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6 Tradescantia Varieties to Decorate Your Home

6 Tradescantia Varieties to Decorate Your Home

By Justin Hancock, Costa Farms Horticulturist
Photographs courtesy of Costa Farms

The Tradescantia family offers a diverse selection of delightful and easy-care plants you can enjoy indoors and out. Here are some of our favorite varieties, from tried-and-true to those that may be new to you.

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Tradescantia zebrina

This selection is a classic, enjoyed by generations of plant parents. It features silvery leaves accented with burgundy stripes. Like many Tradescantias, it has a trailing habit, and is an excellent choice for hanging baskets. It can tolerate low light, but looks best (both in terms of color and a full habit) in medium to bright light. 

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Tradescantia 'Nanouk'

A variety so special the breeder patented it, Nanouk features large (for a Tradescantia) leaves that bear green, cream, and pink stripes. It can get leggy, especially if it doesn’t enjoy a spot with bright, indirect light, but it’s easy to trim back if it gets too long or ungainly.

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Tradescantia pallida

A wonderfully diverse plant, Tradescantia pallida shows off dark purple foliage that looks good indoors or out! As a houseplant, enjoy its trailing habit in a basket or tabletop in a bright spot. Outdoors, use it like an annual groundcover or spiller plant in container gardens. Either way, its bold color is the perfect accent to practically any other plant.

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Cyanotis somaliensis

If regular Tradescantia varieties require too much water for your care routines, take a look at this cousin. Native to Africa, it tolerates getting dry better than most of its kinfolk. It features rich green leaves that have soft, fuzzy hairs that make it as fun to touch as it is to look at. Give it bright light for best results.

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Cyanotis kewensis

How could you not love a plant commonly called teddy bear vine? This easy-care houseplant shows off dark green leaves that are covered in soft, reddish-brown hairs, giving it a distinctive look (and feel!). Enjoy this slow grower in bright light.

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Rhoeo spathacea ‘Tricolor’

This trendy variety is a stunner that offers soft green leaves accented with cream and green stripes (like Nanouk). Where it differs is it has an upright, clumping habit, so it creates a stunning contrast to trailing varieties. Give it a spot with bright light for best color.

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