Tradescantia zebrina

25 Jan

Tradescantia zebrina (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Tradescantia zebrina (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Sporadic

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 15cm

Eventual Spread: 1.8m

Hardiness: 9b, 10a, 10b, 11

Family: Commelinaceae

Tradescantia zebrina is a fast growing evergreen perennial with a spreading habit. Its dark green and silver striped leaves are elliptic to lanceolate with entire margins, up to 7cm long and 3cm across. Its fleshy stems may send down roots where they touch moist soil. Its rose coloured flowers are 3 petalled, small and appear terminally.

Tradescantia zebrina Leaf (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Tradescantia zebrina Leaf (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Tradescantia zebrina, commonly known as Spiderwort, Wandering Jew or Silver Inch Plant, is native to Mexico and Central America. In its native habitat it grows in open woodland in sub tropical and warm temperate regions. Tradescantia zebrina is synonymous with Zebrina pendula, Tradescantia pendula and Tradescantia tricolor. This plant is considered as a Category 1b Invasive Species in South Africa.

The etymological root of the binomial name Tradescantia is named after John Tradescant (1608-1662) who served as gardener to Charles 1 of England. Zebrina is from the Latin and refers to this plant being striped like a Zebra.

Tradescantia zebrina Trailing (28/02/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Tradescantia zebrina Trailing (28/02/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

The landscape architect may find Tradescantia zebrina useful as an evergreen house plant with a trailing or hanging habit. It should be noted that the sap of this plant may cause skin irritation.

Ecologically, Tradescantia zebrina is of little value to UK wildlife.

The Royal Horticultural Society have given Tradescantia zebrina their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Tradescantia zebrina Flower Bud (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Tradescantia zebrina Flower Bud (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Tradescantia zebrina prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

When maintaining  Tradescantia zebrina as a houseplant its soil should be watered regularly. Watering should be reduced during the winter months. Its preferred active growing temperature rages from between 18ºc to 24ºc. Feeding with weak fertiliser solution should be carried out once a month during the growing season. Aphids and Vine Weevils may attack this plant. Regular pruning of old growth will encourage a fuller healthier plant.

DAVIS Landscape Architecture

Landscape Architecture

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