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Home » How To Grow and Care for Tradescantia

How To Grow and Care for Tradescantia

by Elyssa Goins
This article was fact checked.
Helpful: 100%

Learn everything about growing and caring for Tradescantia, including different types and varieties, soil, light, water requirements, propagation, and more. Discover the detailed care instructions for Tradescantia zebrina, nanouk, pallida, fluminensis, sillamontana, spathacea, blushing bride, pink panther, and purple heart.

What is Tradescantia

Tradescantia is a genus of herbaceous perennial flowering plants, commonly known as Wandering Jew or Spiderwort. It is known for its beautiful and colorful foliage and attractive, delicate flowers. This genus is native to America but widely cultivated and naturalized in many parts of the world.

Varieties 

This plant consists of more than 70 species, and many cultivars have been developed over the years. Some of the most popular varieties include T. zebrina, T. nanouk, T. pallida, T. fluminensis, T. sillamontana, T. spathacea, blushing bride, pink panther, and purple heart.

Types

T. zebrina 

This variety is a trailing plant with long, narrow leaves striped in silver and green. This variety is known as “Wandering Jew” or “Inch Plant.”

Tradescantia full and lush

T. nanouk 

This cultivar is a new hybrid variety known for its unique, chubby leaves that are pink and green. This variety is also called “Tricolor” or “Nanouk.”

T. pallida 

Another unique variety, clump-forming plant with fleshy, purple leaves and small, three-petaled, lavender-blue flowers.

T. fluminensis 

Known as a “Small-Leaved Spiderwort,” is a trailing plant with small, shiny leaves that are green, purple, or blue. This type is known for its attractive, delicate flowers that come in shades of blue, purple, or pink.

T. sillamontana 

Another trailing plant with silvery-green leaves and small, three-petaled, pink or purple flowers. This variety is famous for its delicate and airy appearance.

T. spathacea 

Known as “Boat Lily,” is a clump-forming plant with glossy green leaves and small, three-petaled, pink, or purple flowers. This variety is famous for its stunning foliage and easy-to-care-for nature.

How to Grow

Soil Requirements 

This house plant prefers well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. They can tolerate a wide range of soil pH, but a slightly acidic to neutral pH (5.5-7) is ideal.

Light Requirements 

This plant thrives in bright, indirect light but can also tolerate low-light conditions. However, too much direct sunlight can scorch their leaves, so protecting them from harsh sun exposure is best. Follow the proper lighting so that it will grow healthy.

Watering 

Sensitive to over-watering and prefers to be kept on the dry side. Water them when the top inch of soil is dry, and be sure to drain any excess water to prevent root rot. Try to follow the watering guide for houseplants.

Propagation 

Propagation is easy by cuttings, division, or by planting their stems. Cut a stem about 4-6 inches long, remove the bottom leaves, and plant in a pot filled with well-draining soil.

Fertilization 

Fertilized once a month during the growing season with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. However, be sure not to over-fertilize, as this can cause excessive growth and result in a leggy plant.

Tradescantia Care 

Pruning

Prune to control their growth and shape. Prune back the stems as needed, being careful not to cut too far back, or you may damage the plant.

Repotting 

Repotted every 2-3 years to provide them with fresh soil and room to grow. Choose a pot slightly larger than the current one, and be sure to use well-draining soil.

Common Problems and Solutions

Yellowing Leaves

This can be caused by over-watering or under-fertilizing. Reduce watering and fertilize regularly to resolve this issue.

Leggy Growth

This can be caused by low light or lack of fertilization. Provide bright, indirect light and fertilize regularly to resolve this issue.

Brown Tips

This can be caused by too much direct sunlight or dry air. Protect the plant from direct sunlight and increase humidity to resolve this issue.

Facts

Tradescantia is native to Central and South America. It also known as “Wandering Jew,” is one of the most popular varieties. They use Tradescantia plants in traditional medicine for various ailments. Tradescantia is non-toxic to both humans and pets. The delicate flowers of Tradescantia attract hummingbirds and other pollinators. Also, Tradescantia is a fast-growing plant, making it an excellent choice for gardeners who like quick results.

Tradescantia is also famous for its air-purifying qualities and ability to help reduce indoor air pollution. You can train this plant to climb a trellis or a wall. The leaves of T. nanouk and T. pallida can change color based on lighting conditions. Blushing bride, pink panther, and purple heart are some of the most popular varieties for indoor gardening. Tradescantia is a low-maintenance plant that is easy to care for and is great for beginner gardeners.

Final Thoughts and Takeaways 

Tradescantia is a popular and easy-to-care-for plant that can add vibrant color and lush greenery to any home or office. Whether you prefer the traditional purple heart, the pink panther, the zebrina, or one of the other unique varieties, there is a plant that will suit your personal style and growing conditions. With proper care, these plants can thrive for many years, providing long-lasting beauty and clean air to your environment.

When caring for your plant, it’s important to remember to provide it with bright, indirect light and well-draining soil. Be careful not to over-water your plant, as this can lead to root rot and other problems. And don’t be afraid to trim back your plant if it grows too large, as this will help keep it healthy and promote new growth.

Tradescantia is a fantastic choice for anyone looking to add a touch of nature to their home or office. With its attractive foliage, ease of care, and long-lasting beauty, this plant is sure to be a favorite among gardeners and plant enthusiasts for many years.

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