The Wandering Jew plant is a fast growing vining houseplant with deep purple and green leaves with beautiful striping down the center of the leaf. This houseplant is easy to care for and grows quickly.
The Tradescantia Zebrina is commonly known as the Wandering Jew plant, or Inch Plant. This vining plant originated in Mexico where it grows as a ground cover and spreads out its long vines.
The key to the keeping the vibrant colors of the Wandering Jew plant care is sufficient lighting and an even watering schedule. With proper lighting this plant will retain the beautiful vibrant purple color.
If this plant doesn’t get enough light it will still grow but be leggy and the purple ribboning will fade.
Watering is also important, this plant likes to have moist soil. If you let this plant dry out too many times, the vines will begin to brown and shrivel at the top of the plant.
I have had my tradescantia for 2 years. This plant is extremely hardy, I’ve let it dry out completely many times and have put it in a few different lighting situations and it still prevails! This might be the hardiest and easiest plant I have come across in my plant journey.
More Easy Care Plants:
This plant does great as a hanging basket, or kept in a tall container where it can trail down to the ground. In my experience it grows extremely fast.
If you want to keep this plant full and round, pruning is a great option. Simply chop the vines where you want to create fullness. The plant will grow additional vines where it has been pruned.
The propagation for the tradescantia is incredibly simple. You can propagate this plant through soil or water propagation. My favorite way is to cut the plant just below the node, remove all but the top two leaves, and plant the cutting directly back into the pot. Keep the soil moist while the cutting roots.
The Wandering Jew plant care is fairly straightforward, with a little care and work you can have a beautiful trailing houseplant. We have attached a printable care guide for you below.
- This plant requires a light soil.
- A mix of potting soil and perlite will keep the roots happiest.
- Our mix for this plant is 80% potting soil and 20% perlite
- A heavy soil potting mix is not recommended for Tradescantias.
Pot Size and Type:
- Wandering Jew vines are quick growing plants, you will need a pot that can accomodate the growth.
- Choose a pot about 2 inches wider in diameter than the current pot.
- Any well drained pot can be used. It MUST have drainage.
- Repot every second year or when roots come out the drainage holes on the pot bottom To the next pot size up.
- Don't jump to a huge pot from a small one unless you wish to encourage faster growth. Just go to the next size up pot.
- The Tradescantia zebrina enjoys bright indirect light.
It will tolerate lower indirect light it if has some brighter moments in the day.
- The purple color will fade on this plant if it is not kept in bright indirect light.
- Some filtered sunlight from a window will be appreciated.
- Shield this plant from strong direct light in summer south and west sunny windows. The leaves will burn.
- Tip: Window sheers or blinds can offset some brief periods of high direct light.
- Water your Tradescantia when the soil is dry down an inch or so. This plant does not like to dry out too much. Try a watering schedule of every other week.
- Watering is best done on a regular schedule so the plant is not over or under watered. Both can cause stress on the plant.
- This plant enjoys humidity. In dry climates this tradescantia will thrive with a humidifier nearby. or set it in your kitchen or bathroom. For a really dry climate frequent misting will help.
- In dormant winter months reduce watering to when the soil is dry down halfway .
- Never let this plant get wet feet. If the soil is compacted the bottom of the soil can remain wet which encourages root rot and Fungus Gnats. If you see yellow leaves on your tradescantia you are probably overwatering.
How to Fertilize:
- Apply a good quality fertilizer (linked in materials) monthly through Spring and summer.
- Decrease feedings by late Fall and allow your plant to rest through the winter months.
- Look for brown spots on the leaves of your plants. This may indicate an over concentration of salts in the roots from over feeding. It can burn the leaves.
- The remedy is to set the plant under a faucet of water and let the water run through for 10 minutes or so. Allow the pot to Completely drain. Discontinue fertilizer until the plant recovers.
- Keep plant at a low of 65 Degrees F. to upward of 85 Degrees F. It enjoys warmth and humidity.
Pruning and Training:
- Pruning will give you a fuller plant with more even growth. Unpruned vines will trail and get leggy.
- Sharp Hand pruners are preferred for pruning. They will give a clean cut that will heal quickly.
- Tradescantia will naturally trail. They make good hanging baskets or they will happily trail off shelves. For even growth turn hanging pot every time you water.
Table Top Plants:
- It’s easy to prune and shape these plants to whatever length and fullness you desire.
- As a table top plant cut the trailers back evenly all around the pot. If you want the pot fuller add more starts.
- The wandering jew is not fussy and resists pests. However all plants can get attacked by pests.
- Stress by longterm poor watering practices, poor light, extreme temperatures and soil conditions are contributors to stress.
- Spider mites, mealy bugs, scale, thrips and whitefly are the most common houseplant pests you will see.
- Read our post on How to get rid of aphids and other pests with our homemade pesticide soap recipe or neems oil.
- To minimize the possibility of pests be sure to check all nursery plants before bringing them home.
- Quarantine all new plants until you are sure no pests live in them.
How to Propagate:
- Propagation is easily done through leaf node stem cuttings.
- You need a 3 to 6 inch leaf stem with a couple of nodes and healthy growth.
- Place the node into a jar with water. Use tap water that has settled 24 hours in the jar to dissipate chemicals harmful to the plant.
- Set the jar in a well lit area.
- After several weeks roots will grow. Allow the roots to get an inch or more in length.
- Plant gently and firmly into pot with proper soil mix.
- Make sure to keep the soil moist until the roots begin to set into the soil.
watch our video below for more on Tradescantia care.
Find us on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok! We love to Plant chat. We also comment, like and occasionally share your content to our daily stories. We’d love to see your plants. Share your joy in your houseplants. Happy Planting!
This plant can cause mild abdominal discomfort if ingested. It’s best to keep this plant out of reach or small children, dogs, and cats.
Air filtering Plant:
Wandering jew is a good air purifier. In particular, it is excellent at removing VOCs from the air.
Read more about the history of the Tradescantia Zebrina