Plant Families

Tradescantias

Tradescantias, also known as spiderworts or wandering Jews, are low-maintenance houseplants that have been kept in homes for centuries. As they mature, they trail and vine, and look excellent in hanging planters and high shelves. They bloom tiny, purple flowers and often sport colorful foliage with pink, purple, or white variegation. 

So, why are they nicknamed wandering dudes? The true story behind the name gets a little sticky, but we'll save that for another time. Tradescantias are known as wanderers because in nature, they spread around with ease, and in the home, they are one of the easiest plants to propagate in soil or water. They are adaptable and grow quickly, and one healthy plant can supply you and your friends with cuttings for generations.

Tradescantia plant in the window 

GENERAL CARE

LIGHT 
Bright indirect light, but can adapt to lower light environments.

WATER
Water once a week or when the top 2-3" of soil dry.

FEEDING
Use diluted plant food once a month in the spring and summer. Stop feeding in the fall and winter since the plant goes dormant and will not need the extra nutrients.

TOXICITY
Toxic when ingested in large amounts.

Care instructions are usually consistent for most tradescantias, but we always recommend researching your specific plant to make sure you get it right the first time. Search your plant in our Plantopedia for assistance.   

COMMON ISSUES

Tradescantias live their best life in bright indirect light, but often are placed in medium light situations. This is fine, but it can cause the plant to grow quite leggy, displaying long stems and little foliage. To prevent this, you can place it in brighter light, but we know that everyone doesn't have the luxury of ceiling to floor windows. Alternatively, you can keep your plant under a grow light, or regularly prune it back, placing the cuttings back into the soil for a fuller look.

 Tradescantia cuttings propagating in the water

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