Silver Inch Plant (Tradescantia zebrina) Indoor Care, Propagation, Problems and Remedies


Silver Inch Plant (Tradescantia zebrina) bears glistened leaves which are multicolored above where the surface color is bluish-green, banded with silver and edged in purple.

Tradescantia zebrina leaves are fleshy, ovate, pointed towards the tips and rounded to the base. The flowers are pink to purplish.

Silver Inch Plant is an easy care plant that will withstand a wide range of growing conditions and easily propagates; just a node of this plant will sprout into a beautiful plant in no time.

Silver Inch Plant, Tradescantia zebrina

Botanical name: Tradescantia zebrina
Synonyms: Zebrina pendula, Tradescantia pendula
Family: Commelinaceae
Common name: Silver Inch Plant

Origin

Tradescantia zebrina also called Zebrina pendula or Tradescantia pendula is native to Mexico, Central America, Columbia and some Caribbean Islands.

Silver Inch Plant has been naturalized in parts of Asia, Africa, Australia, South America and various oceanic islands.

In its native habitat, Silver Inch Plant grows in thickets in the wetlands and rainforest, often on stones in shady and open areas or on riverbanks.

Invasiveness as a weed

Tradescantia zebrina is an invasive and noxious weed in many places. The plant will successfully grow anywhere and will smoother ground level plants and prevent the natural regeneration of taller species.

Avoid planting Silver Inch Plant in the ground and dispose only after complete destruction as even an inch of this plant will sprout if not completely destroyed.

Toxicity

Silver Inch Plant (Tradescantia zebrina) is mildly toxic to humans and pets.

If ingested, the plant sap can cause burning in the mouth, tongue and throat. The sap may also cause skin irritation in sensitive skin; always wear gloves when handling Silver Inch Plant.

Varieties

Some common varieties of Tradescantia zebrina are Zebrina purpusii (Bronze Inch Plant) whose leaf surface is purplish-green with a purple underside.

Another variety of Silver Inch Plant is Zebrina pendula quadricolor which is more showy with green, silver, pink and red leaf surface with a purple underside.

Where to Buy

Silver Inch Plants are magnificent plants to add to your collection. You may get them online from Etsy.

Tradescantia zebrina Care Indoors

Silver Inch Plant (Tradescantia zebrina) grows best under bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, average warmth and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with fortnightly feeding during the growing season.

Tradescantia zebrina has no need for high humidity. It requires regular pruning is needed to keep it neat, to reduce pest and disease infestations, to encourage a bushy, compact growth and to rejuvenate growth.

Repotting is only needed when extremely pot-bound as it grows best when slightly root-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Silver Inch Plant, Tradescantia zebrina

Light Requirements

Silver Inch Plant prefers bright, indirect light away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves.

If the natural lighting is not adequate, you can use grow lights to supplement it. Take a look at these full spectrum grow lights available on Amazon.

Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth.

Watering

Water Silver Inch Plant thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to maintain the soil moderately moist.

Decrease watering in the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Confirm that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease and death of the plant.

Temperature and Humidity

Average warmth of 16-270C is ideal for Silver Inch Plant. A room temperature that is comfortable for you is ideal for this plant.

Keep the Tradescantia zebrina away from drafts as they can cause leaf drop and reduced growth.

Silver Inch Plant has no need for high humidity. Average air humidity is ideal for this plant.

However, if the temperatures are too high, set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity. Learn more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Fertilizer

Feed Silver Inch Plant with a balanced, liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks during the growing period for lush growth.

Do not feed Tradescantia zebrina during the cold season as the growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn.

Potting Medium

The best potting mix for Silver Inch Plant should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal. Buy quality multi-purpose potting mix online from Amazon.

Repotting

Repot Silver Inch Plant during the growing season only when the plant has become extremely pot-bound. Use a pot one size larger than the current one.

Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot. Check out these Ceramic Pots with Drainage Holes and Saucer on Amazon.

Pruning

Pruning Silver Inch Plant involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain the plant neat and tidy as well as discourage pest and disease infestations.

To control the growth and encourage bushyness, pinch the growing tips. Cutback leggy stems at the beginning of the growing season to rejuvenate growth.

Propagation

Silver Inch Plant (Tradescantia zebrina) can be propagated during the growing period by plant divison or from stem-cuttings. Continue reading on these two methods of propagation.

How to propagate Silver Inch Plant by plant division

Water the Silver Inch Plant thoroughly at least 1 day before to make it easier to divide and also hasten establishment. A well hydrated plant suffers less shock and takes a shorter time to take root.

Take out the plant from its pot and carefully divide it into sections. Ensure each sections has adequate roots and at least one set of leaves.

Select a 6 or 8 in. pot and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.

Fill the pot with loose, free-draining soil and make a hole in the center of the pot. Ensure that the hole is slightly wider than the root base of the section.

Place the section in the previously made hole and lightly firm the soil around the base while taking care not to bury it too deep; maintain the section at the same soil level it was in the previous pot.

Water the soil thoroughly and place the set up in a well-lit, warm place until the new Tradescantia zebrina is well established after which you can begin routine care.

How to propagate Silver Inch Plant from stem cuttings

The stem cuttings root easily so there is no need for rooting hormone. Take a stem cutting from a healthy Silver Inch Plant of about 4-6 in. and ensure it bears at least two sets of leaves.

Allow some time for the formation of a protective callus tissue over the cuts of the cuttings to prevent rotting.

Fill a rooting container with loose, free-draining soil to a depth of about 4 in. Lightly moisten the soil.

With a pencil or similar object make a hole that is wider than the diameter of the cutting. Carefully insert the cutting in the hole made previously to a depth of about 3 in.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist through out until new growth emerges.

Allow the new Tradescantia zebrina to be well established before transplanting to individual pots after which you can begin routine care.

Silver Inch Plant, Tradescantia zebrina

Tradescantia zebrina Problems

Silver Inch Plant (Tradescantia zebrina) problems include leggy growth, dull leaves, plant death, dropping leaves, yellowing leaves, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Diseases

Silver Inch Plant is also prone to leaf spot disease. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat the plant appropriately for the disease.

Pests

Common pests in Silver Inch Plant are Mealy Bugs, Aphids and Scale Insects. Isolate the affected plant and treat it appropriately for the pests. Read on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.

Dull leaves

Dull leaves in Silver Inch Plant are due to inadequate light (too little light) as it grows best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight.

Move the Tradescantia zebrina to a brighter spot, where it will receive bright, indirect light or instal grow lights if you do not have adequate light in your home.

Dropping leaves

Silver Inch Plant will readily drop its leaves if the light is inadequate (too little).

Ensure to position the Silver Inch Plant in a brightly lit place while protecting it from direct hot sunshine to avoid scorching of the leaves or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate.

Leggy growth (elongated stems)

There are three possible causes of leggy growth in Silver Inch Plant. One possible cause is too little light.

Position the plant in a brighter spot as it needs bright, indirect light to thrive or use a grow light where the natural light is not enough for the plant.

The second cause of leggy growth in Silver Inch Plant is underwatering resulting in too little moisture in the soil and thus the plant does not get enough water and nutrients necessary for growth.

Water the plant thoroughly to maintain the soil moist at all times and never allow the soil to dry out completely.

The third cause of leggy growth in Silver Inch Plant is inadequate feeding (underfeeding).

Feed the Tradescantia zebrina every 4 weeks with a balanced, liquid fertilizer to promote healthy growth.

Plant dying

Silver Inch Plant is dying due to root-rot disease which is brought about by soggy soil due to poor soil drainage.

Ensure that the soil is free-draining and that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

Reduce watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and thus the plant does not require a lot of water. Read more on how to treat root-rot in houseplants.

Brown and shrivelled leaf tips

Brown and shrivelled leaf tips in Silver Inch Plant is caused by too dry air especially where the temperatures are too high.

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to up the humidity. Check out techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Limp stems, yellow leaves

Limp stems and yellow leaves in Silver Inch Plant are due to underwatering. This results in too little moisture in the soil.

Underwatering means that there is not enough water in the soil for the plant to take up. As such, the stems become limp and the leaves begin to die.

Water the Tradescantia zebrina liberally during the growing season while allowing the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to maintain the soil consistently moist.

Cut down on watering in the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

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