You might know this beauty as inch plant. But you may also be surprised there are more varieties and interesting relatives of this easy-care plant. Take a look!
Inch Plant also known as Zebra Plant
Inch plant is one of the old standbys in the houseplant world. It’s been around the block a few time and it’s still really popular. One reason is that it's so easy to grow. Another is that is so versatile: trailing stems make it ideal for hanging baskets, footed containers, and urns. It's so adaptable, you can also grow it outdoors as an annual for deck, patio, or porch decor.
(Cyanotis somaliensis, also known as Tradescantia somaliensis)
Attention feline lovers! This cute relative of the inch plant bears common names such as pussy ears and kitten ears. Fuzzy green leaves makes this an easy-care, but unusual houseplant. Try it in a hanging basket.
Tip: Native to Africa, this variety comes from regions that regularly experience drought. That means as a houseplant, it doesn't mean drying out from time to time if it has to. You can almost treat it like a succulent!
Teddy Bear Vine
(Cyanotis kewensis, also called Cyanotis beddomei)
Another furry/cuddly relative of the inch plant is the teddy bear vine. It has a trailing habit that makes it an elegant choice for a hanging basket in a well-lit spot. Growing it in bright light will help it achieve optimal growth and appearance. In good light, the soft brown hairs covering the leaves can take on a velveteen look.
(Rhoeo spathacea, also known as Tradescantia spathacea)
This plant goes by many descriptive names: oyster plant, Moses-in-a-basket, and Moses-in-a-cradle. It features beautiful variegated green leaves with purple undersides with oyster-like flowers. Grow it indoors or out in sunny spots.
Tip: For more color, look for variegated varieties. Golden oyster plant (Rhoeo spathacea Gold) shows off with strappy green leaves striped on gold and often tinged in pink. Tricolor oyster plant (Rhoeo spathacea 'Tricolor'/Tradescantia spathacea Tricolor) bears green leaves striped with cream and pink. The bottoms of the leaves are also pink, making it a showstopper when viewed at eye level or below.
(Tradescantia fluminensis 'Nanouk')
Large leaves and deep pink and green variegation make this showy tradescantia a must-have. Like other varieties of inch plant, it's easy to grow. For a daring combo, pair it with Tricolor oyster plant, which features similar coloring, but contrasting plant shape.
Tip: Nanouk can be a fast grower, especially in bright light, but it's easy to keep in check by trimming back the top inch or two of new growth. This will help keep it full and bushy.
(Tradescantia pallida, also known as Setcreasea purpurea)
You’ve no doubt seen purple heart growing as growing in the base of planters or as a groundcover in temperature spots. But it also grows indoors, offering thick purple foliage and small pink flowers. Place in a full sun location indoors and give it as much light as you can indoors for best color and habit. The more light it gets, the better its color inside!
Native to arid areas of Mexico, you can treat this selection like a low-water succulent or high-light houseplant. The soft green leaves bear lots of soft, silvery hairs (helping increase its drought tolerance in the wild and making it more resistant to nibbling by hungry deer and rabbits).
Tip: Avoid overwatering this houseplant and give it lots of bright light (natural or artificial) to keep it looking its best.
Written by Karen Weir-Jimerson