Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy’

Family: Commelinaceae

Countries: Americas, Central America, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, South America

Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy’ is a charming, naturally trailing, sprawling plant with silver and burgundy striped leaves.  Leaf colour will vary on individual plants according to the light levels and different growing conditions the plants experience.  Plants grown in areas that enjoy brighter sunlight, which are only watered when their growing media has begun to dry out will display more vibrantly coloured foliage with a more vivid purple colouring than plants grown in poorer quality sunlight.

This is a versatile houseplant that will be content growing in rooms that enjoy bright direct sunlight, bright indirect light, as well as lightly shaded and semi-shaded rooms.  If your room is shaded, opt for a green-leaved Tradescantia or grow Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy’ on a windowsill where the plant will receive the maximum amount of sunlight that the room can offer.

When it comes to watering, Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy’ plants require smaller quantities of water on fewer occasions during autumn and wintertime.  In spring and summertime, check your plant’s compost before you water – don’t water your plants if you can feel moisture in the compost.  If you’re unsure whether or not to irrigate your plants, try leaving it for a few days and then visit your Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy’ plant again and reassess the situation.  Wait until the compost is on its way to drying out, but isn’t yet completely baked or dried out, before you water your plant again.  Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy’ doesn’t want to be overwatered and these plants have no desire to sit in wet compost at any time of year, but this is especially true over the autumn and winter months when the stems are more susceptible to rot.

Tradescantia plants are very easy to propagate and Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy’ is no exception.  Tradescantia are naturally sprawling creeping plants, every leaf node that comes into contact with soil or compost has the ability to root and send out new shoots.  In the wild, Tradescantia are continually renewing themselves by rooting along their stems and producing new growth.  Younger Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy’ plant growth is generally the most vibrant and healthy.  After growing in a container for a considerable period, Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy’ foliage will cascade over the side of their planters, which looks very attractive, but while the plants are not making contact with fresh growing media and sending up new stems they will overtime lose some of their vim and vigour.  On account of this, It’s wise to regularly propagate your plants and keep a couple of spare containers of Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy’ plants at different stages of growth as reserve plants, so you’ll avoid the need to ever purchase new Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy’ plants again in future.

To keep your Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy’ plant in top quality condition, take regular cuttings; ensuring that you always reserve a spare plant for yourself and refresh your stock plants regularly.  The healthiest looking leaf growth is produced by younger plants, so do keep propagating your plants and creating a steady stream of fresh new plants in rotation.  It’s important to take cuttings regularly.  When you’re taking cuttings of Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy’ use your best quality plant material to propagate from.

When potting up Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy’ plants, for the best results use a free-draining, peat-free growing medium and ensure the container you’re using has plenty of drainage holes at the base to allow water to run over the plant’s roots and out of the pot.  Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy’ will grow in almost any peat-free compost, including: coir compost, a blend of compost that utilises spent compost or garden soil mixed with homemade compost; or instead use a soil or loam-based compost.  Whatever compost you use, double check that it is peat-free.

Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy’ are tender plants that are killed by cold temperatures.  Ensure your plants are positioned away from exterior doors and far away from any windows that are likely to be opened in wintertime.  Minimum temperature 15C (60F). Plants grow up to around 30cm (12inches) tall but are mostly trailing plants with pendant stems that cascade beautifully and are suited to growing on shelves or hanging baskets where their attractive stems and foliage can be admired.

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