Contrary to popular belief, the Wandering Jew is not one plant; it’s a group of 75 plants from the Tradescantia genus and includes several popular household plants.
Tradescantia zebrina pendula and Tradescantia pallida tend to be the Wandering Jew plants that are typically grown outside as groundcover in landscaping or front yards.
Meanwhile, Tradescantia fluminensis tend to be grown inside as a houseplant.
You may, however, know the Jew plants by their other common names like spiderwort plants, purple heart, inch plant, or the flowing inch plant.
Learn how to propagate Wandering Jew plants so you can have more around the house.
This herbaceous perennial originated from Mexico but has now become an ornamental garden plant around the world.
Irrespective of the variety you select, Wandering Jew plants are beautiful, versatile, low maintenance, and fast-growing.
And they are also tough to kill, making them popular houseplants. You should, however, watch out for aphids, spider mites, and root rot.
Table of Contents
- 1 Methods to Propagate Wandering Jew Plants
- 2 Wandering Jew Plant Basic Care After Propagation
- 3 FAQ
- 4 Conclusion
- 5 References
Methods to Propagate Wandering Jew Plants
These plants are easy to propagate and don’t require a distinct rooting medium or a rooting hormone.
Propagation of any Wandering Jew plant, including Tradescantia zebrina, can be done in soil or water, but working with the spiderwort variety is straightforward.
Propagating Wandering Jew Plants in Soil
Step 1: Use a sterilized sharp blade to take a couple of stems from your Wandering Jew mother plant.
The stems cuttings should be made right below the leaf node and should be at a 45-degree angle.
Ensure the length of the stems is about 4-6 inches, and then trim the set of leaves at the base of each stem.
Step 2: Grab a hanging basket or pot (about 6 inches) and nearly fill it with a fresh potting mix, leaving a 1-inch gap at the top of the container.
Poke five holes around the pot, each 2 inches deep (four around the pot’s edges and one in the center).
Plant the stem clippings in each hole, but make sure you pat the surrounding soil to ensure it’s firm enough.
Step 3: Keep the soil moist by watering your clippings. In a few months, you’ll have healthy foliage.
Though most plants come out of hibernation in spring and summer, Wandering Jews can thrive in any soil, and most of the time, you don’t even have to use fertilizer.
Propagating Wandering Jew Plants in Water
This process is also similar to propagating a Wandering Jew plant in soil but is less involved.
Step 1: Use a clean, sharp blade to cut out 4–6-inch stem cuttings or leaves from a spiderwort plant.
Don’t forget to remove the leaves at the bottom of each stem because they could rot the entire clipping.
Step 2: Fill a glass or vase with water and submerge the cuttings. The bottom leaf node should be fully submerged, and after a week, new roots will start to grow.
Step 3: Remove your clippings from the water after two weeks, plant them in an all-purpose potting soil, and begin tending to your houseplant.
To cut and prune your plants, you should use some sharp scissors or pruning shears. We suggest using these pruning shears as they are very comfortable on the hands and they are super sharp. They work well for us.
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Wandering Jew Plant Basic Care After Propagation
All Wandering Jew varieties require the same basic care despite their differences. The core care tips revolve around proper watering, light, and the best soil to use.
Even though these plants are hard to kill, they should be watered correctly.
Water the clippings frequently, but keep the soil evenly moist so that all the clippings are sufficiently hydrated.
If you propagate a Wandering Jew plant in soil, make sure the bottom of the pot has drainage holes to drain the excess water.
A Wandering Jew plant requires sufficient light but shouldn’t be exposed to too much direct sunlight, or the leaves will become scorched.
When exposed to bright light, this houseplant thrives and produces brightly colored foliage.
However, if they don’t get enough light, the leaves begin to fade.
Soil to Use
All Wandering Jew plant varieties can thrive in a simple potting soil (as long as it drains well).
You can also add compost matter to speed up their growth. Tradescantia plants like neutral soil pH.
This general use soil is designed for succulent and cactus soil because drains water well contains some nutrients (not a lot but some), and our plants seem to thrive in it.
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Other care tips include:
- As you repot the propagated houseplant, handle the fragile vines with care so they break off
- If you use a water-soluble fertilizer, water it down by 50% so as not to cause a nutrient burn on the foliage
- During the repotting process, make sure you use bigger containers (by 1-2 inches) to prevent the plant from being crammed
- Prune your houseplant when the vines start becoming leggy to give them a healthy appearance
- Maintain a high humidity level to avoid spider mites
How Long Does It Take To Propagate A Wandering Jew Plant?
The entire process can take anywhere between two weeks to a couple of months.
Ensure you remove the bottom leaves from your clipping to prevent the plant from rotting and water the soil evenly to keep them hydrated.
You should also expose them to sufficient light (preferably bright, indirect light) to speed up the process.
Can A Wandering Jew Plant Live In Water?
Yes. The tradescantia pallida are very resilient, and their cuttings can grow in almost any medium.
You should, however, repot the plant in bigger containers when the roots start growing.
How Long Does It Take For Cuttings To Root In Soil?
The rots should start growing within 1-4 weeks of propagation if the plant is maintained in optimal conditions.
Why Do My Wandering Jew Plant Cuttings Keep Rotting?
This could indicate a fungal infection or improper care, especially if the leaves start to degenerate.
Make sure you use a sterilized blade to make the cuts and use rooting hormones before you plant the clippings in the soil.
Wandering Jews are very versatile and are the easiest houseplants to care for. They don’t require much care, and propagating them is simple.
As long as their watering and lighting needs are met, they grow very fast (up to an inch every week) during the warm seasons
All Wandering Jew varieties, including the tradescantia fluminensis, also have the same basic care routine that only requires you to keep the soil moist by watering the plant evenly, expose it to sufficient sunlight, and plant them in fresh potting soil.
-  Centre of Agriculture and Biosciences International, Invasive Species Compendium, Datasheet Tradescantia zebrina (Wandering Jew)
-  Howard, A. (1900). On a Disease of Tradescantia. Annals of Botany, 14(53), 27-38
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She continued her gardening education by working on organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to share gardening tips and tactics. She’s happy to talk about succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs – or just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden.