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Care of Zebrina Plant

By April Sanders ; Updated September 21, 2017

Zebrina plants (Tradescantia zebrina) are spreading perennials with succulent stems. Desirable for their hardiness, interesting foliage and trailing nature, zebrinas are native to parts of Mexico, according to information published by Fine Gardening. In fact, it is their trailing and creeping nature that gives the plant the common nickname of "wandering Jew." Zebrina plants are commonly grown as a ground cover plant, or indoors as a houseplant where the leaves can dangle attractively over the rim of the container.

Place or plant your zebrina where it will receive some light, but not direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves or fade their variegation. The plant prefers bright or dappled shade, according to information published by Floridata.

Keep the soil moist. The wandering Jew thrives in cool, moist conditions and will spread happily through mulch. Do not plant it where standing water collects, however, as this will rot the roots of the plant. The soil should be well-draining.

Feed your zebrina once a month during the growing season (early spring through early fall) with a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer. Use only half the dose recommended on the label, especially if your plant is in a container, as minerals and salts can build up in the soil.

Mist indoor plants occasionally with lukewarm water. This will rinse any dust off the leaves and also give it a dose of much-needed humidity. Watch for insect pests as well. If you see signs of insect activity, rinse them off with an insecticidal soap.


Things You Will Need

  • Watering tool
  • Mulch
  • Balanced (10-10-10), water-soluble fertilizer
  • Spray bottle
  • Insecticidal soap


  • Zebrina plants will only grow in-ground outdoors in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness zones 9 through 11, according to information published by Desert Tropicals. These tropical beauties cannot tolerate freezing conditions.


  • The sap of the plant can cause skin irritation.