The perennial houseplant commonly known as the Wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina) is also referred to as the inch plant and spiderwort. Displaying striking purple stripes, this plant possesses heart-shaped leaves that contribute to its overall beauty. It thrives in indirect light, and while it appreciates moisture, it’s crucial not to overwater it. Over the years, the Wandering Jew has gained popularity for commercial purposes, being cultivated and sold for profit. Its growth rate surpasses that of many other vine-based plants.
It’s essential to note the various names associated with this plant, and for clarity, focus on its Genus name, Tradescantia. The Wandering Jew is not only suitable for indoor settings but also serves as garden ground cover and a hanging plant, with its stems gracefully cascading downward. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, this plant contributes to indoor air improvement, effectively combating respiratory pollutants.
Interestingly, the Wandering Jew produces flowers with three petals, featuring zebra-like lines on its leaves. Moreover, its foliage showcases light-colored stripes on one side and a dark magenta hue on the reverse. There exist different varieties and species, exhibiting blooms in various colors such as purple, white, and pink. Taking care of the Wandering Jew plant is remarkably easy, requiring minimal attention.
Wandering Jew Plant Quick Facts
|Common Names||wandering Willie (T. fluminensis), Inch plant, striped wandering Jew (T. zebrina), flowering inch plant, spiderwort purple queen (T. pallida)|
|Scientific Name||T. zebrina,Tradescantia pallida, T. fluminensis|
|USDA Hardiness zones||9 to 11|
|Plant Type||Perennial , Ground Cover , Herbaceous.|
|USDA planting(9-11)||Anytime of the Year|
|Soil||Well Drained and moist.|
|Temperature||55-75 degree F|
|Uses||Hanging Basket, Indoor Growing, Ground cover, Fence Cover, In Container|
|Pest||Not much affected , Mites can still bother|
How to Grow Wandering Jew Plant
Before delving into the intricacies of caring for the Wandering Jew plant, let’s first emphasize the significance of selecting the optimal location for its flourishing. These plants thrive in strong indirect sunlight, and exposing them to direct sunlight could result in leaf burn. The ideal placement involves filtered sunshine or moderate shade, with strong, indirect light being most conducive to vibrant coloration and overall development.
Keeping the Right Soil Conditions
Wandering Jew plants are undemanding when it comes to soil types, making them easily satisfied. For accelerated growth, opt for regular, well-draining garden soil. When potting, use a lightweight and quick-draining potting mix to ensure excess water evaporates, preventing issues with waterlogged roots.
Watering the Plant of the Wandering Jew
Ensuring proper hydration is crucial for the happiness and health of your Wandering Jew plant. These plants prefer consistent moisture without being waterlogged, benefiting from regular watering. However, overwatering can lead to root rot, emphasizing the importance of finding a balance. Watering is recommended when the top half-inch of the soil is dry, avoiding it if it’s still moist. To prevent standing water, allow excess water to drain from the pot’s bottom.
Temperature and Humidity Requirements
Given their tropical origin, Wandering Jew plants thrive in warm, humid climates. Maintaining a temperature range of 50-80 °F (10-27 °C) throughout the year is optimal for their growth. Increasing humidity can be achieved by regular leaf misting or placing a tray of water and stones beneath the plant, enhancing the surrounding microenvironment.
How to Fertilize a Wandering Jew Plant
Proper fertilization is essential to provide the Wandering Jew plant with the nutrients it requires for robust growth. During the active spring and summer growth seasons, a general-purpose fertilizer is suitable. Adhere to the fertilizer’s packaging directions for the correct dosage and frequency of application.
The Wandering Jew Plant’s Reproduction
Expanding your collection through Wandering Jew plant propagation is a rewarding endeavor. Stem cuttings prove to be the most efficient method. Take a cutting from a healthy, mature stem, remove the lower leaves, and plant it in well-draining potting soil. Maintain consistent soil moisture until the cutting develops roots and initiates growth.
Typical Insects and Illnesses
Wandering Jew Plant Care
Wandering Jew plant(Tradescantia zebrina) care is absolutely easy and if you are a beginner you can easily grow them. Providing sufficient light and pruning can make them more healthy and your Tradescantia can be able to grow and even propagating them is an easy task. Here are some of the Care Tips:
These Jew plant love moist soil and happily grow when you give them water regularly. But Remember not to pour heavy water as they don’t like to sit on soggy soil.
Checking the pot for drainage holes sometimes using them can make the pot hole blocked if the water gets trapped on the soil making a bigger issue on roots of wandering Jew. Always see if the 2 inch soil is dry , if it does they pour some water.
At the time of winters , minimize the watering and also pruning can be limited in that season.
Mostly they are growing indoors with indirect sunlight and it’s true they don’t like direct sun so avoid it else its leaves might burn. There is saying ” More bright is directly connected to how dark the leaves will be”, In case of this plant it will grow more flowers.
With low light your plant might end up losing its color and start to fade and look pale. Place it in an area near the window which gets partial sunlight.
Wandering Jew plant are not dramatic, they grow in any soil or potting mix. But it will be better if you put organic matter in the soil which increases the quality of the normal potting mix.
Some of the items you need to make a Well drained Soil Mixture :
That’s it. Now mix this potting soil and what is good about this perlite and peat moss is it helps in water retention and increases the ability to drain water properly. You can adjust the soil according to your need. This mixture works in many other plants’ soil requirements.
*For those who want minimum Items to be used just buy a potting soil and mix it with the 30-40% sand.
As Your Spiderwort or Wandering Jew plant(Tradescantia zebrina) require repotting once they grow bigger and choosing the right container can help them sit well on the new container.
Our plant has a faster growth rate and it can grow invasively if we don’t prune them. Many People Who choose to grow them in hanging pots repot them in larger pots as they like these plants to flaut the vines in the whole balcony.
Initial When doing Repotting , You need to take out your plant and shift it in a new larger pot, carefully do it doesn’t harm the root ball. Now Add soil to the every corner of the pot and fill it till just 2 inch below the container rim. Now water it fully and so the soil sits well on the new pot.
Humidity and Temperature
Tradescantia are able to grow in ideal room temperature below 65- 76 degree F. Mostly they like Warm Climate and below 40-45 Degree F can damage its overall growth pattern resulting in Fade and discolored Foliage although they can easily manage most ideal temperature conditions. They prefer low to moderate humidity environments.
You can use liquid based fertilizer every 2 month when Inch plants are in the phase of growing. For this kind of plant food use only 50% of its strength because we don’t want any excessive feeding to burn the leaves of our Tradescantia plant.
Using a Slow release fertilizer can help it to provide soil its strength from time to time and not immediately. This can be used every year only once.
When doing trim to short your Wandering jew Plant(Tradescantia zebrina), don’t waste the cutting. You can do wandering jew plant propagation with just 3-5 inch stem cutting and it’s an easy process. Cut down all the leaves from the bottom 2 inch stem of 5 inch. That’s the area where it will develop roots and also from base.
Initially use a small pot and use well drained soil and place your propagated stem on the pot with the soil. Shift pot in a partial shade location and keep the soil moist for some days by giving it water regularly.
Rooting will start in 30-45 day of planting so patience can be fruitful and it’s the easiest method of propagating any plant. Also Many use rooting hormone so basically they don’t require that’s the beauty of this plant.
With flowering inch plant, you may notice they are quite fast at growing and when they grow it’s aggressive and sometimes overgrown if not pruned. Even they starts to become leggy because low light so to solve that pruning can be done to make them healthy again and revive its nature robust stems.
You can punch off some of the top stems or use a pruning tool and then do it. When you cut them from a node wandering plant stem will produce 2 new stems and make it compact.
Some of Pest and Disease you might see in your inch plant(Tradescantia zebrina) as every plant goes through this phase. These plants are mildly toxic and also show skin irritation in humans and animals if anyone comes in contact with its sap juice. The best prevention method to cats and dogs would be to place this plant in a location where your pet doesn’t go often. It’s a hanging plant so you might not see any dog jumping and for cats don’t open the gate for them as they try to destroy your plant. Cats and dogs if their stomach is full they don’t do any harm.
Your wandering Jew plant will deal with mostly all pests but spider mites still bother them with the webs. To tackle them, keep the area moist so spraying water can be a good idea as mites like dry areas to don’t make it too dry.
Still if it didn’t work for you , then use excessive water on the stems to knock them off but if the infestation is bigger and there are too many spider mites then use insecticide which is made for these types of pest problems.
When we discuss diseases in plants mostly every problem is connected to root rot. That is the major problem as it can kill the plant if not solved.
There are 2 reasons why it will happen in the first place:
1 .Soil is not well drained.
This can be a problem if you are using poor soil without peat moss or perlite which are used for better drainage of soil. Also sometimes the pot hole gets blocked which creates this problem. Clean the pot hole and change the soil or use perlite and small rocks on the bottom soil to improve the draining of water.
2 .Over watering.
This problem is because of its master pouring too much water on the plant everyday. Firstly you must check 2 inch of soil for dryness , if it’s dried out completely then water it.
Wandering jew plant Benefits
The Wandering Jew plant(Tradescantia zebrina) benefits from air purification to potential medicinal properties, the Wandering Jew plant has earned its place as a cherished companion for nature enthusiasts and health-conscious individuals alike.
Here are some Benefits of the Wandering Jew Plant:
Ability to purify the air
The Wandering Jew plant’s ability to naturally filter the air is one of its most impressive characteristics. This plant actively removes carbon dioxide from the air around it, acting as a watchful sentinel and aiding in the purification of the interior environment. Furthermore, it effectively removes hazardous particles, improving air quality and lowering the danger of airborne contaminants in the home.
Antioxidant-Rich and Therapeutic Qualities
An astonishing variety of antioxidants, which are essential in the body’s fight against dangerous free radicals, are present in the Wandering Jew plant. These anti-oxidants assist in lowering oxidative stress, which is connected to several health problems and early aging. You may benefit from these natural antioxidants and breathe healthier air by including the Wandering Jew plant into your living area.
The Wandering Jew plant has also been venerated in conventional medical systems for its possible therapeutic benefits. It may have antibacterial properties, which make it effective in treating certain bacterial illnesses, according to studies. The plant may also have anti-inflammatory effects, making it a viable natural therapy for lowering inflammation.
Low-Maintenance and Propagation
The Wandering Jew plant is notable for its simplicity in propagation, in addition to its health advantages. It is easy and satisfying to propagate the plant from stem cuttings, which enables plant hobbyists to grow their collections and introduce others to this alluring species.
In addition, the Wandering Jew plant requires little upkeep, making it a great option for both seasoned and inexperienced indoor plant gardeners. Its versatility and durability let it to flourish in a variety of environments, bringing greenery and beauty even to individuals with hectic schedules or little gardening expertise.
Houseplant with Appealing Design
The Wandering Jew plant is a beautiful indoor plant in addition to its practical benefits. Its colorful leaves, which combine green, purple, and silver tones, provide an arresting display that gives any space a dash of sophistication and life. The Wandering Jew plant consistently draws admiration and attention, whether it is planted as a trailing vine, strung in a hanging basket, or put on a windowsill.
Excellent in Humid Environments
The Wandering Jew plant, which is native to Mexico, thrives in conditions with a lot of humidity. The bathroom is a great place for this plant to thrive because of the humidity levels there, which are often higher owing to frequent showers and baths. The Wandering Jew’s placement in the bathroom improves the room’s visual appeal while also ensuring the plant’s healthy development and general wellbeing.
Putting False Beliefs to Rest
However, while sharing the common name “spiderwort” with several edible plants, the Wandering Jew plant itself is not edible. It is dangerous to ingest despite a common assumption that it is safe to do so. The plant’s true worth isn’t in its nutritional content; rather, it’s in its beauty, air-purifying abilities, and possible health advantages due to the antioxidants it contains.
Wandering Jew Plant Lifespan
Wandering Jew plants have a relatively short lifespan compared to some other houseplants, lasting only about two to three years on average. Within this period, you may notice a gradual decline in the plant’s health. Despite its limited longevity, the Wandering Jew is a fast grower and can be propagated easily, ensuring a continuous cycle of new plants.
Wandering Jew Plant Varieties
Wandering jew has 3 major varieties includes zebrina, T.pallida and T.fluminensis. These varieties have different shape, color. Wandering jew plant blooms with 3 petal flowers with greenish leaves and similarly Tradescantia varieties have tri-petal flowers that are very unique and beautiful.
Type of Wandering Jew plant are basically not a single plant but a collection of species of plant that comes under Tradescantia. There are 3 major species but Tradescantia genus have over 75 species from that I am listing out Total 9 Wandering Jew plant varieties –
- Tradescantia Zebrina
- Tradescantia Pallida
- Tradescantia Fluminensis
- Tradescantia spathacea
- Tradescantia longipes
- Tradescantia blossfeldiana
- Tradescantia virginiana
- Tradescantia Sillamontana
- Tradescantia Nanouk Variegated
I have given images of some varieties that are best in look as well as growth .
below i have explained each types of wandering jew plant with pictures:
1. Tradescantia Zebrina
Tradescantia Zebrina is the most known variety and its leaves are in green color with white petals. Tradescantia looks like a zebra as it has white stripes and outer lines are in white silver color. It came from Mexico and Its scientific name is T.zebrina. You may encounter purple color on the upper side also.
2. Tradescantia Pallida
Tradescantia pallida variety also comes from Mexico and the most popular is this one. Also Known by the name purple heart plant. Its binomial name is Tradescantia pallida and this has deep purplish color on the upper side and on the back it has magenta or violet color. It also produces flowers which have purple color but are very light. Foliage is long , clasping looks like 3-4 leaves coming from one stem.
3. Tradescantia Fluminensis
Tradescantia Fluminensis variety comes from South America and holds the binomial name T.fluminensis. Leaves are oval shaped but are long in dark green color or may turn purple if mature. It does produce flowers having white in color.
4. Tradescantia spathacea
Tradescantia spathacea is a very flowery, gorgeous looking wandering jew plant variety. YES it is best suited indoors and gives an eye -catching look, and may attract visitors. It has a very vibrant structure with leaves that are green to purplish and narrowed. It has features that make it semi-succulent. This variety also produces flowers with boat shape having 3 petals of white color.
5. Tradescantia longipes
Tradescantia longipes is a wandering jew variety that has blue purple flowers that look fantabulous and it is grown in rock gardens, natural parks and this can be grown in well draining soil as longipes are not tolerant to any soil.
6. Tradescantia blossfeldiana
Tradescantia blossfeldiana is the best variety after Tradescantia zebrina & Tradescantia spathacea & quite similar to zebrina type. It grows similar to wandering jew and plants can be seen growing horizontally. It has green, white, pink foliage; some leaves you may notice turn purple while others remain green. This plant also produces flower with white in color and quite good looking this plant is.
7. Tradescantia virginiana
Tradescantia virginiana variety of wandering jew can be seen having purple blue to violet color and grown year by year this perennial plant is best suited for garden lovers. This T.virginiana has the same type of requirement which wandering holds.It can also produce flowers with 3 petals.
8. Tradescantia Sillamontana
Tradescantia Sillamontana has leaves that are green but covered with white hairs which makes the foliage looks like white. Smaller leaves with a length of 2 inches grow very beautifully and it may become a houseplant. It has light purple to darkish purple flowers with 3 petals, the same as other varieties. It is quite fuller and compact when grown and it looks amazing.
9. Tradescantia Nanouk Variegated
This variety is similar to wandering jew only different is its leaves that are long otherwise it is same like having foliage with purple green. It thrives in indoors and outdoor and have minimal requirement to successfully grow. One its become mature regular pruning is needed and other things on watering, light , fertilizer is same as wandering Jew.
All Wandering jew varieties have similar caring needs so you should follow the indoor that is given below and for outdoor guide on this plant visit here.
If you want to know the about wandering Jew superstition and meaning plant. Check more.
How many varieties of Wandering Jew are there?
There are 3 varieties of wandering jew and all these have different color that are my favorite. If you don’t have one take one of them as these unique wandering jew varieties looks great.
Wandering Jew plant indoor
When growing wandering Jew indoors it needs bright light and moist soil for its overall growth. If light is not sufficient it may develop some leggy stems. If water poured too much it can harm the roots leads to leaves fade. Always grow them in partial shade or indirect light source as they thrive well there. Once I put them in sunlight and it just burned some of the pure leaves on the plant. Winters you don’t need to give them water regularly it needs light which is less in colder climate. Provide them outside bright light and placing below the tree is also a good place. Wandering Jew plant requires fertilizer in every 30-44 days when they are in growing season. Winters you need to limit these things and focus on only misting water and light to give water to the plants. No need to give plenty of water.
Pinching some of the leaves so that spiderwort(Tradescantia zebrina) don’t become invasive, you can do this more often. using pair of pruner will reduce the time and help you cut down more stems and leaves easily. Also Pruning increases New growth, and sometimes we can get rid of pests by trimming in plants.
By Doing Caring you can make them live longer and they will grow for many years.
For wandering Jew Plant Outdoor Care Check.
Can wandering jew live in water?
Wandering jew may live in water as these plants are discovered in wetlands and rainforests even places where there are stones with water present. Wandering jew is propagated in water so yes it can live in water for days and several weeks but for garden cover and other making it as houseplant you need to transplant it in a pot.
Wandering jew plants like water so being watered regularly is not an issue with them but the roots in soil may increase pathogens that could lead to root rot. That is why even if it was in clear water it grows but not in too much water.
Best way to grow wandering jew is to moisturize its soil and check the soil for 2 inch always before watering next time. Don’t overwater your plant pot and you can water it from the base and no need to spray over the leaves. This way an inch plant can get all the water for its growth.
So can wandering jew live in water forever?
Wandering jew can live in water for several weeks not forever but if you want to increase its life then change water so it doesn’t get any fungal infection. These plants placed in water glass or any glass material would make an eye -catching view as inside water they look marvelous. You can propagate wandering jew in water for weeks after rooting; it can be grown in soil forever.
Can wandering jew take full sun?
No, Wandering jew should not take full sunlight as it may burn leaves and could harm the overall plants growth. Wandering jew is choosy when it comes to light requirements and getting enough light to have vibrant purplish foliage. As ground cover, yes they do get direct sun which makes this plant invasive as it spreads quite fast otherwise it is a good houseplant , frost resistant and you can place them indoors if there’s too much cold outside.
Best location for wandering jew outdoors is near the tree or somewhere it can get partial to shade area so doesn’t get those heavy sunlight that could make it invasive and with that it may burn some leaves.
a wandering jew plant can be placed indoors near south facing windows or in a location near a window that gets morning sunlight only and the whole day it can live with indirect light. No wandering jew won’t stop growing if placed in a shade spot.
also remember if you give too much sunlight then it needs to be pruned in every few months to stop overgrowth.
Do wandering jew plants flower?
Yes Wandering jew plants do flower having 3 petals making a triangle shape. Wandering jew have different flower colors including pink, white and purple and these flower blooms might form at any time and I can’t comment when it is the exact time for these flowers to show up but maybe we can expect in the months of winters.
These Flowers in wandering jew plants are closely attached to green-purplish leaves. The 2 most popular varieties can be seen having 3 petals in their flower form.
How to trim a wandering jew plant?
For trimming wandering jew plants you need a pair of shears and make sure to sterilize the sharp pruners before doing any pruning. To prune wandering jew first cut those leaves that look pale, dried, weakened. You may notice some of them might be losing color and some already dead leaves present on wandering jew so prune the plant 1/3 part and don’t worry about any mistake as wandering jew is highly tolerable to excessive pruning. And it will grow again and become thick and fuller.
Cutting stems that have so many leaves dying can help to supply nutrients to other parts of plants. Don’t hesitate just prune long stems as well because this plant grows vigorous and whenever you cut the stems make sure to see how much you wanna cut back and only cut above the leaf node.
This way it will again grow from that node and make new stems and leaves.
Why is my wandering jew green?
wandering jew turning green due to low light and it causes the leaves in Tradescantia to change color from purple to green. Wandering jew plants are normally purplish but in order to maintain its pigmentation one needs to put the container of Inch plant to a partial sunlight area or at least give it full sun in the morning.
When grown in dark shady areas our wandering jew turn green which makes it less attractive, this problem also known as why Tradescantia loses colors. Also One should give it water whenever an inch plant is too dry. You can check it by using an index finger dug into the for about 2-3 inch if it’s wet then check the other day otherwise you don’t need to check it just give them water. This is the best method to check if your wandering jew really needs water or not.
Although in various forums and websites they do say the Tradescantia needs only bright light and not the direct sun, I recommend giving it full sun in the morning if this plant leaves are losing colors.
There are some cases where this plant lost colors because of frost as this damages the leaves as well as root. Make sure protect your plant from winter cold and give it frost blanket, But that’s not necessary in every person as if they are doing well every year and growing perfect without protection then it will do good this year as well until some climate change and global warming things happens which changes the whole ecosystem we live today.
Does Wandering Jew have blue flowers?
Yes Native wandering jew plants have blue flowers that can bloom in autumn months. They are invasive and grow much faster. It is common to have blue flowers & they grow just like an ivy plant. These plants are generally grown in hanging pots. If you ever try to grow in a garden they will take all the space and grow excessively.
Some people just hate these plants because of their invasive nature while those growing them in pots have a much safer side as they are beautifully grown and look amazing.
If anyone wants to get rid of all the wandering jew weeds & grasses then use herbicide that kills all these from the root, this way you won’t get problems with it again.
Here is the link to buy – Shop From .
Why is it called the Wandering Jew plant?
It’s a Story about a Jewish Person Taunted Jesus when he was going for Golgotha. With this Kind of Rude behavior, he is cursed to live on earth & he has been walking until the second coming. Read About the Whole Story Here on wandering jew plant spiritual meaning.
How often should I water my wandering Jew?
Wandering jew(Tradescantia zebrina) should be watered regularly as they like moist soil. You need to water them only when Soil is dry about 2 inch from the top, also when it’s completely dry then pour water fully to the bottom until it drains out. Make sure not to water when there is already soil moist otherwise it will be waterlogged which lead to root rotting.
Is a Wandering Jew an indoor or outdoor plant?
Wandering jew thrives in both indoors and outdoors environments but it makes a perfect hanging houseplant when grown indoors. In terms of outdoors it becomes invasive that’s why it is not considered outside. Still If you prune them often then it can be a good plant for both locations.
Why Is My Wandering Jew so leggy?
Leggy growth of plant(Tradescantia zebrina) comes when it doesn’t get enough light, wandering jew become leggy because during the colder climate it doesn’t get sufficient bright light , this happens in winters only. If you want to resolve this issue then place them where it receives 3-5 indirect sunlight, it will regrow again. Leggy condition can be solved with pruning but in the end you need to change its place in winters.
Are Wandering Jew plants poisonous to dogs?
It is considered as toxic to dogs , cats , horses and can give skin irritation like dermatitis. Other symptoms are rash, red , itchy skin or also may cause blisters. So if any of the problems your pet faces make sure to call the pet center for help and the hospital if the child has eaten.
Lotusmagus.com provides this information from ASPCA, It is an organization for animal cruelty prevention.
Wandering Jew Plant Cats : Is it Poisonous to Cats and Human?
Inch plant is one of the lovely looking plants grown in both areas of outside and indoors. We can propagate Wandering Jew plant(Tradescantia zebrina) easily many times. Pruning is also easy. It regrows back so it’s a good ground cover and hanging plant so I really like it. If you want minimal care plants then wandering Jew is the one.
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