Tradescantia Fluminensis: The Tricolor Wandering Jew Plant Care Guide

What Are Tricolor Wandering Jew Plants? 

Tricolor Wandering Jew Plant (Tradescantia fluminensis) is an attractive indoor plant. It belongs to the genus Tradescantia.

However, due to its speedy growth, many people consider it a weed species in the garden.

This plant is native to South America. It is also known as an inch plant, wandering trad, wandering willie, and wandering gypsy.

You can also plant the beautiful plants in a hanging basket.

The stem of Tradescantia fluminensis can grow to more than two feet.

beautiful tradescantia fluminensis

It is a popular plant mainly because of its hassle-free maintenance with its tricolor leaves.

The pointed tips and fleshy foliage make this variety impressive.

Tradescantia fluminensis is a variegated cultivar that is invasive. They suppress the growth of other plants growing around them. However, because of its pretty foilage, it is associated with an excellent ground cover in landscaping. Their dark-green leaves are around 2.5 inches long.

In Southeastern United States, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, this plant is so abundant that it’s regarded as a nuisance and a noxious weed [1].

Most of the plants that belong to this genus are troublesome. The sap of these plants is a skin irritant. Wandering Jew is also known to be irritating and possibly toxic to pets.[2]

These plants are called ecosystem engineers due to their unique characteristics [3].

Other Varieties of Tradescantia Plants

Similar to Tradescantia fluminensis, there are two other common plants that are part of the Tradescantia genus such as the Tradescantia pallida, and Tradescantia alboflora.

Both of these species are native to South America and look very charming thanks to their variegated leaves.

You can use hanging baskets to grow them in your home or have them growing in your landscaping as ground cover

Caring Guide for Tradescantia fluminensis Plants

Light

Tradescantia fluminensis is popular mostly because of its attractive foliage. Pink, purple, green, and white stripes make their leaves extremely beautiful.

Because of their unique blend of stripes, you’ll find them in many homes and offices as they are common indoor plants.

However, the leaf color may turn brown if the light is not provided sufficiently.

It can survive in locations receiving medium to indirect sunlight. Though we suggest you place it someplace that receives direct sunlight.

caring guide for Tradescantia Fluminensis

However, the scorching mid-afternoon sun will be excessive, so the morning and evening sunlight is the best.

Lack of sufficient light can result in discoloration of the green leaves, which may subtract from their beauty.

You can determine the plant’s needs by observing the color of its leaves.

Discoloration of the leaves will likely indicate that the plant needs more light since plants use sunlight as food.

These plants are invasive species but can form an excellent ground cover. They also have a vigorous growth habit, and they thrive in the garden.

Water and Soil

Water Tradescantia fluminensis thoroughly from late March to late October due to the higher evaporation rate during this period. You can reduce the amount of water during the fall.

Water is an important factor that affects the growth of Tradescantia fluminensis. It prefers to live in moist soil, but excessive water can cause root rot.

If the Wandering Jew is planted in a pot, you should moisten potting mix regularly.

The water requirement of this popular houseplant is relatively low. For this reason, don’t stress too much if you forget to water it occasionally.

Before watering, observe the moisture condition of the potting mixture. If the surface becomes too dry, you can water them.

If you want to make potting soil for them, you should use an adequate amount of vermicompost, compost, peat, and other organic materials with a higher water retention capacity.

Also, do not forget to make drainage holes beneath the pot. The holes will enhance the drainage condition.

Looking for a pot with a drain hole? How about one that is self-watering. We personally use this self-watering pot for your indoor plants. No need to worry about watering and keep root rot at bay.

10" Self-Watering + Self Aerating + High Drainage Plant Pot, Maintains Healthy Roots, for...
  • SELF-WATERING, 2-WEEKS+ DEEP RESERVOIR: No more troublesome wicks that clog...
  • SELF-AERATING, HIGH DRAINAGE, MINIMIZE ROOT ROT: No need to keep poking...
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Temperature and Humidity

The Tradescantia fluminensis requires is a temperature between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (19 and 26-degree Celsius).

If the temperature drops below 50-degrees Fahrenheit (10-degree Celsius), the plants may die.

Humidity is another factor that can affect the beauty of the variegated leaves. If the level of humidity falls, the leaves will turn brown.

Therefore, to obtain an optimum amount of humidity, you can use a humidifier. Another great idea is to place them in the kitchen or bathroom.

You can also mist the leaves often to increase the humidity level.

Fertilizer

Tradescantia fluminensis does not require a lot of fertilizer. Remember, they are considered weeds in many places because of their growth rate.

If you fertilize them too often, then you will have to prune them regularly.

Still, they require food to stay healthy. You can fertilize them during the growing season, which is between March and October.

You can either apply slow-release fertilizer plant food or liquid fertilizer.

The best slow-release fertilizer we have found is these fertilize pellets. You stick them in your plant and you don’t need to worry about it for the next six months. We think you’ll like them too.

Osmocote 4005810 PotShots: Premeasured Outdoor and Indoor House Plant Food, Slow Release,...
  • Specially formulated for plants grown in containers, Osmocote PotShots...
  • FEEDS UP TO 6 MONTHS: Feed your outdoor and indoor potted plants for up to...
  • NO GUESSWORK: Minimize the risk of over- and under-feeding by giving your...

Pruning and Propagation

pruning and propagation Tradescantia Fluminensis 1

Flowering inch plant is mainly used as an ornamental houseplant, so people need to prune them often.

However, if you plant them outdoor, you don’t have to prune them quite as often.

Due to their vining nature, it is better to cut their stem tips. It will let them appear more bushy and pleasing.

There are several ways to propagate Tradescantia fluminensis. You can plant the cut stems in soil or submerge the cut section in water.

After planting it in the soil, do not forget to water it. The root will come out of the nodes within a few weeks.

Related post: How To Propagate Wandering Jew Plants

FAQs

Can I place Tradescantia fluminensis in direct sun?

You can place it in direct or bright light, but scorching heat is not a good choice.

What are the popular pests of Tradescantia fluminensis?

The inch plant is generally pest-free, but spider mites can cause problems to the stems, flowers, and purple leaves.

Is Tradescantia fluminensis a succulent?

No, it is not a succulent plant.

How fast does Tradescantia fluminensis grow?

These plants grow very fast. They can cover the entire yard if they receive favorable environmental conditions.

Conclusion

To sum up, Tradescantia fluminensis are excellent houseplants because of their beautiful colored leaves that are pink, white, and purple.

They are very easy to grow, and anybody can take care of them. They just need some water, planted in well-draining soil, and bright light to thrive.

Other related posts:

References

[1] Seitz, J.C. and Clark, M.W. 2016. Identification, Biology, and Control of Small leaf Spiderwort (Tradescantia fluminensis): A Widely Introduced Invasive Plant. The University of Florida. Report number: EDIS Publication SL428

[2] American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)

[3] Dugdale, T.M.; Conran, J.G. & McLaren, D.A. 2015. The biology of Australian weeds 65.’Tradescantia fluminensis‘ Vell. Plant Protection Quarterly 30(4):116.

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