The Complete Tradescantia Care Guide

Tradescantia, also known as a wandering jew or wandering dude these days, is a popular houseplant known for its easy care and vibrant foliage.

Tradescantia Care Guide
Tradescantia Nanouk

Typically a hanging, vining plant, tradescantia plants come in a variety of colors and shapes, making them a versatile addition to any home.

Types of Tradescantia

There are over 85 species of tradescantia, but some of the most popular varieties include:

  • Tradescantia zebrina (Wandering Jew): This is the most common type of tradescantia, and it is known for its variegated leaves in shades of green, purple, and white.
  • Tradescantia nanouk: This variety has fuzzy, variegated leaves in shades of pink, purple, and green.
  • Tradescantia albiflora (White Inchplant): This variety has small, white flowers and variegated leaves in shades of green and white.
  • Tradescantia sillamontana (Purple Heart): This variety has deep purple leaves and small, white flowers.
  • Tradescantia fluminensis (Oyster Plant): This variety has long, narrow leaves in shades of green, purple, and white. It is also known for its boat-shaped flowers in shades of pink and purple.
  • Tradescantia spathacea (Moses in the Cradle): This variety has long, sword-shaped leaves in shades of green and purple. It is also known for its white flowers that are enclosed in purple bracts.
Tradescantia Care Guide
Tradescantia Albiflora

These are just a few of the many different types of tradescantia plants available. With so many different varieties to choose from, there is a perfect tradescantia plant for everyone.

Tradescantia Care Requirements

Here are general guidelines on how to care for your Tradescantia houseplant:


Tradescantia plants prefer bright, indirect light. They can tolerate some direct sunlight, but too much can scorch their leaves. If your plant is not getting enough light, the leaves will become pale and leggy.

Tradescantia Care Guide
Moses-in-the-Cradle, Tradescantia Spathacea

Tradescantia plants are relatively drought-tolerant, but they need to be watered regularly to prevent the soil from drying out completely. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.


Tradescantia plants prefer moderate humidity, but they can tolerate low humidity as well. If you live in a dry climate, you can mist your plant regularly or place it on a pebble tray. However, some Tradescantia do not tolerate getting their leaves wet.

Tradescantia Care Guide
Tradescantia zebrina

For example, the tradescantia zebrina have hairy leaves. If you get the leaves of these plants wet, the water can get trapped in the hairs and cause the leaves to rot. Other tradescantia plants, such as the tradescantia nanouk, have smooth leaves. These plants can tolerate being misted, but it is important to let the leaves dry completely before nightfall.

If you are unsure whether or not to mist your tradescantia plant, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid doing so. You can always increase the humidity around your plant by placing it on a pebble tray or using a humidifier.


Fertilize your tradescantia plant once a month during the spring and summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength. Do not fertilize during the fall and winter.

Tradescantia Care Guide
Tradescantia Fluminensis Tricolor
Pests and Diseases

Tradescantia plants are generally resistant to pests and diseases, but they can be susceptible to spider mites, mealybugs, and scale. If you see any pests on your plant, isolate it from other plants and treat it immediately with an insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Propagating Tradescantia Houseplants

Propagating tradescantia houseplants is very easy and can be done in water or soil.

To propagate in water:
  1. Cut a 4-6 inch stem from the plant and remove the bottom leaves.
  2. Place the cutting in a glass of water and place it in a bright spot.
  3. The roots should develop within a few weeks. Once the roots are at least 2 inches long, you can transplant the cutting into a pot with potting mix.
To propagate in soil:
  1. Cut a 4-6 inch stem from the plant and remove the bottom leaves.
  2. Plant the stem in a pot with well-draining potting mix.
  3. Water the plant well and place it in a bright spot.
  4. Keep the soil moist but not soggy.
  5. The cutting should root within a few weeks.
Tradescantia Care Guide
Propagating Tradescantia
More Tips for Propagating Tradescantia

Here are some additional tips for propagating tradescantia plants :

  • Use a sharp knife or shears to make a clean cut.
  • Make sure the cutting has at least one node (the bump where a leaf meets the stem).
  • Remove any flowers or buds from the cutting.
  • Keep the cutting in a warm, humid environment.
  • Be patient! It may take a few weeks for the cutting to root.

Tradescantia Care Tips

  • Tradescantia plants are fast-growing plants, so you may need to repot them every year or two.
  • If your plant becomes leggy, you can prune it back to encourage new growth.
  • Tradescantia plants can be grown in a variety of potting mixes, but it is important to choose a mix that is well-draining.
  • You may need to stake or trellis your tradescantia plant to keep it upright, especially if it is a trailing variety.
  • Tradescantia plants are relatively low-maintenance plants, but they will appreciate a good misting every now and then.
  • Tradescantia plants are non-toxic plants, but it is still best to keep them out of reach of pets and children.
Tradescantia Care Guide
Tradescantia Pallida

With proper care, your tradescantia plant will thrive for many years to come.

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