Q. How do I care for my Tradescantia zebrina houseplant?
Tradescantia zebrina, native to Southern Mexico, is easy to grow in a hanging basket or planted to drape down (a spiller) in combination with other potted plants outdoors in warm weather. There are other kinds of tradescantia, but without the pretty reddish color under the leaves.
All tradescantias (spiderworts) tend to lose their lower leaves with age and should be propagated regularly. Water actively growing plants plentifully as much as necessary to keep the potting mix thoroughly moist. When the plant is not actively growing, let the mixture dry out two-thirds before thoroughly watering again.
Propagation is done by taking 3-inch tip cuttings and inserting 4 to 6 of them in a 3-inch pot containing well-drained potting mixture. Keep the pot in a warm place in bright filtered light, watering just enough to keep the rooting mixture barely moist. Roots will develop in about two weeks. Groups of rooted cuttings can then be planted together in larger pots.
Tips: Nip out the growing tips of moist tradescantias regularly to encourage bushy growth. Remove any drying leaves from the base of trailing stems.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service