How to grow and care for Silvery Inch Plant (Tradescantia zebrina) Indoors

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Houseplant, Silvery Inch Plant, Tradescantia zebrina

Botanical name: Tradescantia zebrina
Synonyms: Zebrina pendula, Tradescantia pendula
Family: Commelinaceae

Silvery Inch Plant bears glistened leaves which are multicolored above. The surface color is bluish-green, banded with silver and edged in purple.

The Silvery Inch Plant leaves are ovate, pointed towards the tips and rounded to the base. The flowers are pink to purplish.

Silvery Inch Plant is native to Mexico, Central America, Columbia and some Caribbean Islands.

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

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

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

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

How to Grow Silvery Inch Plant (Tradescantia zebrina)

Light for Silvery Inch Plant

Silvery Inch Plant prefers bright, indirect light. Keep Silvery Inch Plant away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to water Silvery Inch Plant

Water your Silvery Inch Plant thoroughly during the growing season and maintain the soil moist at all times.

Reduce watering your Silvery Inch Plant in cold weather to keep the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal.

Avoid soggy soil for your Silvery Inch Plant as it can lead in root-rot. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature for Silvery Inch Plant

Average warmth with a minimum 130C is ideal for your Silvery Inch Plant. Protect your Silvery Inch Planty from cold draughts.

Humidity for Silvery Inch Plant

Silvery Inch Plant has no need for high humidity. However, mist the leaves of your Silvery Inch Plant or set the pot on a wet pebble tray where the temperatures are too high to raise humudity. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Silvery Inch Plant

Feed your Silvery Inch Plant with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 2 weeks during the growing period.

Withhold feeding for your Silvery Inch Plant during the cold season as the growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to repot Silvery Inch Plant

Repot your Silvery Inch Plant during the growing season only when the plant has become pot-bound.

Use a rich, free-draining soil and a pot one size larger for your Silvery Inch Plant. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot.

How to Prune Silvery Inch Plant

Pruning your Silvery Inch Plant involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain the plant neat and tidy.

To control the growth of your Silvery Inch Plant and encourage bushyness, pinch the growing tips.

Cut back leggy stems of your Silvery Inch Plant at the beginning of the growing season to rejuvenate growth.

How to Propagate Silvery Inch Plant (Tradescantia zebrina)

Silvery Inch Plant can be propagated during the growing period by plants divison or from stem-cuttings.

How to propagate Silvery Inch Plant by plant division

Take out your Silvery Inch Plant from its pot and carefully divide it into sections. Ensure each sections has adequate roots and at least one set of leaves.

Pot the Silvery Inch Plant sections in individual pots in free-draining soil.

Place the set up in a cool shaded place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges.

Allow the new Silvery Inch Plants to be well established before transplanting.

How to propagate Silvery Inch Plant from stem cuttings

Silvery Inch Plant stem cuttings root easily so there is no need for rooting hormone.

Take a stem cutting from a healthy Silvery Inch Plant of about 4-6 in. and ensure it bears at least two sets of leaves.

Fill your rooting container with free-draining rooting mix 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 Silvery Inch Plant cutting.

Carefully insert your Silvery Inch Plant cutting in the hole made previously to a depth of about 3 in.

Place the set up in a cool shaded place and maintain the soil moist through out until new growth emerges.

Allow the new Silvery Inch Plant to be well established before transplanting to individual pots.

Common Problems in Growing Silvery Inch Plant (Tradescantia zebrina) Indoors

  • Why are the leaves on my Silvery Inch Plant dull looking?
  • Inadequate light is the cause of dull leaves in your Silvery Inch Plant.

    Move your Silvery Inch Plant to a brighter spot, as it prefers bright, indirect light. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

  • Why is my Silvery Inch Plant growing elongated weak stems (spindly growth)?
  • There are three causes of weak spindly growth in your Silvery Inch Plant.

    One cause of elongated weak stems (spindly growth) in your Silvery Inch Plant is too little light. Move your Silvery Inch Plant to a brighter spot as it need bright, indirect light.

    The second cause of elongated weak stems (spindly growth) in your Silvery Inch Plant is underwatering. Maintain the soil moist at all times for your Silvery Inch Plant and never allow the soil to dry out completely.

    The third cause of elongated weak stems (spindly growth) in your Silvery Inch Plant is inadequate feeding. Feed your Silvery Inch Plant once a month with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer.

  • Why does my Silvery Inch Plant have brown and shrivelled leaf tips?
  • The cause of brown and shrivelled leaf tips in your Silvery Inch Plant is too dry air especially where the temperatures are too high.

    Mist the leaves of your Silvery Inch Plant more regularly or set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity. Check out techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

  • Why does my Silvery Inch Plant have limp stems, yellow and spotted leaves?
  • Underwatering is the cause of limp stems, yellow and spotted leaves in your Silvery Inch Plant.

    Water your Silvery Inch Plant liberally during the growing season and maintain the soil moist through out.

  • Which plant diseases attack Silvery Inch Plant?
  • The most common plant diseases in Silvery Inch Plant are Root-rot and Leaf Spot.

  • Which plant pests attack Silvery Inch Plant?
  • Common plant pests in Silvery Inch are Mealy Bugs, Aphids and Scale Insects.

    Isolate the affected Silvery Inch Plant and treat appropriately. Mist the leaves regularly to reduce infestation by these pests.

  • Is Silvery Inch Plant invasive as a weed?
  • Silvery Inch Plants are invasive and noxious weeds in many places.

    Silvery Inch Plant will successfully grow anywhere and will smoother ground level plants and prevent the natural regeneration of taller species.

    Avoid planting Silvery Inch Plants in the ground and dispose only after complete destruction (even an inch of these plants will sprout if not completely destroyed).

Is Silvery Inch Plant toxic?

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

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

Other Related Tradescantia Species

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