Zebrina pendula - Inch Plant
Commelinaceae

Zebrina pendula

Zebrina pendula, or Inch Plant, is a decumbent, somewhat fleshy perennial native to Mexico. The small ovate, 2 inch (5 cm) leaves are dark green with 2 broad bands of silver and underneath, a vivid purple color. We grow a lot of this plant for Introductory Botany. The leaves, if wilted for 48 hours, are great for leaf peels for microscopic examination of epidermal cells and stomates. They are used in far southern US as a ground cover and for hanging basket plants elsewhere.

Blooming Small approximately ½ inch across rosy purple flowers may occur at any time of the year.

Culture: Zebrina pendula do best in partial shade to full shade with a rich, moist soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of equal parts of peat, loam, and sand or perlite. The plants are kept moist for optimal growth and fertilized monthly all year long. We grow ours under 52% shade and they have a very rich color. Given more light the color seems to fade and the variegation is lost. They are very vigorous growers and should be cut back at least twice a year.

Propagation: Zebrina pendula is easily propagated by cuttings at any time of the year.

Zebrina pendula was featured as Plant of the Week October 22-28, 2004.

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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.