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This post shares tips for growing and propagating a wandering jew plant aka Tradescantia Zebrina plants! This marvelous and vibrant beauty goes by the common name of Wandering Dudes or Wandering Jews.
It’s an absolute delight to have as a houseplant because it requires minimal care and is easy to propagate. This plant is perfect for beginners looking to venture into gardening and cloning their own plants.
The propagation of the Wandering Jew is a breeze. This post will how to make the most of those stem cuttings from a parent plant and guide you through the process of propagating it.
- Wandering Jew: A Plant with Many Names
- Tips for Propagating Wandering Jew Plant
- Propagating Wandering Jew Plant in Water
- Propagating Wandering Jew Plant in Soil
- Best Wandering Jew Plant Care Tips
- Frequently Asked Questions About Propagating a Wandering Jew Plant
- Want More Plant Care Guides?
Wandering Jew: A Plant with Many Names
The official scientific name of the Wandering Jew plant is Tradescantia zebrina. It belongs to the Tradescantia genus and is known for its eye-catching foliage.
However, this plant has many names that can vary depending on where you are and who you talk to.
Some of the common ones you might come across include Wandering Dude, Inch Plant, Spiderwort Plants, Zebrina Pendula, Zebrina Plant, Tradescantia Zebrina, Tradescantia Pendula, Silver Inch Plant, Silver Stripe Plant, Striped wandering jew, and Zebrina Wandering Jew.
Sometimes this plant is confused with the tradescantia Pallida, the most popular of the spiderwort family being the purple heart. You may also be confused with the Tradescantia Fluminensis which is a more invasive species native to southeastern Brazil that spreads very quickly.
It’s interesting how different regions and even different people might have their own preferred name for this lovely plant. And keep in mind, there are other varieties and species within the Tradescantia genus that might have their own unique common names as well.
Wandering Jew plants display a variety of colors and patterns in their thin, heart-shaped leaves. Some varieties display shades of purple and deep green with stunning silver stripes. and some produce small three-petaled flowers in white or violet.
While there are different varieties within the Tradescantia genus, collectively referred to as Wandering Jew, it’s important to note that there are diverse characteristics, including variations in foliage and flower colors, as well as differences in growth behavior depending on the variety you have.
Although the general techniques such as stem cuttings and water propagation can be applied to most varieties.
Tips for Propagating Wandering Jew Plant
This post provides tips for growing and propagating the Wandering Jew plant (Tradescantia zebrina). It introduces the plant’s various common names and highlights the ease of propagation through stem cuttings.
Here you will learn two propagation methods: water propagation and soil propagation. It also includes care tips for lighting, watering, and fertilization, as well as addressing common pests and concerns for this common household plant.
Grab a Cutting from a Healthy Beautiful Plant
To take a cutting, grab a pair of clean scissors with a sharp blade, preferably sterilized with alcohol. When choosing a plant cutting it is best to select one with a node from healthy stems. A node is a small protrusion that looks like a bud on the stem.
How to Cut
Make a clean cut just below the node, as this is where new growth and root development occur during propagation.
If you can’t find a node, it is possible to propagate this houseplant by grabbing a stem right below the newest leaf. It’s a good idea to select a cutting that has reached the length of 4 to 6 inches.
Propagating Wandering Jew Plant in Water
Now, let’s dive into propagating your Wandering Jew in tap water, which is an easy way to do it, especially when you have a clear container to watch the root growth happen.
I usually use a clear jar of water so I can monitor the plant’s roots during this stage. You can use any container you want for this part but I like to see the cut end, so I always know what is going on.
When placing your cuttings in the container filled with water, be sure to submerge the node while keeping the green leaves above the rim of the container. Roots will begin to form as fast as one week but it could also take a little longer so being patient is important.
For optimal growth, it is best to not let the plant sit for a long time in the same water, change it weekly as long as necessary.
Tips for a Healthy Plant After the Water Propagation Process
After about a week, or 3, the roots of your plant should have grown a couple of inches. This is the part where having a clear container really comes in handy. Alternatively, you can check the plant roots when changing the water each week to check the growth rate.
Once your plant has grown a couple of inches or your stem cutting has grown new roots that have reached a couple of inches, it’s time to plant your new houseplant in the pot of your choice following the care tips below.
Prepare a pot by filling it a little more than halfway with fresh potting soil, specifically well-draining soil.
Gently position the stem cuttings, with roots reaching down into the bottom of the pot and the stem cuttings in an upright position within the soil.
Choose a sunny windowsill as the ideal spot for your new plant to receive sufficient light. Remember to water and fertilize it using your usual Wandering Jew care routine.
For the best tips for caring for your new wandering jew plants, see the section offering the best Wandering Jew plant care tips below.
Propagating Wandering Jew Plant in Soil
My favorite way to propagate a Wandering Jew is with the potted plant method. I find this to be an easier way to do it because there is no need to monitor the roots and once the plant is established, there is no need to deal with potting mix, my plant is already set up.
The first step is to fill your chosen pot with well-draining potting soil. These plants are great in a hanging basket so be sure to keep that in mind when choosing the post for this beautiful houseplant.
When starting a new plant it is fine to leave some space at the top so the cutting is not buried too deep. Just a little ground cover is all that is required although I usually fill the pot to avoid having to pull out the potting soil again.
I think some people leave this gap so they can monitor the leggy growth of these tradescantia plants. However, it’s your plant so do it however you want because, with a little care, either method will work just fine.
How to Cut
The same rules apply to how to obtain a cutting, no matter which method you choose to use. Use pruning shears or sharp scissors at a 45-degree angle to cut the bottom leaf node from the mother plant.
Make a clean cut just below the node, as this is where new growth and root development occur during propagation.
If you can’t find a node, it is possible to propagate this houseplant by grabbing a stem right below the newest leaf. It’s a good idea to select a cutting that has reached a length of 4 to 6 inches.
Remove lower leaves and consider using rooting hormone for faster rooting.
How to Plant
Plant the cuttings in a pot with drainage holes, about 2 inches deep, gently patting down the soil around the plant.
If you struggle with keeping up with watering and want to keep moist soil for your indoor plants, you can use the plastic bag method.
This method involves placing a plastic bag over the top of the pot and securing it with a rubber band. This allows the soil to retain water and give the plant as much moisture as it needs in between waterings although be careful not to give your plant too much water.
You just want to keep the soil moist during this process and if your indoor environment is extra dry as many homes are during the Winter months, this may be a good way to fix your problem.
Beware that if your soil contains excess water you may cause root rot and kill off your plant.
You could also incorporate Peat moss which is known for its ability to retain moisture and improve soil aeration, which can be advantageous for the health of your Wandering Jew plant.
Once your plant has rooted, you can remove the plastic covering. You may be wondering how you will know if your plant has rooted when it is covered in soil.
After a couple of weeks, you can give your plant a gentle tug to see if there is any resistance, if this is the case, your plant has rooted itself and you have officially earned your green thumb!
Best Wandering Jew Plant Care Tips
Proper care for your Wandering Jew plant encompasses essential aspects such as lighting and watering. By providing the right lighting and watering routine, you’ll create an optimal environment for your Wandering Jew plant to flourish with its vibrant foliage.
To ensure the best care for your Wandering Jew plant, providing it with the right lighting conditions is crucial. These plants thrive in bright indirect sunlight, making an east-facing window location an ideal spot for them.
This allows them to receive the gentle morning sunlight in the Summer months while giving them partial shade in the heat of the afternoon.
While Wandering Jew plants can tolerate low-light conditions, it’s important to note that they may gradually lose their striking silver streaks or tropical plants look over time if they only receive little light.
The leaf colors can be a good indicator of the health of this popular houseplant. Green leaves of certain varieties can be a sign that they are not receiving enough light, and this can also hinder their ability to produce new blooms.
On the other hand, too much light and heat can have adverse effects on their growth as well as the appearance of the plant’s leaves. It’s essential to strike a balance by providing them with an adequate amount of light without subjecting them to too much direct sunlight.
I would suggest not placing this plant in full sun and making sure to rotate the pot a few times a month.
By placing your Wandering Jew in bright indirect light near an east-facing window and monitoring its exposure to bright light, you can create an optimal environment for its growth and enjoy its vibrant foliage to the fullest.
Proper watering is crucial for the health of a Wandering Jew plant. While it thrives with regular watering, it’s important to avoid consistently moist soil. Allow the top two inches of the soil to partially dry out before the next watering.
Signs that it’s time to water include dry topsoil, leggy or brown leaves, leaf curling, dead leaves, or dropping.
However, some leaf drop near the base is normal. Be cautious not to overwater, as it can cause the colorful foliage to change into different colors and soft, rotting stems. Avoid watering directly into the center of the plant and ensure the pot drains completely.
During the winter months, when growth slows, reduce the frequency of watering and during the growing season, increase watering. Pay attention to the soil and leaves, this will be your best indicator for knowing what your plant needs.
For optimal growth and health, fertilizing your Wandering Jew plant is essential. Prepare a gallon of water and dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of water-soluble fertilizer, ensuring it is thoroughly mixed. Feed this nutrient-rich solution to your plant once a month to support healthy growth.
During the spring and summer, increase the frequency to every other week, while in the autumn and winter, fertilize once a month. Regular fertilization will help your Wandering Jew thrive and maintain its vibrancy.
Wandering Jew plants are susceptible to common pests like spider mites and mealybugs. Spider mites, in particular, are often caused by dry indoor conditions and low humidity levels.
To combat these pests, wash them off with water and regularly use insecticidal soap or rubbing alcohol. It’s important to maintain appropriate humidity levels and avoid overwatering to prevent their infestation and ensure the overall health of your plant.
Frequently Asked Questions About Propagating a Wandering Jew Plant
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