Wandering Jew Plant | How to Grow and Care For?

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One of the most sought-after in-house plants, Wandering Jew or spiderwort, is an evergreen perennial plant. Native to Mexico, Wandering Jew is one of the 75 herbaceous perennial plants under the Tradescantia genus.

These plants are hardy, rapidly growing, and need low maintenance. Their brilliant purple-silvery leaves will dangle, spread, or climb, making them especially beautiful in hanging flower baskets in any house corner. However, several members of the Tradescantia genus are harmful to pets, so it is better to keep your four-legged friends away from these plants.

Since these plants are hardy, caring for them in warmer climates will not be an issue, but growing them indoors in colder and dry months may require extra effort. However, this should not discourage you from choosing Wandering Jew Plant, as it is worth all the efforts to grow these beautiful evergreen ornamental plants.

These plants are basically vine types, which means they will climb and crawl with increasing height. So, you can maneuver their climbing direction and arrange them as per your desire. We can vouch for the allure Wandering Jade Plants will create and attract compliments all year around.

Sounds attractive? We are sure it is. So, let us explore how you can grow and care for these plants at your home.

And allow us to tell you that it is not at all challenging to grow your own Wandering Jew Plants.

Essential Facts About Wandering Jew Plant

Essential Facts About Wandering Jew Plant
Image Credit: Tradescantias outdoors from Public Domain Pictures

Before we proceed further to explore the ways to grow Wandering Jews Plants, let us focus on some of the basic information about them.

General NameWandering Jew, inch plant, spiderwort, flowering inch plant
Botanic NameTradescantia
TypeHerbaceous perennial
Hardiness ZonesUSDA zones 9 and above
SunlightBright and indirect light
Soil RequirementSlightly moist
Soil pH levelAny
Maximum HeightUp to 6 feet
ToxicityToxic to pets
Native to Mexico

Types of Wandering Jew Plant

If you encounter Wandering Jew Plants or spiderwort for the first, it is better to learn about their types.

Fluminensis, zebrina, and pallida are three species in the Tradescantia genus that go by Wandering Jew.

#1. Tradescantia Zebrina

Tradescantia zebrina
Image Credit: Tradescantia zebrina by Tammarazzi from Pixabay

As the name suggests, Tradescantia zebrina or Zebrina pendula leaves look like zebra skin. The leaves are blue-green, with parallel stripes silvery on top and purple on the bottom.

#2. Tradescantia Pallida

Tradescantia pallida
Image Credit: Tradescantia pallida by Jlewoldsen from Pixabay

Tradescantia pallida go by familiar names like purple secretia, purple-heart, etc. You can recognize this type from its elongated and pointed leaves that are purple. Besides being evergreen plants, they also produce small, three-petaled white, pink, or purple flowers.

#3. Tradescantia Fluminensis

Tradescantia fluminensis
Image Credit: Tradescantia fluminensis by KENPEI (CC BY-SA 3.0) from Wikimedia

Another type of Wandering Jew Plants, Tradescantia fluminensis, bear dark-green leaves that are pointy and have lustrous, glossy, and slightly surface.

Growing Wandering Jew Plant

Whatever type of tradescantia you consider, all of them are pretty easy to grow and care for. You should be able to enjoy your evergreen perennial tradescantia as long as you give it plenty of light, moist soil, and prune periodically.

You can grow this species of plant outdoors as well as indoors conveniently. However, it is best to plant these varieties in mobile containers outside so that you can bring them indoors in colder months. Ensure your plant receives sufficient bright light, a warm temperature, and a good humidity level to thrive apart from moist soil.

Keeping this in mind, let us explore the different growing conditions necessary for these plant types.


The foremost thing to consider while growing Wander Jews is the location. The location should be ideal for sunlight, soil, water retention, temperature, and humidity.

Tradescantia can be planted as border plants in the garden. You can prune them and give them the desired shape, and since they are evergreen, your garden will maintain a green ambiance all year round.

You should know that your tradescantia is a versatile plant and can thrive in almost all conditions. But to get the best of them, choose a location that receives bright sunlight, has moist soil, and does not complain of water clogging. But never plant them under direct sunlight to prevent leaf browning.

You can also plant them indoors in hanging baskets and planters, as spiderworts trail nicely. That being said, keep your in-house planter on high shelves or window sills that receive good sun exposure.


Image Credit: Sunlight is essential for Wandering Jews from Negative Space

Tradescantias grow better in bright and indirect sunlight. So, try to plant them in a place that receives 6- 8 hours of bright light. Prevent keeping your plant under direct sunlight as it may burn the leaves, especially during the afternoon.

But remember not to overtly cover it under shade, as it may prevent the leaves from flourishing.


Moist and well-drained soil is most suitable for Wandering Jew Plant. Standard house plant potting mix can be used. But you can also amend the soil with natural compost. For soil amendments, combine the following in equal parts:

  • Garden soil
  • Humus
  • Sand or perlite
  • Organic or rich compost (a handful)
  • A light dusting of lime

To retain the moisture in the soil, mulching around the roots can prove beneficial.

pH level

You don’t need to think about the pH balance of the soil much, as your plant will survive at any soil pH level.

Temperature & Humidity

If you plan to grow your plant outdoors, a temperature range between 50 and 80 degrees is ideal. However, temperature below 45 degrees can be a thing to be concerned about during colder months.

As far as humidity is concerned, this plant will flourish in humid conditions, but extra care may be demanded when the level decreases.

Bonus Read: 5 Best Mars Hydro Grow Lights

Caring for Wandering Jew Plant

It doesn’t matter if you grow your plant outside or inside your home. However, there are basic caring requirements that you should follow to keep your plants alive and flourishing. But don’t worry, as these are low- maintenance plants, and you would not need to invest much time in it.


Image Credit: Watering is needed from Maxpixel

After you have planted your tradescantia, the next thing that comes to mind is watering it. That being said, tradescantia species of plants need moist and well-drained soil. So, watering them periodically is crucial but prevent yourself from overwatering.

Water your plant when the top of the soil appears dry. Watering these plants from the bottom will be favorable for better water soaking.

If you are growing your plants indoors, in containers or baskets, make sure you keep a hole at the bottom. It will facilitate water drainage properly.


Wandering Jews are not heavy feeders, and you may not need to fertilize them often. But there will be no harm if you feed them once in a while.

You can fertilize them in spring through summer using a liquid fertilizer mixed at half strength. Apart from this, you can also apply a slow-release fertilizer once a year. However, do not fertilize them during the winter or fall months.

We recommend not to apply chemical fertilizers, as your plant may be sensitive to them.


Wandering Jew Plants love to spread, and they do it pretty fast, which makes it necessary to prune them periodically.

Pinch or clip new growth, as well as any leggy, weak, or dead leaves off your plant. If you want to maintain the plant dense and thick, you can also trim off the lengthy tendrils.


Wandering Jew Plants cannot tolerate frost and temperature below 45 degrees. So, if you planted your plants in mobile containers, it is best to bring them indoors during the winter months.

Pests & Issues

Pests & issues
Image Credit: Plant insects from Pxhere

As we stated above, WanderJew Plants are not that susceptible to pests. Nonetheless, you keep an eye on your plant to check if there has been any pest infestation.

Some of the common pest issues this plant may face include aphids and spider mites. These pests feed on dry leaves, so one of the best ways to get rid of them is keeping humidity high or misting your plant regularly.

You can also wash the plant off with water or use insecticides in a high infestation.

Among other issues, you can encounter the following:

Root Rotting

Wandering Jew Plants cannot stand clogged water for long. So, if the soil or the planter remains overtly wet for a continuous period, you may find rotting stems and yellowing leaves.

Wandering Jew Plants cannot stand clogged water for long. So, if the soil or the planter remains overtly wet for a continuous period, you may find rotting stems and yellowing leaves.

Fading Leaves

If your plant fails to get sufficient sunlight, it may experience facing leaves. So, choose an airy and bright place to plant Wandering Jews Plant.

Leaves Curling

While overwatering can rot the roots, underwatering can cause Wandering Jews to have curled or dry leaves. This, however, can give rise to pest issues as well, since aphids and spider mites love to feed on dry leaves.

That being said, do not worry if you notice fallen leaves that are mature and yellow. It’s natural!

Leggy Growth

It is natural for tradescantias to grow leggy after a few years. So, if you find the same with your plants, pruning or propagating could be the best solution. However, if the new and younger plants display a similar issue, you may check the watering level and consistency. Ligh on the water can cause leggy plant growth.

Propagating Wandering Jew Plant

Now, this is an exciting part, as it is pretty easy to propagate tradescantias by propagation. You can propagate these plants any time of year in the soil and water.

Propagation in Soil

  1. Using a sterilized garden shear, cut a couple of stems from your plant. Ake sure that you make a cut under the leaf node at a 45-degree angle. The length of the cut stems could be anywhere between 4- 6 inches.
  2. Remove the leaves from the end of the stem of each cutting.
  3. If you want to plant your Wandering Jew indoors, then grab a pot or hanging planter of at least 6 inches. Poke 2- 3 holes at the bottom for water drainage.
  4. Fill the container with potting mix. Ensure to fill the container leaving a 1-inch gap at the top.
  5. Depending on the size of the pot, make holes evenly (of 2 inches) at the edges and one in the middle.
  6. Plant one stem- cutting in each hole.
  7. Pat the surrounding soil to ensure the new cuttings are planted well.
  8. Finally, water the soil to keep it moist.
  9. Place the pot in a bright and indirectly lit area.

(Note: You can follow the above steps if planting outside in the garden. Just amend the soil with compost and plant your tradescantias.)

Propagation in Water

  1. Using a sterilized garden shear, cut a couple of stems from your plant. Ake sure that you make a cut under the leaf node at a 45-degree angle. The length of the cut stems could be anywhere between 4- 6 inches.
  2. Remove the leaves from the end of the stem of each cutting.
  3. Place the cuttings in a vase or jar filled with water. Remember to submerge the leaf nodes fully in the water. Within a week, you can find new roots growing.
  4. After about 2 weeks, transplant the newly rooted plants in an all-purpose potting soil.


Your tradescantia will tend to wander and crawl. So, if you see your plant is getting a little cramped in a pot, you can think of repotting it in a bigger container. You can choose the new container 1- 2 inches bigger than the current one.

For repotting, extract the root ball from your plant’s current pot and place it in the new one. Fill the new container with moist and well-drained soil for about a quarter half. Ensure that there are drain holes at the end of the new container.

Next, position the plant in the new pot, and add or remove topsoil as needed. Then fill to at least 2′′ below the edge of the new container. To secure the plant, lightly push down the potting mix. Afterward, water the newly potted plant sufficiently.


1. Is Wandering Jew Plants perennial or annual?

Ans. Wandering Jews are perennial evergreen plants that need to be cared for during winter.

2. How fast can you expect your plant to grow?

Ans. Your plant can grow fast if provided with primary care. In fact, under utmost ideal conditions, these plants can grow up to an inch a week, which gave it the name of inch plant.

3. Do Wandering Jew Plants produce flowers?

Ans. Yes, if you water and fertilize them sufficiently, they will produce petite flowers, primarily white, purple, and pink.

4. Can tradescantias live in water?

Ans. Overwatering can be fatal for your plant. Although tradescantias can sustain for sometimes in excess water, they will eventually die by root rotting.

5. Are Wandering Jews toxic to pets?

Ans. Although not deadly, Wandering Jew Plants can cause digestive and skin issues in pets if they consume or come in close contact with these plants.


So, by now, we are sure that you have learned all the basic things about growing and caring for Wandering Jew Plants.

These plants look great and are easy to maintain. They don’t need much care; propagating them is pretty easy, and you just need to water them regularly.

You can choose any type of tradescantia, as the primary care and growing methods remain the same for all of them. So, what are you waiting for? Go and grow your very one Wandering Jew Plants.

A happy Tradescantia to you!

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