone here), and feel inspired to plant it in the ground. You’ll soon discover T. zebrina’s only flaw: It can be invasive.

How to Keep Tradescantia Zebrina From Losing Its Stripes

Regardless of where you grow it, make sure your T. zebrina has plenty of bright, indirect light. Too little light and those signature stripes will dull, and you don’t want to be the one responsible for its looks to fade! Simply provide more light and they should bounce back, no fancy beauty cream needed.

How To Water Tradescantia Zebrina

If you’re a forgetful gardener, T. zebrina might not love you back. It prefers consistently moist soil, so don’t go too long between waterings. It will tolerate the occasional dry-out; just don’t make it a regular thing. Nobody likes to feel ghosted, even plants.

How To Feed Tradescantia Zebrina

Feed T. zebrina in the spring and summer months, when growth is most active. Use Miracle-Gro® Indoor Plant Food (following the label directions), a well-rounded fertilizer packed with nutrients. This houseplant-perfect formula will bring out the best in Tradescantia zebrina.

How To Prune Tradescantia Zebrina

T. zebrina has a tendency to get leggy and scraggly if left unkempt over time. Imagine you’re its personal barber and treat it to a regular trim. Snip any vines that are missing leaves or getting too long. Pinch back the tips of vines at a node to encourage a bushier growth habit—two new stems will grow from the end.

How To Grow More Tradescantia Zebrina

When you’re done pruning your T. zebrina, don’t throw those stems away—use them to grow more plants! Place them in either a container of potting soil or a glass of water. Provide bright, indirect light and within several weeks, new roots will form. There’s never too much of a good thing with it comes to T. zebrina.

You probably don’t need more convincing, but Tradescantia zebrina is one of the best houseplants for adding a pop of color and pattern to your home. Add it anywhere your home or garden needs a little bit of punchy zebra stripe!

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