Planning to have wandering jew plants outdoors as ground cover?
Yes, it’s possible!
Overall, wandering jew plants are relatively easy to take care of and are adaptable.
Although it is commonly grown as a hanging houseplant, you can also cover extensive outdoor areas.
Wandering Jew is not a single type of plant. Its name is given to a wide variety of plants under the genus “Tradescantia.”
The most common wandering jew type is “Tradescantia pallid,” The Purple Heart plant.
You’ve probably heard of Tradescantia zebrina and Tradescantia fluminensis, too, since all of them are also called wandering jew plants.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to plant wandering jew outdoors?
- 2 Maintenance for your Outdoor Wandering Jew
- 3 Other Issues on Wandering Jew Plants Outdoors
How to plant wandering jew outdoors?
Varieties of Wandering Jews basically have the exact needs and requirements, so you don’t have to worry about the difference.
If you already have them as a houseplant, caring for them as a ground cover will be pretty straightforward.
Temperature and Growing Zones
Before considering planting these plants outside, you must first know if they can withstand the environment outdoors.
If you live in growing zones 9 to 11, which is the wandering jew plant’s growing zone, you don’t have the harsh winters to worry about.
Your plants can stay safe outside all year long.
Take note that these plants like warmer temperatures that range between 50 to 80 degrees F.
So, How do you take care of a wandering Jew in the winter?
Since you’re planting them on the ground, it can be tricky to relocate them if you’re in areas with lower temperatures, especially during winter.
Using cold frames can help you in this predicament.
If you have a piece of woven cloth, it can also help in giving them warmth of approximately 2 to 5 degrees F.
Can Wandering Jew take full sun?
During the day, your wandering jew should be in partial shade.
Since you’re growing them as a ground cover, try to position them on a patio, shady front, or covered porch where they can get some bright and indirect sunlight.
If you plant them in spaces with too much sunlight, the leaves will ultimately bleach out.
Wandering jew plants are used as ground covers because of their beautiful green to purple leaves with silvery-white stripes.
Exposing them to too much sun can cause discoloration and sunburn.
Some gardeners plant wandering jew plants as ground cover near or under pine trees.
On the other hand, Wandering Jew plants will stretch toward the nearest light source if you place them in total shade or areas with too little light.
You wouldn’t want them to become bony, uneven, and thin, either!
Soil Moisture, Humidity, and Watering
Wandering Jew plants prefer rich and moist soil that drains well if you’re planting them outdoors as a ground cover, mulch around the soil to maintain the moisture.
Keeping the soil damp helps in maintaining the humidity that your plant loves.
If the humidity is too low, your plant’s leaves will eventually turn brown. In some cases, some plants die.
Mist them from time to time to provide their much-needed moisture.
They can survive dry conditions but remember not to neglect their watering needs too.
However, it is better to underwater them instead of overwatering your plants. Keep your plants moist but not wet as it will eventually lead them to rot.
Maintenance for your Outdoor Wandering Jew
Some gardeners consider wandering jew plants too invasive.
Since you’re using them as a ground cover, this exact growing characteristic is just perfect, especially when they are underneath some taller plants or trees.
Since they’re invasive, it doesn’t mean that you should just let them spread haphazardly.
Before you knew it, wandering jew plants have taken over spaces that they were not supposed to inhabit.
To solve this, you have to prune them as necessary to avoid spreading them from spreading too much.
Pruning and Propagation
Pruning should be a part of your plant’s regular care.
You can remove the long tendrils so your ground cover can stay thick and compressed.
Also, remember to trim the thin and weak stems as well as the dead leaves.
To help your wandering jew plants grow healthier, you can also pinch the stems.
Pinching is another form of pruning, and this promotes plant branching. You can also produce new plants from this method.
When pruning or pinching healthy stems to make a new plant, ensure you have a glass of water nearby.
Place the stem cuttings in the water to let them root.
Rinse the stem and replace the water daily until the roots are good enough to plant in another location that you prefer.
Related post: How To Propagate Wandering Jew Plants
Is it necessary to fertilize them?
For newly planted wandering jew plants, you can apply liquid fertilizer every week to help them produce a sound root system.
After that, it isn’t essential to always fertilize them.
During your wandering jew’s growing season, you can give them water-soluble fertilizer two times a month.
Dilute the fertilizer to halve the strength so you can prevent nutrient burn.
From then on, you can fertilize the soil once a year using any slow-release fertilizer.
Do not fertilize them during winter or fall. The best time to do so is from spring to summer.
If you are looking for a fertilizer for your outdoor Wandering Jew plants, we suggest using this general-purpose fertilizer.
It’s nothing fancy but does an excellent job of delivering nutrients to your plants. Plus, it has ingredients to ward off weeds.
Other Issues on Wandering Jew Plants Outdoors
Since you’re growing wandering jew plants as ground cover, there’s a big chance that your plants will get grazed and trampled on by your pets if you ever have one.
If you’re planting them on your patio or your porch, you don’t have to worry about a deer nibbling on your plant.
Please keep your pets away from your wandering jew plant since it can affect them too, especially on their skin.
If you don’t have pets, then your plants are safe.
Wandering jew plants are low maintenance.
With that said, you don’t have to worry much about having this beautiful purple and green ground cover on your vacant space.
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.