Tradescantia zebrina care guide

In this guide you'll learn: How to care for your Tradescantia zebrina plant and
answers to FAQs to keep your plant happy

Meet the Tradescantia zebrina, an exotic and vibrant treasure from Mexico. This beautiful epiphyte loves its natural habitat on the steamy jungle floor, where it sprawls across the lush green foliage and is lit by the shining sun. It’s a rare encounter to stumble upon in the wild and an even more special experience to bring it into your own home.

With its unique zebra-patterned leaves of silver and green and trailing stems, this unique houseplant is a sight to behold. No two specimens quite look the same with their broad, oddly-shaped leaves and fascinating variegation. Whether you put it in a hanging basket or on a tabletop, it will make a statement no matter where you place it!

Tips for nurturing your Tradescantia zebrina


This plant enjoys dappled or indirect sunlight, preferably avoiding hot, midday sun or dark shadows.


Between 15°C – 26°C (59°F – 79°F).

Soil type and drainage

Use well-draining, fertile soil with plenty of organic matter.


Likes higher levels ranging from 50% – 70%, and a misting once in a while is also necessary.


Water when the topsoil becomes slightly dry, but be sure to water thoroughly so that the potting soil is evenly moist. Never over-water.


Although not necessarily dangerous, this plant can cause skin irritation and gastrointestinal upset if ingested, so take care not to place it in areas where small children may come in contact with it.


A light liquid fertiliser every two to three weeks during the growing season is beneficial.

Troubleshooting pests, diseases and problems

The Tradescantia zebrina is generally pest-free, but can occasionally suffer from mealy bugs, spider mites or fungal diseases. Immediately treat if spotted by neutralizing conidial colloids with insecticidal soap.


This plant needs to be propagated regularly to keep it from becoming too leggy. To propagate, cut off the tip of a healthy stem, remove the lower leaves, dip it in rooting hormone, and place it in a pot with moist potting soil. Keep the soil moist and in a warm, bright location until new roots begin to emerge.

Final Thoughts

Taking the time to care for this rarity, you can enjoy its beauty and unique traits. It’s a perfect plant for any beginner to try out, as it’s fairly low maintenance compared to other houseplants. With its striking foliage that never ceases to surprise and its dedication to brightening up your home, the Tradescantia zebrina is a brilliant addition that will keep enchanting you!

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About the Author

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Plant-lover with a life-goal to buy land across the UK to plant his own forest, James specialises in horticulture and botanical research, and has been growing and rewilding forests with trees, including endangered species, for over 15 years. He is an avid gardener, allotment owner, and aids in the running of a carbon neutral initiative in companies across the UK.

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