Wandering Jew Plant Care Guide (How To Grow & Care For Your …

Posted By on September 28, 2021

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Wandering jew plants are fun to grow, and there are lots of different varieties. This comprehensive wandering jew plant care guide will show you everything you need to know about how to grow tradescantia indoors or out.

Wandering jew plants are much loved for their unique bright colors, and their vining growth habit. They look gorgeous in hanging baskets, or set atop a pedestal, where the tendrils can cascade down.

I love training mine to grow on the fancy obelisks that adorn my front step outdoors through the summer. Then I bring them indoors to keep them going as houseplants in the winter.

There are tons of different types, and they are fun to collect. The good news is that, no matter which variety you have, tradescantia plant care is the same.

Heres what youll find in this detailed wandering jew care guide

Wandering jews (Tradescantia) are tropical plants that add wonderful color to mixed containers and shady garden areas.

Theyre commonly sold as annual plants in cold climates. But they are actually tropical perennials in their native environment.

They are not tolerant of the cold, and will die at the first hard freeze if left outdoors. But they can easily be brought indoors and grown as a houseplant through the winter.

When you think of a wandering jew plant, you might think about the classic variety with purple and silver variegated leaves (Tradescantia zebrina, aka inch plant).

But the common name actually refers to a whole family of plants that fall under the scientific name of Tradescantia. Tradescantia wandering jew plants all require similar care, and they are all fairly easy to grow.

There are a whole bunch of different types, and they are all equally beautiful. There are plain green ones, variegated, purple, and even fuzzy leaf ones.

Whew, with all those options, how will you ever decide which variety to grow (I guess you could just start a collection like me!).

Related Post: 17 Beautiful Purple Houseplants To Liven Up Your Home

Heres a list of the most common wandering jew varieties (take a look at the pictures throughout this post to see what some of them look like).

Before we get into the details of wandering jew plant care, its important to know a few key things about where to grow them in order to be successful.

I find it much easier for long term wandering jew plant care to move them outside for the summer, where they thrive and get huge!

As I mentioned above, I grow my wandering jew plants outside on my shady front step every summer. I have two large containers with obelisks in them that are perfect.

As the vines grow longer, I train them to climb the supports. By mid-summer they are absolutely gorgeous, and I get tons of compliments on them every year.

Before frost hits in the fall, I bring my wandering jew plants indoors, and keep them growing as houseplants.

Growing them indoors can be a bit difficult, but given the right care, you can keep your plant thriving year after year which is totally worth it if you ask me.

The most important things to consider when growing wandering jew indoors are proper watering, humidity, and adequate light.

Despite their differences, all varieties of wandering jew plants have the same basic care requirements. So you can follow these growing instructions for any type that you have.

Wandering jews like to be watered regularly, and wont tolerate their soil drying out for very long.

Keep the soil evenly moist (but never soggy) at all times. Water them thoroughly, and allow the excess to drain from the bottom of the pot.

Wandering jew plants will tolerate being overwatered once in a while, but never allow the soil to stay wet for too long.

If you struggle with giving them the right amount of water, I recommend getting a soil moisture gauge to help you out.

If you dont want to bring a large wandering jew inside, you could take cuttings and grow them in a vase of water. They wont live that way forever, but if you keep the water fresh, theyll be fine for several weeks.

Another key part of successful wandering jew plant care is humidity, and lots of it! When the humidity is too low, the leaves will start to turn brown and die.

This is the biggest issue with growing them indoors during the winter months, when the air in our home is super dry. So, its very important to keep the humidity as high as possible.

One easy way to increase the humidity level around your wandering jew plant is to run a humidifier next to it. You should also keep an indoor humidity monitor near your plants.

You could put the pot on a pebble tray filled with water (dont allow it to sit in the water though), or even grow it in a small plant cloche or a mini indoor greenhouse.

Wandering jews are pretty picky about getting the right amount of light. They need a lot of light to maintain their bright color, but direct sun will burn their leaves (except for purple queen, they love growing in full sun!).

The ideal location for growing wandering jew indoors is an east or west facing window. That way it will get plenty of natural light in the morning/evening, and bright indirect sun for the rest of the day.

When they dont get enough light, their leaf colors will fade and look dull. If you dont have a spot with lots of natural sun, then add a grow light.

If you choose to move your plant outside for the summer, make sure to keep it in the shade or a partial shade location where its protected from the hot afternoon sun.

When it comes to soil, wandering jew plants arent picky, they will grow just fine in a general purpose mix.

But if you tend to forget to water (been there, done that!), or the soil drys out too quickly, then mix in some peat moss, coco coir, and/or vermiculite to help it retain moisture.

Wandering jew plants dont really need to be fertilized, but of course they will benefit from being fed once in a while.

They only need it spring through summer, dont fertilize them in the fall or winter. Winter growth is usually very weak and leggy, so you really dont want to encourage that.

As part of your wandering jew plant care routine, you can feed it monthly with a liquid fertilizer mixed at half strength.

I recommend using organic plant food, rather than a synthetic one. Wandering jews can be sensitive to chemical fertilizers.

A good organic general purpose fertilizer, or compost tea would work great. You could also add slow-release organic granules to the soil if you prefer doing that.

Fish emulsion and liquid kelp are also great options, but only use these outdoors (they can get a bit stinky when used indoors).

Fertilizing can also help encourage blooming. Wandering jew flowers are pretty small and insignificant, and not all varieties look the same.

A wandering jew flower can be purple, pink, or white, and its always fun to see them. Sometimes they will even flower during the winter, which is a welcome surprise!

Bugs arent usually an issue when growing wandering jews outdoors. But spider mites, aphids, and fungus gnats can become a problem indoors.

To fight houseplant pests that infest the leaves, I recommend using neem oil, which is a natural pesticide.

I also like to use a mixture of 1 tsp mild liquid soap per 1 liter of water, and spray it on the leaves to kill the bugs. Insecticidal soap or horticultural oil also work great.

If you see gnats flying around your wandering jew houseplant, allow the soil to dry out a bit more between waterings. You can use a yellow sticky trap to help control them.

Its a good idea to make pruning a part of your wandering jew plant care schedule. Regular pinching and pruning will keep the vines compact and thick.

Trimming wandering jews encourages new growth, so its best to do it during the spring and summer months only. You can prune off dead and dying growth at any time.

For precision cuts, I recommend using bonsai shears or a micro-tip snip. Otherwise, if youre doing heavy pruning, regular hand shears are perfect.

Wandering jew plants are super easy to propagate. Take cuttings that are 3-4 long, and include a couple of leaf nodes.

Dip the cut ends into rooting hormone, then stick them in moist soil. Dont allow the soil to dry out, and keep the air around the cuttings humid. A propagation chamber makes this super easy.

They are also simple to root in a vase of water, and youll start to see new roots in a matter of days. I like to use a clear vase so I can see when the roots start to form.

Its super easy to grow wandering jew plants outside, especially when its humid. But growing them indoors is a whole different story.

Most of the problems youll have with indoor wandering jew plant care will be due to inadequate water, light, and/or humidity.

Its easy to find all kinds of wandering jews for sale during the spring. Just look for different varieties in the annual plant section at any garden center, or you can buy them online.

During the winter, you can find them in the houseplant section. But, its usually cheaper to buy them as annual plants during the spring and summer, so you may want to wait a few months.

Growing wandering jews indoors or outside is easy and fun! There are so many Tradescantia varieties to choose from, you could collect them all. The best part is that, no matter which one you choose, wandering jew plant care is the same for them all!

If you struggle with taking care of plants during the long winter months, my Winter Houseplant Care eBook is perfect for you! Its a comprehensive guide that will show you exactly how to care for your favorite plants indoors during the winter, so you can keep them thriving all year long! Grab your copy today!

Share your wandering jew plant care tips in the comments below.

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