‘Deep Purple’


Full nameTradescantia zebrina ‘Deep Purple’.
Name statusAccepted, the valid name for a unique cultivar.

Listed online by Steve’s Leaves (2021). No hardcopy publication has been found, so the name is accepted and will be established once published (Brickell et al., 2016, Art. 27.1).
ClassificationThe species Tradescantia zebrina is sometimes labelled with its botanical synonyms Tradescantia pendula, Tradescantia argentea, Zebrina pendula and Cyanotis zebrina.
Legal protectionNone.
AvailabilityOnly known from Steve’s Leaves (2021), but circulates among collectors elsewhere.


Preserved in a herbarium specimen (“Tradescantia zebrina ‘Deep Purple'”, 2022).

Described with reference to the RHS Colour Chart (6th Edition: 2019 reprint).

The entire plant can vary its appearance dramatically in different conditions – changing in growth habit, leaf shape, size, and colour. It’s impossible to cover every possible variation, but this general summary describes a typical healthy plant.

SpeciesTradescantia zebrina.
Growth habitStems initially grow upright but soon start to sprawl and trail out of any container.
FoliageStems are 3-5mm wide with internodes 2-6cm long. The colour ranges from greyish purple (N77A) on upper parts to strong yellow green (144B) on the undersides of lower stems. All the stems are dotted with lighter green freckles and completely hairless.

Leaves are strongly asymmetrical pointed ovals, 7-10cm long and 3-5cm wide, smooth except for a few hairs at the top of the sheath. Each half of the leaf has a stripe running its length, taking up about 30-50% of its total width.

On newly-matured leaves the base colour of the upper surface is dark purplish grey (N186A). The stripes are light grey (191C). In intense light, the stripes become streaked or completely covered with dark purple (79A).

On old leaves the base colour fades to dark greyish green (N189A), and the purple streaks over the stripes fade away so they become uniform light grey (191C).

Leaf undersides are dark purplish red (N79A). Sheaths are moderate yellow green (138C).
FlowersTypical for the species. The petals are solid brilliant purple (N81C). The stamen filaments are purple, with white anthers.
ComparisonsCompared to Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy’, the foliage is almost identical, but ‘Deep Purple’ flowers have purple filaments whereas ‘Burgundy’ flowers have white filaments.


Brickell, C. D., Alexander, C., Cubey, J. J., David, J. C., Hoffman, M. H. A., Leslie, A. C., Malécot, V., Jin, X. (2016). International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants. PDF link.

Steve’s Leaves. (2021). Tradescantia zebrina “deep purple”. Internet Archive link.

Tradescantia zebrina ‘Deep Purple’. (2022). [Herbarium specimen, barcode WSY0168483]. RHS Wisley Herbarium.