GROWING THE ZEBRINA (inch plant)

This small genus of trailers from Guatemala and Mexico very much resembles tradescantias and can be distinguished only by the flower structure. The two are often confused and the names mixed.

Justifiably popular is the attractive Z. pendula, The green leaves are marked by two silvery bands and have a lustrous crystalline texture above, purple beneath. A cultivar called ‘Quadricolor’ has white and purple striping. Z.purpusii is rather different, with purple and olive green striping above and bright purple colouring beneath. It has the common name of bronze inch plant. but is now thought by some authorities to be a variety of Z. pendula,

All these zebrinas will survive temperatures much lower than the recommended 13 deg C (55 deg F) if kept on the dry side. Even if top growth is damaged by chills, new shoots usually arise with the return of warmer conditions. Their culture is much the same as for tradescantias. but they are usually better in shadier places and are frequently used as ground cover under the staging in greenhouses and conservatories. However. they are especially suited to hanging pots or pots on pedestals. The stems usually trail down sufficiently far to hide the container and then make a sharp turn upwards, a growth formation that is extremely effective. Zebrinas are remarkably free from pests and diseases, but chills or lack of water are likely to cause leaf browning and shrivelling.

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