Plant Care of Outdoor Zebrina


Zebrina (Tradescantia zebrina), also called the inch plant, creeping Jenny or cockroach grass, is a creeping, trailing succulent that's native to Mexico. Zebrina plants grow and spread to form a dense groundcover. Zebrina plants have elliptical to oval, pointed, 3-inch-long leaves with deep violet undersides and upper surfaces that are striped in dark burgundy and pale turquoise-silver. The upper leaf surfaces also have alternating stripes of hairy textures and silky sheen. Zebrinas can grow outdoors in USDA hardiness Zones 8 through 11, where the climate is warm and temperate to tropical, and winter temperatures rarely get as cold as 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 1

Plant your zebrinas in bright, indirect sunlight to partial shade. Select a location that has moist soil and is away from direct, full sunlight.

Step 2

Water your zebrina plants three or four times per week to soak the soil around the roots. Water the plants in the absence of rainfall or when temperatures are hot during spring and summer, to keep the soil evenly and moderately moistened at all times.

Step 3

Clean up the zebrina plants by cutting any stems that begin to look "leggy" or tangled back to the ground level. Do your clean-up pruning in late winter or early spring, but keep in mind that the zebrina won't grow new shoots after pruning.

Step 4

Feed your outdoor zebrina plant once each month from February or March through October with a general plant fertilizer, preferably one made for foliage plants. Follow the dosage instructions on the label.

Step 5

Protect your zebrina plants in winter when you expect temperatures to drop below 20 to 25 degrees. Spread a 4- to 6-inch-thick layer of mulch around the plants to insulate the roots and prevent them from freezing. Keep the soil damp during these colder nighttime temperatures.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wear gloves and use caution when you're pruning or cutting the zebrina's stems, because the plant contains a sap that can cause skin irritation.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Pruning shears
  • General plant fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Gloves


  • FloriData: Tradescantia zebrina
  • Tradescantia Zebrina

Who Can Help

  • Denver Plants: Zebrina Wandering Jew
Keywords: outdoor zebrina care, grow Tradescantia zebrina, wandering Jew plant

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.