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

Established with a description by Graf (1959, p. 435, 1073).

Also known as:
Not to be confused with:
ClassificationThe species Tradescantia zebrina is sometimes labelled with its botanical synonyms Tradescantia pendula, Tradescantia argentea, Zebrina pendula and Cyanotis zebrina.
Legal protectionNone.
AvailabilityAvailable from many nurseries.


Preserved as a herbarium specimen (“Tradescantia zebrina ‘Discolor'”, 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 – usually longest at the base and becoming more compact towards the ends of growing stems. The colour ranges from moderate reddish brown (177A) near the base to strong yellow green (145A) near the top. All stems are dotted with lighter green freckles and completely hairless.

Leaves are very slightly asymmetrical pointed ovals, 6-9cm long and 2-4cm 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 20-30% of its total width.

On newly-matured leaves, the base colour of the upper surface is moderate olive green (137B). The stripes are light grey (191C) with a metallic sheen. The centre and edges of the leaf are speckled and blotched with greyish purple (N77A) or dark red (59A), which becomes stronger in brighter light.

In moderate light, the older leaves do not change colour. But in intense light, they darken dramatically through shades of dark greyish yellowish brown (N200A), moderate olive brown (N199A), and dark greyish red (N186C).

Leaf undersides are dark purplish red (N79A) to greyish purplish red (N77B). Leaf sheaths are strong yellow green (145A).
FlowersIt rarely flowers, but they are light purple and typical for the species.
ComparisonsCompared to Tradescantia zebrina ‘Flame Dance’, the foliage is almost identical, except that on ‘Flame Dance’ the silver stripes are broken up into scattered streaks and sometimes disappear.


Graf, A. B. (1959). Exotica 2: Pictorial Cyclopedia of Indoor Plants. Roehrs Company.

Tradescantia zebrina ‘Discolor’. (2022). [Herbarium specimen, barcode WSY0168498]. RHS Wisley Herbarium.