Tradescantia Zebrina: How To Care For Wandering Jew Plants (Spiderwort)

Tradescantia Zebrina, more commonly known as a Wandering Jew plant, Inch plant, or Spiderwort, is a delight to watch in its striking silver and purple foliage.

These invasive species can grow rapidly and abundantly inside the house. All you need is to provide proper care to the plant.

Generally speaking, taking care of this Wandering Jew plant isn’t too complicated.

If you want to see these plants thrive inside your house, there are some easy-to-follow growing tips that you can follow.

Keep reading to find out how you can get the most out of this plant.

What Does the Tradescantia Zebrina Look Like?

Tradescantia-Zebrina-looks

This Wandering Jew plant has green, white, and silver striped leaves, and it grows about three to four feet tall.

The lower leaf surface has a deep red shade to it.

The nodes are at an inch long distance from each other. It has a spindly growth with bare and sturdy stems.

Some of these plants may have green leaves mainly due to too much light exposure – it’s best to have indirect light.

How To Care for Tradescantia Zebrina

Lighting for Wandering Jew Plant

Tradescantia Zebrina needs lots of light for optimal growth. Therefore, your window is an ideal place for these plants.

If the light is too dim, the silver and white stripes from the leaves will start fading away. Furthermore, low-intensity light also causes leggy growth in these plants.

Use Light Shade Outdoors

While low light conditions aren’t ideal for this plant, prolonged direct and intense sunlight can damage it.

So, if you live in hot regions where there is too much sunlight intensity, try a partial shade or a light shade to avoid continuous exposure.

Temperature Range for Wandering Jew Plant

temperature-range-for-tradescantia zebrina

Moreover, the window area also provides sufficient temperature for new growth and plant sustainment.

Ideally, Zebrina grows best between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Furthermore, these plants can suffer under 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so keep your average room temperatures within the range mentioned above.

Watering a Wandering Jew Plant

Tradescantia Zebrina prefers evenly moist soil. Avoid excessive watering as it can cause root rot and stem rot.

Moreover, it’s essential to prevent the plant from drying up completely.

When the lower leaves turn yellow and crispy, it’s a sign that the plant is drying up. In such a case, the plant will deteriorate quickly, so never let it reach this phase.

The Right Amount of Water

The best time to water is when the top inch of your potting mix goes dry. Of course, you must ensure enough light and the right temperature too.

It’s best to water the plant every five to seven days.

If you’re looking for a pot with drainage holes, how about one that waters itself? This self-watering container is what we use for our indoor plants. There’s no need to worry about overwatering or preventing root rot.

Unique 10" Self-Watering, Aerating, High Drainage Plant Pot with Deep Saucer (10 Inch,...
  • SELF-WATERING, 2-WEEKS+ DEEP RESERVOIR: No more troublesome wicks that clog...
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  • WATER FROM THE BOTTOM + NO MORE OVERFLOW: Each planter comes with a clip-on...

Repotting and Type of Soil Needed

repotting-and-soil-for-Tradescantia-Zebrina

A standard potting mix is good enough for the Zebrina plant. You can use three parts potting mix with one part perlite, and it should be enough.

Because these plants are quick growers, they will quickly fill up the soil and pot with roots. So, you may need frequent repotting to transfer them to a larger pot.

Pruning the Zebrina Plant

Since it is an indoor plant, pruning becomes one of the essentials to keep it in good shape.

With pruning, you encourage the production of new branches. Make sure to wear gloves while pruning the plant.

Try pinching back the tips, especially with the short vines. This way, you can grow two vines at the end.

Pinching helps in achieving a fuller plant with lots of smaller leaves and foliage.

What Happens if You Don’t Prune

If you leave the plant unattended, it can have leafless vines, but pruning can help restore its beauty.

The Best Time for Pruning

The best time for pruning is during summer and spring because it gives enough time for the plant to recover. While pruning, make sure to use a sharp knife or scalpel.

Howt to Propagate Tradescantia Zebrina Plants

Collect some stem cuttings or at least one leaf cutting to start propagation for new plants.

It can root in less than two days, which means it propagates at a rapid pace.

The best way to enhance root growth is to use water propagation and then plant them in a pot.

Additionally, if you want a higher chance of the cuttings to root, you may want to consider using rooting hormones.

We suggest using this rooting hormone as it simply works.

We’ve propagated many plants, and we see roots sprouting 99% of the time when we use root hormones.

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Garden Safe Brand TakeRoot Rooting Hormone 2 Ounces, Helps Grow New Plants From Cuttings
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Pest Protection

Spider Mites and aphids are some of the common pests that infest these plants.

However, you can wash them away with sprinkling water and insecticides that can penetrate the soil.

Alternatively, you can use an insecticide soap or Neem oil-based insecticide to get rid of these pests.

If you’re looking for a general insecticide that rids spider mites, aphids, and a host of other plant pests, you should try this plant insecticide.

We have used this on our houseplants and had no issues afterward.

Natria 706250A Neem Oil Pest and Disease Control, 24-Ounce, Ready-to-Use (Pack of 2)
  • INSECT KILLER: Controls Aphids, Whiteflies, Spider Mites, Fruit Flies and...
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  • USE ON: For use on roses, flowers, fruits, and vegetables

How to Ensure Flowering

If you’ve never seen it before, then don’t be surprised. This plant produces flowers under the right conditions.

If you give the plants some fertilizer rich in nitrogen and phosphorous, sunlight, water, and hopefully some warm weather, you should expect this Wandering Jew plant to bloom with flowers.


For more information on how to care for Tradescantia plants, check out our related post:


FAQ

This plant doesn’t need VIP treatment for optimum growth. However, there are a few common questions regarding their quality care. Here are the answers to them.

Is Tradescantia Zebrina an indoor plant?

The Zebrina plants are quite easygoing in terms of where they prefer growth. However, they grow best indoors because they are humidity-friendly. Since places like the kitchen or bathroom have a humid environment, it works perfectly for them, making them a highly preferable option for indoor plants.

Can Tradescantia zebrina take full sun?

Tradescantia Zebrina grows best under full sun. They are best suited to direct sunlight. In case there isn’t enough light, the leaf tends to fade, and you will see vibrant stripes on it. Moreover, if you’re keeping them inside the house, make sure to have a bright light indoors. Indirect light may not be enough to maintain the vibrant leaf colors.

Is Tradescantia zebrina toxic?

Yes! Tradescantia Pendula plants may seem harmless when they lie low and vine around trees, but they are toxic too. They are mildly toxic, so you must keep them out of reach from your children and pets. Ingesting Tradescantia plants can irritate the mouth and the stomach.

Is Tradescantia zebrina a perennial?

Yes, the Tradescantia zebrina is a perennial plant that grows year after year. During the winter, it, on the other hand, becomes dormant and rests. During this time, the plant does not actively develop or reproduce. When springtime rolls around, the plant’s growing season begins again.

Other Tradescantia Plants to Consider

Conclusion

The Inch plant presents you with the perfect option for a low-maintenance and growth-friendly plant that you can grow anywhere from the floor to a hanging basket.

However, with proper care, these plants can grow even faster and maintain good health too.

Remember, average room temperature, humidity, and bright light are some of the essentials for a properly maintained-inch plant.

As far as the other caring tips are concerned, you already know the essential ones.

References

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