How to Propagate, Grow Matalí (zebrina) Care and Benefits

Matalí (Tradescantia Zebrina) is a popular perennial for its impressive green color, the purple and silver stripes on its leaves, and its rapid vine growth. In this article we will see how to propagate, cultivate Matalí and its care, we will also see some of its most important advantages.

cultivate Matali


quick summary

  • Plant type: perennial herb
  • Family: tradescantia
  • Sun exposure: partial sun
  • Irrigation: Average, average. Moist but well-drained soil
  • Colors: Green, Purple
  • Cut: 15-30 cm high, 30-60 cm wide
  • Soil type: Franck, Arena.
  • Soil pH: neutral to acid

In their natural habitat, the tiny pinkish-purple flowers bloom in small clusters throughout the year. But only when grown in its native habitat.

Matalí rarely flowers when grown indoors. But its bold purple and green leaves create enough visual interest on their own. Let’s see how to propagate, grow matali and its health benefits.

How to Propagate Matali

spread the killi

Matalí is a very easy plant to grow from cuttings (stems).

Always cut cuttings with a sharp, sterilized knife or scissors. Cuttings should measure between 7.6 and 10 cm.

To start, find a vine that looks healthy and cuts just below the leaf node. Keep in mind that you can take multiple cuttings from a long vine. Take 10-12 cuttings to ensure at least some good roots.

Place the cuttings in a wide jar and add fresh water almost to the top. Be sure to remove lower leaves from cuttings that will end up underwater.

Only the knots should be submerged. This will prevent the leaves from rotting below the surface of the water. Place the cuttings in a bright, sunny location.

In about a week you should start to see small roots forming below the surface of the water. The roots will come out of the nodes.

Be sure to refill the jar with more water when the level drops and replace the jar with fresh water if needed.

After about two weeks of root growth, you should be ready to transplant your matali cuttings into the ground.

You can also plant the cuttings directly in the ground. If you opt for soil propagation, be sure to water frequently to keep the nodes moist as they work to develop a root system.

Once the cuttings have taken root, you can transplant them into a container and fill it with potting soil.

Place your newly planted cuttings in a location that receives medium to bright light, with indoor temperatures between 13 and 24 degrees Celsius.

Cultivate Matali

grow matali

water and soil

They like short breaks between waterings. Let the soil dry out to 50% of the top before watering. Then water until the liquid runs out of the drainage hole and collects at the bottom of the pot. Discard any water that has accumulated in the saucer.

Be careful not to overwater your matali plant. Too much water can cause root rot, a common problem with this variety.

If the soil is soggy, it means it has been overwatered and watering should be reduced. Remove excess water from the pot and allow the soil to dry out a bit before watering again.


It is a moisture-loving plant. The bathroom or kitchen is a good option for growing Matali, as it does best in a slightly more humid environment.

Do not hesitate to mist your plant frequently. If the humidity is too low, the leaves will begin to turn brown.


You can fertilize your matali once a month during its peak growth periods, which are the spring and summer seasons.

To do this, choose a liquid fertilizer and dilute it with water, following the instructions on the package. There is no need to pay during the colder months, as the plant is naturally in a dormant phase during these times.


Matalí plants like bright, indirect light. The more natural light it can receive, the more vibrant the purple color of its beautiful leaves will be.

However, be careful not to place your plant in direct sunlight. This species cannot thrive in full sun.


The rapid growth rate of this species can also cause legs to appear. To solve this problem, pinch the stems.

The plant will respond by developing two new stems. Pinching long vines encourages branching and increases plant fullness.

Matali looks best when full and bushy, but certain growing conditions can make the plant “legless”

These include poor lighting, insufficient watering and low humidity. If any of these conditions exist, it is best to address the root cause.

take care of matali

cultivate matalí care


Matali are not prone to pests, but they can occasionally catch spider mites (tiny arachnids that lay their eggs on leaves and feed on plant tissue). To prevent the appearance of these mites, maintain a high humidity level (mites like it to be dry).

If you find mites on your plant, try rinsing your rug under running water to get rid of them.

If that doesn’t work, try a soapy water solution. Mix 5 tablespoons of dish soap with 4 cups of water in a bottle and spray the solution on the plants.

wilted leaves

It can be alarming to notice the striking purple and silver stripes on your matali beginning to fade, but this is likely due to a lack of light.

Find a sunnier spot, like a windowsill that doesn’t get direct light or a bright shelf.

yellow leaves

The fall of the yellow leaves is probably due to overwatering. The matali does not need a lot of water to survive. To avoid this condition, water your plant only when the top 50% of the soil is dry.

curly leaves

The matali likes bright light, but does not tolerate direct sunlight. Direct sun will cause the leaves to curl around the edges. In this case, the solution is not to move the plant to a dark area. Move your plant to another bright area where direct sun doesn’t hit the plant.

Properties and advantages

benefits of matali

Warning: Skin irritation may result from repeated contact or prolonged handling of the plant, especially the clear, watery sap. When handling it, use gloves to protect yourself.

Studies have suggested antineoplastic, antiarrhythmic, antibacterial, antioxidant and acetylcholinesterase inhibitor properties. Parts used: Leaves and stems.

Common uses

In Mexico, Matali, a drink made from lemon and a sweet decoction of the leaves, is used as a cold tonic drink.

In Jamaica it is used for the treatment of high blood pressure, coughs and as a cold remedy.

In China the leaves are applied to reduce swelling. It is also used for hemorrhoids, blood in the stool, tuberculous cough, conjunctivitis and kidney infections.

In Cuba a leaf decoction is drunk to clean kidney stones and bladder stones, relieve symptoms of colitis and induce menstruation.

In Guyana the leaves are used in herbal tea to purify the blood and treat influenza.

It may also be interesting to read: How to propagate, grow Cretonne (coleus) and its care.

Elsewhere, it is used to treat colds, high blood pressure, uterine disorders and relieve diarrhea.

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