Posts Tagged ‘Zebra Plant’

Tradescantia zebrina

Common name: Inchplant, Wandering Jew, Inch Plant, Cockroach Grass, Purple Wandering Jew, Silver Inch Plant, Silvery Inch Plant, Striped Trad, Striped Wandering Creeper, Striped Wandering Jew, Wandering Zebrina, Zebra Plant, Zebrina

Family: Commelinaceae

Synonymous: Commelina zebrina
Cyanotis zebrina
Tradescantia pendula
Zebrina pendula
Zebrina pendula var. quadrifolia

Tradescantia zebrina

Tradescantia zebrina

Distribution and habitat: Tradescantia zebrina is native to the Gulf Coast region of eastern Mexico. It is a weed of waste areas, disturbed sites, roadsides, urban bushland, riparian vegetation, open woodlands and forests in sub-tropical and warmer temperate regions.
Tradescantia zebrina was widely naturalized in the coastal districts of eastern Australia and on several Pacific islands. It is reported as invasive in many areas in the Pacific, spreading across shady or damp areas.

Description: Tradescantia zebrina are trailing plants that have oval leaves roughly 5cm (2 inch) long, with an iridescent upper surface and a rich purple underside. Two glistering stripes of silvery green surrounding a medium green central portion run the length of the upper surface of its pointed-oval leaves
They produce clusters of small, three petaled flowers in spring and summer. They are purple-pink coloured.

Proper care: Tradescantia zebrina is noted for its ease of culture and tolerance for wide range of growing conditions. It is quick growing and a very decorative, particularly in hanging baskets where its brilliant leaf colouring can be fully appreciated.
Pinch out growing points of lengthy shoots regularly to encourage the production of side branches. Remove all poorly coloured stems in early spring.

Light: Give Tradescantia zebrina plants bright light at all times for close growth and brilliant leaf colour. Plants can normally be grown at a short distance from a sunny window without too much loss of colour, but growth will probably become straggly and colours will tend to fade as this distance lengthens.
Tradescantia zebrina plants can be taken outside in summer. Keep them out of the direct sun light.

Temperature: Tradescantia zebrina likes warmth but they can tolerate temperatures down to 12°C (54°F). In cool conditions they grow very slowly.
Tradescantia zebrina tolerates dry air very well.

Watering: Water actively growing plants moderately, allowing the top couple of centimetres  (1 inch) of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. When plants are resting, give them just enough water to make the mixture barely moist throughout and allow the top half to dry out between waterings. Tradescantia zebrina that have been grown slightly on the dry side show the best colour.

Feeding: Give actively growing plants standard liquid fertiliser about once every two weeks.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move Tradescantia zebrina into pots one size larger when their roots fill the pot. Plant several rooted cuttings together to create a bushy effect – as many as 12 to 15 in a single hanging basket.

Gardening: Tradescantia zebrina is a succulent-stemmed plant that creeps and sprawls and trails all over itself to make a dense groundcover. Pinch stems as needed to encourage dense foliage growth.
Individual leaves will burn and stems will die back, at around 0°C (32°F), but the plant can regrow as long as it do not get colder than minus 7°C (20°F).

Position: Tradescantia zebrina tolerates a wide range of light levels, but prefers bright shade or semi-shade. Place Tradescantia zebrina plants somewhere light, for otherwise it may lose its beautiful colours and turn green. Make certain it does not catch the full light of the midday sun, but it will love standing within some of the soft beams of morning sunshine.
Groundcover plantings can be established effortlessly, then ripped out and moved with ease when the landscape plan changes.

Soil: Tradescantia zebrina prefers rich organic soil and thrives on mulch.
When Tradescantia zebrina is grown as a groundcover, new branches cover the bare stems and fill in the planting space.

Irrigation: Tradescantia zebrina plants like a consistently moist but well-drained soil during the growing season, with reduced watering from fall to late winter.
Water Tradescantia zebrina modestly. It does not like to get too wet. Allow the soil to dry out a little before watering again.

Fertilising: Feed Tradescantia zebrina once a fortnight with diluted fertiliser during the growing season. Do not fertiliser these plants in autumn and winter.

Propagation: Because older leaves dry up leaving bare stems, it is advisable to produce new plants quite frequently. Tip cutting of Tradescantia zebrina, about 8cm (3 inch) long taken in spring or early summer will root easily in an equal-parts rooting mixture of peat moss and sand.
Keep the cuttings in bright filtered light, giving just enough water to make the mixture barely moist, and roots will develop in three or four weeks; plant four to six rooted cuttings together in an 8cm (3 inch) pot of standard potting mixture and treat them as mature plants.
Alternatively, root tip cuttings in water. Place the cuttings in small – preferable opaque – glasses of water and keep them in bright filtered light. They will develop roots 2-5cm (0.8-2 inch) long in two to three weeks and they can then be moved into standard potting mixture and treat them as mature plants.

Problems: Tradescantia zebrina has no serious insect or disease problems.

Root rot and stem rot may occur if soils are kept too moist.

Watch for aphids, mealybugs, scale, whiteflies and spider mites.
Treatment: Use a suitable pesticide to prevent these infestations.

Spindly growth and bare stems: This happens naturally with age for this plant but lack of light, water or plant food can also cause spindly growth. If the plant is old and conditions are fine (water, light etc.) then it could be time to replace it.

All green leaves: Variegated leaves turning green and losing their variegation is most likely due to too much light.

Limp stems is usually a sign that the plant is lacking water.

Toxicity: Contact with Tradescantia zebrina plant sap may cause skin irritations.

Recommended varieties: Tradescantia zebrina is the parent of a number of varieties:

Tradescantia zebrina quadricolor has irregular pink, green, cream and silver stripes on the leaves. It is the most attractive plant of this genus, although it is more difficult to grow.

Uses and display: Tradescantia zebrina is a very popular trailing plant, commonly grown in hanging baskets or pots as a houseplant. Trailing stems cascade down from a hanging basket. Where winter hardy, it is commonly grown as a groundcover that roots at the nodes as stems spread along the ground.
A few pieces poked into the soil amongst container plants in the greenhouse will quickly flow into a colorful winter carpet.
And it can be used to make a gorgeous flower arrangement out of practically anything by sticking a couple of  Tradescantia zebrina sprigs in with it.
Tradescantia zebrina are suitable for mixed plantings in bowls or for training up fan shaped trellises.


Foliage – coloured
Features – flowers
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height: 90-120cm (36-48 inch)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 24°C (50-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 21°C max 24°C (70-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Tradescantia zebrina flowersTradescantia zebrina Tradescantia zebrina Tradescantia zebrina Tradescantia zebrina Tradescantia zebrina quadricolor

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Aphelandra squarrosa

Common name: Zebra Plant, Saffron Spike

Family: Acanthaceae

Synonymous: Aphelandra chrysops
Aphelandra coccinea
Aphelandra leopoldii
Aphelandra oostachya

Aphelandra squarrosa

Aphelandra squarrosa

Distribution and habitat: Aphelandra squarrosa is a compact evergreen shrub growing to 2m (6 feet) tall in its native tropical habitat in Brazil. In the wild, it thrives in the high humidity and frequent downpours of the rain forest.

Description: Aphelandra squarrosa plants have glossy green leaves with bold white leaf veins. The dramatic leaves are ovate to elliptic growing up to 23cm (9 inch) long and 5cm (2 inch) wide within the center of the leaf and they have pointed tips.
The plume of bright yellow flowers from yellow or orange yellow flower laden bracts up to 4cm (1.5 inch) long are an added attraction. The spikes appear at the top of the plant and sometimes there are additional spikes between the upper leaves. The small yellow flowers with attractive scent last for only a few days, but the cone-shaped spike of bracts remains attractive for 4 to 8 weeks.
Potted plants usually grow to no more than 30-45cm (12-18 inch) tall on a stout stems and are best kept in pots no larger than 15cm (6 inch) in diameter.
If properly cared for, the Zebra plant can grow as tall as 2m (6 feet) outdoors or a little over 30cm (1 foot) if kept indoors.

Houseplant care: Unfortunately, Aphelandra squarrosa are not easy plants to bring into bloom. They are usually purchased when in flower and will flower again only under the right conditions of light, temperature and humidity.
Keep the plant in a cool room for about 2 months during the winter rest. As light becomes more abundant in late spring, move plant to a bright place near a south or west window, but not in direct sunlight. Or, shift it to a shady porch or patio. When exposed to bright light for 3 months, Aphelandra squarrosa will usually rebloom in the fall, its natural bloom season. Light intensity rather than day length triggers flowering. This plant may not bloom when kept in low light, but it will earn its place with its exotic foliage. It will often bloom a second time during the year when given enough light. Aphelandra squarrosa plants are typically known to flower in the fall, but with care and attention, it can develop its distinctive yellow blooms at any time of the year.

Cut off the bracts after they deteriorate and wipe leaves often with a damp cloth to keep them glow.

Light: Aphelandra squarrosa plants need bright light, but not direct sunlight. In spring and summer place the plant in bright light. In fall and winter give them moderate light.

Temperature: Aphelandra squarrosa love warm temperatures: 18-27°C (64- 81°F). During the active growth period provide for Aphelandra squarrosa plants high humidity along with temperatures of at least 18°C (64°F). Pots should be kept on trays of moistened pebbles. Immediately after flowering, give the plants a short winter rest in a relatively cool position, but not below 12°C (54°F).

Water: Keep the potting mixture constantly moist. Do not let this plant dry out. During the active growth period water plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist. During the short winter rest period make the entire mixture barely moist, allowing the top half to dry out between waterings; this should be just enough water to keep the leaves from drooping.
Maintain moderate to high humidity. use lukewarm water to keep soil temperature elevated. Mist frequently during growing season.

Feeding: Aphelandra squarrosa must be given standard liquid fertiliser every week during the active growth period.
Leach pots once during the summer.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture incorporating peat moss or leaf mould. These plants can be moved into pots one size larger as necessary. Keep plants slightly rootbound. Most varieties will flower in 13-15cm (5-6 inch) pots. A plant that has flowered should be cut back to a single pair of healthy leaves every spring before being repotted in fresh potting mixture. This will promote flowering. As much of the old potting mixture should be removed from the roots as can be done without harming them. This treatment often results in the production of two or three main shoots per plant instead of only one.

Longevity: Aphelandra squarrosa will live in home conditions for one to several years or indefinitely if propagated from rooted cuttings.

Gardening: Like many true jungle plants, however, the Aphelandra squarrosa plant poses a challenge to indoor growers in temperate areas. It requires lots of moisture, warmth and food to really thrive. Nevertheless, even a short-lived specimen is an interesting plant and can be expected to last for several months before it succumbs.

Location: Place Aphelandra squarrosa plants in a location that provides filtered light and protection from the hot afternoon sun. Plant these plants outdoors under trees that provide light filtering with leaf cover.

Soil: Aphelandra squarrosa plants like rich soil that retains water, but drains well. Plant Aphelandra squarrosa plants outdoors in a hole that is twice the size of the plant’s root ball and the same depth as the container the plant is presently in. Add compost to the hole to increase moisture retention. Remove the plant from the container and separate the roots. Place the plant in the hole and fill with soil by lightly packing it around the plant.

Irrigation: Water Aphelandra squarrosa plants regularly so the soil is moist, but not wet. Water generously when the top 2 inches of soil become dry. Check the plant regularly as environmental factors affect soil dryness. Mulch outdoor plants to maintain soil moisture.
Plants should be watered a minimum of once a week when there is less than 2.5cm (1 inch) of rainfall per week.

Fertilise: Fertilise Aphelandra squarrosa plants every two weeks with a water soluble fertilizer that is quick release. Provide a winter rest period by not fertilising during the winter months as this will initiate new bloom growth.

Propagation: Propagate – preferably in late spring – by means of tip cuttings 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long. Plant them in potting mixture recommended for mature  Aphelandra squarrosa, moiten it well, enclose the whole in a plastic bag and keep it in a warm, humid place in bright light filtered through a translucent blind or curtain. No further watering is necessary. Cuttings should start to root in six to eight weeks.

Problems: Though it prefers humidity, the Aphelandra squarrosa plant can die if it gets too much water, as well; misting with a light application of water every day is appropriate for its needs. Cold environments will kill it, as it grows best in temperatures that fall in a fairly narrow range: 18 to 21°C (65-70°F).

Leaves become crinkled or curled. This can be caused by too much light.
Treatment: Move plant to a shadier location.

Growing tips wilt because the potting mixture is too dry.
Treatment: Aphelandra squarrosa requires constant moisture which can be a challenge in summer when the plant is kept in bright light. Rehydrate pots that may have dried out in the center. This often happens with rootbound plants grown in a peaty potting mix.

Lowest leaves wilt and drop off is caused by too dry, too wet or excessive fertiliser.
Treatment: Maintain constant moisture and reduce strength of fertiliser solution. Leach pots to remove possible accumulated salts.

Small yellow spots on leaves; tiny flying insects are present. This is caused by infestation with whitefly.
Treatment: Isolate plant and install sticky traps. Remove and destroy badly infested plat growth. Keep plants clean at all times and use an adequate pesticide regularly.

Plant is weak; grows slowly; small flying insects present. This is infestation with fungus gnats.
Treatment: The moist, peaty soil Aphelandra squarrosa prefers is attractive to this irritating pest. Keep soil slightly dry for several days, then trap larvae with potato pieces placed on the potting mixture.

White cottony masses on stems are caused by mealybugs.
Treatment: Remove mealybugs with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol or vegetable oil. Use an adequate pesticide.

Small sucking insects on leaf undersides and new leaves are caused by aphids.
Treatment: Clean plant thoroughly with water, then spray with insecticidal soap.

Recommended varieties:
Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Louisae’ is a compact form with leaves 20-30cm long and with broad yellow or orange-yellow flower bracts.

Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Brockfeld’ is compact with dark green leaves.

Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Dania’ has silvery leaf margins. It is the most difficult Aphelandra squarrosa plant to bring into bloom.

Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Fritz Prinsler’ has sharp leaf colour contrast.

Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Red Apollo’ features stems and leaf undersides blushed with red.

Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Apollo’ is another cultivar with white dramatic venation.

Uses and display: Aphelandra squarrosa are used for foliage display as well as for their showy spikes. This plant thrives best in a highly humid environment, making it ideal for bright bathrooms and greenhouses. Outdoor gardens in humid climates are also highly conducive for the Aphelandra squarrosa plant. Display in a prominent place in fall when the plant is in bloom.

Also, Aphelandra squarrosa are good plants for terrariums.


Foliage – variegated
Features – flowers
Shape – bushy
High: 1.2-1.8m (4-6 feet)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 13°C max 18°C (55-64°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 27°C (64-81°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Aphelandra squarrosa LouisaeAphelandra squarrosa BrockfeldAphelandra squarrosa DaniaAphelandra squarrosa Red ApolloAphelandra squarrosa Aphelandra squarrosa

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Calathea warscewiczii

Synonym: Maranta warscewiczii, Phrynium warscewiczii
Family: Marantaceae

Common name: Prayer Plant, Calathea, Calathea Plant

Calathea Warscewiczii

Calathea Warscewiczii

Description: Calathea warscewiczii  is a tropical and tender evergreen perennial herbaceous plant native to Costa Rica and Nicaragua and produces lanceoate leaves that have a dark green background and an attractive fishtail pattern on the upperside of the leaves. The wonderful coloured leaves of Calathea warscewiczii are completed by a  velvet-fuzzy texture, an attribute of this particular species.  Calathea warscewiczii can grow up to 0.5 to 1 metres (20-40 inch) high, 0.5 to 1 metres (20-40 inch) wide. The leaves have a contrasting maroon-purple coloured on the reverse of each leaf .
Besides its attractive leaves, Calathea warscewiczii also produces showy cone-like inflorescences. The bracts that cover the cone are creamy white in colour when they first emerge and they gradually turn to yellow and take on a pinkish hue with time. They are spirally arranged around the cone and the rims of these bracts fold over the edge, which make the entire cone looks somewhat like a rose flower when viewed from the top!

Care: Calathea warscewiczii needs to be grown in an area with bright, filtered sunshine. Like most other sensitive calatheas, direct sunlight can burn the leaves of this plant. This plant likes to be grown in an area with high humidity and protected from winds.

Light: Place the Calathea warscewiczii plants in an area of the home or garden that remains bright during the day, but receives very little direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can bleach the color out of the leaves, and can even curl or burn the leaves. Calathea warscewiczii should be kept in partial shade especially during the hotter months of the year. During the cooler winter months, the Calathea warscewiczii should be moved to a brighter area to provides a fair amount of sunlight, but still should not be exposed in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will not only dull the vibrant colors of the plant, it can scorch the leaves and ultimately kill the plant.

Temperature: The Calathea warscewiczii prefers average to warm air temperatures: 18-27°C (65-80°F) year-round. During the cold months, the Calathea warscewiczii should be kept at temperatures of 16°C (60°F) and above. Sudden drops in the air temperature can damage the foliage.

Water: Water Calathea warscewiczii depending on the season. During the growing season and during warm or hot temperatures, keep the soil moist but not soaking. In the winter and during cold temperatures, allow the soil to become slightly dry before watering again. Place Calathea warscewiczii’s pot in a pebble tray filled with water. This will help keep the humidity high near the plant.  Keep well watered in summer; Calathea warscewiczii love high humidity mist. The soil should be kept moist at all times but should not be water-logged.

Water Calathea warscewiczii with distilled or bottled water. Hard water and contaminants sometimes found in tap water can damage the plant’s roots. Soft, tepid water is best for watering the Calathea warscewiczii.

Leaves that become curled, spotted, or appear to have yellowed are signs that the Calathea warscewiczii is not receiving enough water.

Humidity: The Calathea warscewiczii is a humid-loving plant and should be misted regularly. The soil can be surrounded with damp peat to help provide and retain humidity levels. For rooms that have low levels of humidity, a humidifier can help maintain humidity levels that this plant needs. The ideal temperature for a Calathea warscewiczii is between 18-27°C (65-80°F) with a humidity level above 70 percent. Try to maintain at least 50% relative humidity year-round.

Browning of the foliage tips or loss of leaves can be a sign that the plant is not getting the humidity that it requires.

Wintering: Keep warm minimum of 16°C (60°F). During the winter months (non-growing season), reduce the amount of water provided as too much water in the cooler weather may lead to rotting stems.

Display Calathea warscewiczii in light shade during summer. Brighter in winter but keep out of direct sun, this will dull the colour of the leaves, and could be fatal!

Soil: Peat-rich potting mix. Loam with high organic matter.

It is best to grow Calathea warscewiczii in well-drained mix that is rich in organic matter. The fibrous roots need to be in contact with moist soil at all times and it should not be allowed to dry out completely. Mulch generously to help keep the roots moist and cool. Waterlogged conditions should also be avoided as roots can rot away.
When the plant is grown in an area that is too hot, dry or windy, its leaves will curl up into a roll and leaf edges will likely to turn brown as well. Unhappy plants tend to exhibit stunted growth. It is a challenging plant to grow in highrise apartments due to the dry and often windy conditions.

Fertilizer: Feed Calathea warscewiczii with a liquid fertilizer diluted by half every 2 weeks spring through fall or feed with a very weak solution when watering the plant. Use only water-soluble fertilizers and follow product instructions regarding the amount of fertilizer to use, as this will vary depending on the size of the plant. Do not use fertilizer at full strength or fertilize the plant too often. Overfertilizing can cause leaf spots.

Pruning tip: Calathea warscewiczii will benefit from occasional pruning, which helps to give it a nice shape and promote new growth. Fall is the best time to cut it back. Use sharp pruners to cut away some of the older leaves.

Re-potting: The Calathea warscewiczii should be re-potted every two years, preferably in the spring. A peat-based potting mix will help the plant retain moisture and humidity. Propagation can be done when the plant is being repotted.

Do not repot too often and use a peat based compost.

Propagation: By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets).

In spring, take 10 cm (4-inch) stem cuttings with 3-4 leaves attached. Root them in moist potting mix. When the plant gets too big, it can easily divide it in half by pulling apart its shallow roots. Propagated plants should be kept warm until they have been established.

Uses: Common as houseplants the Calathea warscewiczii are a stunning plants. With bold leaf markings as well as the bonus of the purple underside they are a great choice for a shady room. In warm climate condition Calathea warscewiczii is a beautiful plant for shady areas in a tropical themed garden.

Problems: Watch for spider mites. Dry indoor air in the winter months encourages these pests to invade house plants, another reason to keep the humidity up. A webbing will be noticed between stems and on the undersides of leaves.


Hardiness Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)
Climate Zones: humid subtropical to humid tropical
Sun Exposure: Partial to Full Shade
Tropicals and Tender Perennials
Size: 0.5 to 1 metres  (20-40 inch) high, 0.5 to 1 metres  (20-40 inch) wide
Bloom Color: Pale Pink
Bloom Time: Blooms repeatedly
Foliage: Grown for foliage, Evergreen, Mid green and light green, Velvet/Fuzzy-Textured
Flower colour: White
Propagation Methods: By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs
Maintenance: Low

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