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Inch Plant Tradescantia zebrina

Other plants called Inch Plant:

Previously known as:

  • Tradescantia pendula
  • Zebrina pendula
Phonetic Spelling
trad-es-KAN-tee-uh zeb-REE-nuh
Description

Tradescantia zebrina is a herbaceous perennial often grown as a houseplant.  It has interesting variegated foliage striped green, white, and gray leaves with purple undersides.   The leaves are ovate and clasp the stem at the base.  Tiny three-petaled lavender-purple flowers appear infrequently indoors.  Leaf nodes on the stem are supposed to be 1-inch apart, hence the common name inch plant.   Tolerates a wide range of growing conditions.  Does best in filtered sun, average room temperatures and moist but well-drained soil.  Reduce watering in the winter.  Pinch back to encourage bushy growth.  Plants can be pruned back hard every spring and can be taken outside on a protected patio in the summer.  It is commonly grown in a hanging pot.  This plant is synonymous with Tradescantia pendula and Zebrina pendula

When located in full sunlight, the greatest color intensity can be appreciated.  However, in more southern locations, the sun can wash out the color.  In areas providing low lighting, the stems can lose their lower leaves and the remaining leaves can lose some of their beautiful color.

Trimming keeps this creeper contained as well as promoting denser foliage.  Removed leggy growth also allows for cuttings that can be used for propagation.  Although typically grown as a perennial, the cuttings can be used to 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious insect or disease problems. Root rot and stem rot can occur in soggy soil.  Monitor for aphids, mealybugs, scale, whiteflies, and spider mites as these can be an issue if left unchecked. Contact with plant sap causes skin irritations in some individuals.

Desired for its showy, colorful foliage and fast growth, commonly grown indoors in a hanging basket or in interiorscapes as a groundcover; each flower only lasts for 1 day.

Quick ID

  • Leaves are 2-ranked and 2 longitudinal stripes
  • Stems are trailing with closed sheaths
  • Leaf undersides are PURPLE
  • Flowers are solitary, subtended by paired bracts
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#houseplant#annuals#perennials#succulent#interiorscape#variegated leaves#hanging baskets#trailing#varigated#groundcover#fantz#container plants
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#houseplant#annuals#perennials#succulent#interiorscape#variegated leaves#hanging baskets#trailing#varigated#groundcover#fantz#container plants
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Tradescantia
    Species:
    zebrina
    Family:
    Commelinaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mexico and Guatemala
    Play Value:
    Colorful
    Easy to Grow
    Shade
    Textural
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 9 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Creeping
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8a, 8b, 9b, 9a, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b, 12b, 12a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flower inflorescence is hidden within two leafy bracts. Flowers are white tubes with purple lobes, <1 inch, subtended by a pair of boat-shaped 1-3 inch bracts; corolla lobes 3, purple-pink or violet blue. Although this plant can bloom year round, when located indoors, blooms are rare.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Variegated
    White
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are alternate, simple, ovate-oblong, acute, green & longitudinally striped white or silver or purple above between midrib & margin, usually reddish-purple beneath, somewhat succulent; blade sessile with a closed sheath. On close inspection, fine hairs can be seen along the leaf margins. In bright lights, the leaves appear to sparkle.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems are ascending, decumbent or trailing, rooting at nodes.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Houseplants
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Pool/Hardscape
    Rock Wall
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Cutting Garden
    Native Garden
    Rock Garden
    Shade Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Diseases
    Dry Soil
    Heat
    Insect Pests