Zebrina pendula – Commelinas

Zebrina pendula is a very popular plant often mistaken for a Tradescantia which has similar form and growth habit. The variety `Quadricolor’ has green, purple and white-striped leaves, whose crystalline shimmer makes them most attractive. It trails well and is fine kept in a fairly high position. This is one of the least demanding plants. It mixes well with other indoor foliage plants.


  • Growing season 12-22 °C (53-72 °F)
  • Minimum winter 7-10 °C (45-50 °F)

Soil: A mixture of soil-less compost and 20% good friable garden loam.Zebrina pendula - Commelinas

Where to position: In good light which promotes good colour. It tolerates shade, draughts and varying temperatures. Avoid hot sunlight.

Watering requirements: Tepid water. Maintain a moist soil condition. It needs no regular spraying but mist-spraying occasionally. No special humidity required.

General care: Give a weak liquid fertilizer monthly. Trim the stems to keep it tidy and attractive.

Rest: It grows continuously. There is no marked resting period but less water is needed in winter to maintain the correct soil condition.

When it looks sick:

  • The distance between leaves on the same stem is long : The plant is becoming `drawn’; give it more light. Leaves die, becoming brown, dry and brittle : The plant is grossly under-watered. Plunge the plant to wetten the soil ball.
  • The leaf colour becomes glossy green instead of retaining its purple striping : This is a symptom of inadequate light.

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