Tradescantia zebrina, or the silver inch plant, is a house plant with unusual, variegated leaves that are green, purple and silver. It has a trailing habit so looks great in a hanging planter or on a shelf.

How to grow Tradescantia zebrina

Tradescantia zebrina is very easy to grow and tolerant of neglect. Native to Mexico, it thrives in warm temperatures and bright light. It can cope with some direct sunshine but generally does better in indirect but bright light. Water freely from spring to summer but allow the top few centimetres of compost to dry out before watering again. There's no need to mist silver inch plant.

To care for your silver inch plant, remove any plain, green leaves, which grow more strongly than the variegated ones (and can be sign that the plant isn't getting enough light). Silver inch plant tends to get spindly with age, but are very easy to propagate from cuttings. Indeed, you may find that entire stems drop from the plant. This is perfectly normal and is the plant's way of propagating itself naturally.

To take a cutting from silver inch plant, cut a 10cm stem just below a node (leaf joint). You can take cuttings from a fallen stem if you want to. Then simply pop the cuttings in water until they have rooted, and pot them up into fresh, peat-free house plant compost.

Bear in mind that, while silver inch plant is not toxic, its sap can be irritating to the skin. So wear gloves if you're sensitive to skin irritations.

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Advice on buying Tradescantia zebrina

  • Make sure you have the right growing conditions for your silver inch plant before buying
  • Always check plants for signs of pests and diseases

Where to buy Tradescantia zebrina

Plant calendar

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Tradescantia and wildlife

Tradescantia has no particular known value to wildlife in the UK.

Is Tradescantia poisonous?

Tradescantia irritates skin.

Toxic to:
Is known to attract Cats
Is known to attract Dogs
Is known to attract People
No reported toxicity to:
Is not known to attract Birds
Is not known to attract Horses
Is not known to attract Livestock
Plants that go well with Tradescantia zebrina