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Add some fun colors to your houseplant collection with the Wandering Jew.
Inch plants, known as the Wandering Jew, or others called spiderwort are fun flora to grow, and you can find them in different varieties. Whether you grow it outdoors or indoors, we will help you take care of this colorful foliage. So stay a bit longer to find out more about this free-flowering inch plant care.
What is the Wandering Jew?
Wow, this is one houseplant that goes by many names. Luckily the easiest way to find it is with the name Inch Plant. So, where does the plant originate from?
According to the University of Florida, the Wandering Jew plant is native to Mexico and makes outstanding ground cover grown outdoors.
The leaf has gorgeous zebra patterns, and yes (if you’re wondering), it can flower. However, when you keep it indoors, it rarely happens. But the good news is you can make it happen. Want to know how? Well, all it needs is some bright light to produce flowers. The more light it gets, the more colorful the foliage.
The attractive foliage grows fast, displayed with striped green, purple, silver, or white leaves.
Furthermore, you can find the plant in two species, as seen in the image displayed—the Tradescantia Fluminensis with green variegated leaves and the Tradescantia Zebrina with purple silver striped leaves.
These are tropical plants and might be considered an invasive species in the warmer regions of the US and best grown in a pot indoors and outside the home. The plant is much loved for its unique color and vining growth. In fact, its best used as an ornamental indoor landscape.
You can place the Wandering Jew plant on a pedestal to cascade down or in a hanging basket. A good tip is to train your plant to grow in a fancy obelisk to adorn outdoors in the summer. But be warned, bring it in during winter.
Best of all, with the different types available, it adds a nice touch to modern interior designs and is fun to collect.
Wandering Jew Classification & Details
Wandering Jew Plant Care Basics
Whether you have the Tradescantia Zebrina or the Tradescantia Fluminensis, the good news is they are straightforward houseplants to care for. But a small warning, there are some important things to know, and having a glance does not hurt when it comes to these herbaceous perennial plants.
Furthermore, the care tips also apply if you do have a Tradescantia Albiflora. You are here to make your tropical plant happy, right? So let’s get started then.
Humidity & Temperature Requirement
Before we get to the Wandering Jew Plant care, it helps to know how to keep the temperature and humidity just right for this foliage. You can keep it in a pot outside during the summer but bring it in during the winter months.
The plant can thrive in average room temperatures ranging from 60 to 75°F. Anything below for a long time is fatal for this plant. The plants native to Mexico need high humidity with a regular mist using a hand mister.
The ideal spot for your Wandering Jew plant is in the bathroom, as the humidity is there at its highest.
A vital aspect of this plant is sunlight, mostly bright indirect light. Some house plants flourish in moderate lighting, and others flower when you have plenty of sunlight.
So what is bright indirect sunlight? Don’t worry; we see your frowning face. The concept is straightforward. All it means is that the light should not shine directly on the leaves and needs to land on something else first.
The best location in your home is an east or west-facing window to provide it with enough natural light. With bright indirect light, the leaf color remains like a purple queen and does not fade. For outdoor planting, ensure that your purple heart remains in partial shade without direct sunlight.
Best Potting Mix
The Jew Wandering Plant is not a picky one and grows fine in all-purpose soil when it comes to the potting mix. However, if you tend to forget to water, as we have all been there, mix some coco coir, vermiculite, or peat moss to retain the moisture. With soil evenly moist, it prevents it from drying out and dying.
So make sure to keep the soil wet for this purple-blooded houseplant.
The Wandering Jew is a tropical plant, and when you keep the root ball moist, it thrives. Yet, never cause waterlogging as it leads to root rot, similar to most other plants. Another thing Tradescantia does not like is limy water. Where possible, use distilled or rainwater to keep the soil wet.
It helps to water them regularly and not leave the soil to dry for long. You can water your tropical plant thoroughly and leave it to drain the water from the pot. If you are uncertain when to water, do as we do and invest in a soil moisture gauge to help.
Your Wandering Jew needs no fertilizer but can benefit from feeding occasionally. You can provide the Jew plant with feeding from spring through to summer. We recommend stopping the fertilizer in the fall and winter. During the cold months, your Wandering Jew Plants grow weak and leggy.
Please provide them with nourishment monthly using a liquid fertilizer at half-strength. We recommend organic plant food compared to chemical one as the plant is susceptible. Invest in a well-balanced fertilizer, compost tea, or a slow-release organic granule.
Other excellent products are liquid kelp or fish emulsion but only use these for your outdoor plant.
To keep your Tradescantia Zebrina or any other Wandering Jew plants deep purple in color with a healthy root system repotting is important. How often depends on different factors as some grow fast while others are slow growers.
The thing is, the Jew plant grows fast and gets leggy quickly with its leaves lost at the base. Another sad thing is that the Wandering Jew never gets older than three years, and this is where propagation plays a vital part.
How to Propagate Wandering Jew Plant
One thing you will find is that it is easy to propagate the Wandering Jew plant using cuttings. The roots grow fast, and the best way to do this is with stem cuttings. However, make sure your Wandering Jew is tiptop healthy before attempting this to prevent dissatisfaction. Here are some tips on how you can do this.
- First, make sure to identify the Tradescantia you want to replicate which needs plenty of stems with healthy growth.
- Use a sterilized pair of shears to cut three to six inches in length and cut off the leaves on the bottom half of the stem.
- You can dip the exposed ends in rooting hormone to speed up the process but not a must.
- When you plant, place Wandering Jew cuttings in a new pot, and place it in fresh potting soil, but first water the ground to provide it with moist soil.
- Place a clear plastic bag over your plant to hold moisture and remove it for watering weekly.
- Look out for new growth, as it should shoot out new roots in three weeks.
- Once you notice the new growth, transfer your baby to a larger pot.
There are two methods of using the cuttings placed in water or directly in potting soil.
Wandering Jew Growth Zones
Before you start plant exploring to find the Wandering Jew plant, you need to know if you can grow it in your area. According to the USDA, it grows from zones 8 through 12. The planting month in zone 9 is all year round and applies to zones 10 and 11.
However, keep in mind that most people tend to keep this plant indoors as a houseplant.
Wandering Jew Plants Diseases & Pests
One pest the Wandering Jew is prone to get is spiderwort and aphids. You will need to check for these critters often. The insects cause defoliation, and others outright kill your plant. The best is to determine the type of infection as you may use insecticides for one and chemicals for the other.
However, keep an eye out for aphid attacks as it pierces the purple leaves and sucks out all the sap. Furthermore, they excrete honeydew that is sticky and easily recognized. Moreover, they multiply fast, so best provides your plant with regular watering and misting.
To combat the pest, you can rinse them off with water but isolate your plant first from the rest of your houseplants. For a more advanced infestation, try using Neem oil and make sure to prick the dry green leaves.
Other Concerns to be on the lookout for with your Wandering Jew Plants
Leggy weak growth you find during winter months is caused by a lack of sunlight.
Dull, faded leaves are too much light making the bright colors fade, or there is not enough light.
Brown instead of the purple leaf is caused by the humidity indoors as the soil is not moist or can be from age. You can remove the dead leaves by pruning them.
Wandering Jew Varieties and Similar Plants
The name Wandering Jew does not only refer to the Inch Plant or the Tradescantia but a whole family of species. You can find ones with fuzzy leaves (that look so cute), purple, variegated, and green leaves. Some common Wandering Jew varieties are as follows:
Purple Fuzzy Leaves
Bolivian is a different species
Green Fuzzy Leaves
Purple Queen/Purple Heart
Wandering Jew Plant Flowers
When fertilizing your Wandering Jew, helps encourage the blooming of flowers. The flowers are small, and not all of the varieties look the same. You can find the flowers in white, purple, or pink, and there are times they flower in winter.
Just so you know, it may thrive indoors, but if you would like to experience its flowering aspect, they need the sun or an outdoor set-up that has easy access to sunlight.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can find some rare Tradescant plants, such as the Nanouk Pink Wandering Jew.
It is the Tradescantia Albiflora and Tradescantia Zebrina.
There is no difference as it is the same plant. Therefore, the name Zebrina Pendula is the old name.
Yes, they do, but when kept indoors, they seldom bloom.
You can keep it for about three years as the quality after that decreases. So the best is to propagate it regularly using stem cuttings.
Yes, it is toxic to both dogs and cats.
Yes, it is an antioxidant and antibacterial plant used in medicine worldwide.