Wandering Jew Plant Care - Growing & Propagation Guide

Written by Ivy

Jan 11 2023

Wandering Jew Plant Care - Growing & Propagation Guide

Growing wandering jew plants is entertaining, and there are many varieties to choose from. You can grow Tradescantia either indoors or outdoors by following the instructions provided in this in-depth wandering jew plant care guide.

Because of their distinctive bright colors and vining growth pattern, wandering jew plants are very popular. When placed atop a pedestal where the tendrils can cascade down, or in hanging baskets, they look stunning.

Wandering Jew Care Overview

Scientific name: Tradescantia
Classification: Tropical plant
Common names: Wandering jew, wandering dude, inch plant
Hardiness: Zones 9-11
Temperature: 50-80°F
Flowers: Light purple, white, or pink
Light: Partial to full shade
Water: Consistently moist, do not overwater
Humidity: High to average humidity
Fertilizer: General purpose in spring and summer
Soil: Houseplant potting soil
Common pests:

Spider mites, aphids, fungus gnats

Wandering Jew Plant Care



Bright indirect light is necessary for the Wandering Jew plant to produce its vibrant leaves and flowers. The color of the leaves dwindles in direct sunlight.

Their leaf colors will begin to deteriorate and become dull if they don't receive enough light.

An east or west facing window would be the best place for a wandering jew plant indoors. In this manner, the plant will receive plenty of natural light in the morning and evening as well as bright indirect light the rest of the day.

If you decide to move your plant outside for the summer, be sure to place it where it will be shielded from the intense afternoon sun in the shade or a spot with some shade.


Watering a Wandering Jew plant involves giving it a good soak, letting the top 2 to 3 inches of soil dry out, and then giving it another soak. The leaves become stunted and turn brown if the soil is extremely dry and the plant is placed in direct sunlight. On a Wandering Jew plant, a lack of water can also result in brown, crispy leaves. Typically, older growth is first affected by this issue. More severe overwatering can cause root rot.


When a Wandering Jew plant is putting forth new growth, feed it once a month with water-soluble houseplant food that has been diluted to half the suggested strength. A plant food with a high nitrogen content can be used to fertilize a Wandering Jew plant to encourage it to produce more vibrant leaves. Bright leaf colors fade when plants receive too much fertilizer.


Maintain temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 and 26.7 degrees Celsius) for Wandering Jew plants.


Humidity, especially a lot of it, is another essential for growing a wandering jew plant successfully indoors. The leaves start to wilt and turn brown when the humidity is too low for a wandering jew.

The main difficulty with growing them inside during the winter is this. Keep your home's humidity as high as you can when the air is particularly dry. Running a humidifier close to your wandering jew plant is one simple way to raise the humidity level there.



The Wandering Jew plant can produce small white, pink, or purple flowers under the right growing conditions.


Pests that affect wandering Jew plants: Although these plants are generally resistant to pests, aphids, scale, and mealy bugs can be a problem. The website's glossary contains images of these plant pests as well as information on how to get rid of them.


Wandering Jew plant diseases: The high humidity that helps the plant grow better also encourages fungal and bacterial idiseases


When it comes to its potting soil, Wandering Jew is not picky at all. It was grown in pure, unadulterated houseplant potting soil. You can add some perlite and/or peat moss if you really want to step things up, but it's not absolutely necessary.

To enjoy the sight of the leaves cascading down, the majority of houseplant lovers prefer to hang their wandering Jew. But it's not required to do this. A large, shallow planter, a terrarium, or even semi-permanent submersion in water are other ways to highlight the species' creeping growth habit.

Pot Size

Check the root ball frequently to see if a larger pot is required because the Wandering Jew plant grows quickly. Repot plants in the spring if necessary. Make sure there are drip holes in the bottom and use the pot size that is one size smaller than that.


How to prune a Wandering Jew plant: Don't be afraid to prune the plant aggressively when the stems become very long and leggy as the plant ages. When pruning, always make the cut above the leaf node, which is where a leaf joins the stem. Be patient; the trimmed stems may take some time to bush out. The clippings from the stems can be used to grow new plants.


Take stem cuttings in the spring, summer, or fall to propagate Wandering Jew plant. The website's glossary contains more information on how to propagate a plant using plant cuttings.

Poisonous Plant Info

A Wandering Jew plant has Level #1 toxicity, making it only mildly poisonous. Small children, cats, and dogs are all poisoned by it. The plant's caustic sap has the potential to irritate skin or result in a rash. However, it is regarded as secure when used in bird or reptile enclosures.


Pest Problems of Wandering Jew Plants

Even though indoor Wandering Jew plants are not often the source of pest infestations, a few of them can. The best way to keep your plants healthy is always to take quick action against any pest issue, whether it be inside or outside in the garden. Additionally, it guarantees that the pests won't spread to your other plants, causing even more issues and hassles.

The pests most likely to infest your indoor Wandering Jew plants are:

  • Aphids: Aphids, which come in a wide variety of colors and are tiny, pear-shaped sap-sucking insects, typically assemble in large groups along the stems of Wandering Jew plants. They can kill the plant or severely weaken it in cases of severe infestation. If the infestation is minor, you can use a damp cloth to wipe the pests off the stems. The plant will likely need to be sprayed with an insecticidal soap or Neem, repeating the application as directed on the package, if the infestation is severe.
  • Spider Mites: If left unchecked, spider mites are another sap-sucking pest that can quickly kill or weaken the Wandering Jew. Spider mites are tiny, white pests that cover the plant with fine webbing, making it simple to identify if you have a problem. A swift control of spider mites is required because they can be the bane of indoor plants. Spray Neem or an insecticidal soap all over the plant, reapplying as directed on the product label.
  • Whiteflies: If not promptly controlled, whiteflies, another sap-sucking pest, can quickly kill or weaken your Wandering Jew. Another easily recognizable pest, they can be distinguished by the tiny whiteflies that fly out of the plant's foliage when it is touched and hover just above the plant. Use an insecticidal soap or Neem to eliminate the issue. Spray the entire plant and repeat as directed on the product's label.
  • Mealybugs: Cottony masses covering the stems and crotches of the foliage are the first signs of sap-sucking mealybugs on the Wandering Jew. Spray insecticidal soap or Neem on the entire plant to solve the issue, reapplying as directed on the product's label. You can also use a damp cloth to remove them from the stems and leaves if the infestation is minor.

Growing Wandering Jew Indoors

Bring your wandering jew plants inside before the first frost in the fall so you can keep them growing as houseplants all winter.

While maintaining a wandering jew plant indoors can be challenging, with the right care, you can keep your plant growing year after year, which is totally worthwhile!

The proper watering, humidity, and lighting are the most crucial factors to take into account when growing wandering jew indoors.

Propagating Wandering Jew

This is unquestionably among the best species to begin with if you've never propagated a houseplant before. It quickly takes root in both soil and water, which makes it simple to fill countless planters for personal use or to give as gifts.

A pair of spotless scissors is all that is required to propagate your Tradescantia zebrina. Here's how you do it:

  1. Branch ends should be trimmed. The best depth is one or two inches with a few leaves.
  2. So that the stem can be seen, remove the leaves at the bottom.
  3. Plant the cutting directly in the ground or place it in a glass of water to root it. To give the mother plant's pot a fuller appearance on top, insert cuttings back into it.
  4. The first roots should appear in about a week, although it can take a little longer in the winter. Soil cuttings can be gently tugged on to see if they have rooted.
  5. Your attempt at propagation will be successful once the first signs of new foliage appear!
  6. If you used water for propagation, you can keep the rooted cuttings in water almost indefinitely; however, you can also pot them in new soil.

Rooting in Soil

  • A 6-inch to 1-gallon draining container should be filled with a rich, well-drained potting mix. To help the soil settle, water it.
  • Where you want to plant the Wandering Jew cutting, make a 2-inch indentation in the ground.
  • Cut off the bottom leaves of the cutting before planting it in the ground. Pinch them off with your fingers to accomplish this.
  • With your fingers, press the soil around the cutting firmly into the indentation.
  • Place the cutting in the same light conditions where the mother plant was thriving and give the soil another round of watering. Keep the soil damp but not drenched.

After about eight weeks, the Wandering Jew cuttings should develop a new root system. Root formation should take around four weeks.

Rooting in Water

  • 3 inches or so of room temperature water should be placed in a glass jar or plastic container.
  • Pinch off any foliage from the Wandering Jew cutting's area that will be submerged in water.
  • Place the cutting in the water, then put the container somewhere bright inside.
  • Replace the water in the container every two weeks or whenever it becomes cloudy.

In a few weeks, the cuttings ought to start developing new roots. You can repot the cuttings into a draining container filled with fertile, well-drained soil once the roots are several inches long.

Wandering Jew Varieties

A wandering Jew can be classified into one of three subspecies, Tradescantia zebrina var. zebrina, var. flocculosa, and var. mollipila. Naturally, nurseries have also been able to produce a large number of cultivars through selective cultivation since it has been a well-liked houseplant for so long.

A few of the popular Tradescantia zebrina cultivars you may come across in your local plant store include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Tradescantia zebrina ‘Quadricolor': Yes, this one does add an additional color to the mix, as the name suggests. The leaves come in four colors: cream, pink-purple, light green, and dark green.
  • Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy': characterized by a very dark purple hue.
  • Tradescantia zebrina ‘Silver Plus': Less purple and more gleaming silver.
  • Tradescantia zebrina ‘Red Gem': Less silver, more intense (light) purple.
  • Tradescantia zebrina ‘Purple Joy': More dark purple and less silver.
  • Tradescantia zebrina ‘Tikal': a rare, naturally occurring variety that collectors will pay a lot of money for.

Do keep in mind that most of these cultivars aren't patented and that there is a ton of mislabeling and variation within a cultivar. It's not surprising that confusion sometimes rules the land when your wandering Jew is grown in lower light levels because this can completely alter how it appears.


Common Questions About Inch Plant Care

How Do I Make a Wandering Jew Plant Bushy?

Wandering Jew plants are not by definition bushy. They naturally become leggier over time, especially in containers, due to their habit of creeping growth. To give the plant a fuller appearance, you can strategically pinch off any long, spindly stems. You could also replant these stems close to the original plant. The young plants will fill in bare spots and give the appearance of a bushy wandering Jew as they mature.

How Long Do Wandering Jew Plants Live?

The lifespan of wandering Jew plants is only a few years, and as a potted plant, you will notice that it is getting very leggy after just two to three years. Cutting back a wandering Jew doesn't do much to renew its growth, unlike other quickly expanding plants that gain from pruning; it merely controls the spread. Propagating new plants from stem cuttings, which is fortunately very simple and has a high success rate, is the best way to keep your plant coming back year after year.

Is Wandering Jew Perennial?

The Wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina) is a perennial that trails and is hardy in USDA zones 9 through 12. Wandering Jew is grown indoors all year long in climates where it is not winter hardy.

Are Wandering Jew Plants Toxic to Cats and Dogs?

Even though Wandering Jew isn't regarded as being particularly toxic, it can still irritate the skin. Don't worry too much if your pet eats a plant, but you might want to check its mouth to make sure there isn't an abnormally large swelling. Make sure to include water.

If you need to handle your wandering Jew plant, wearing gloves might be a good idea to avoid developing skin rash. This is especially true if you have sensitive skin.

Why Are My Wandering Jew Plant's Leaves Losing Their Color?

The leaves of your Wandering Jew will start to lose their color and become duller if the light levels are too low. Make sure the Wandering Jew is growing in a location receiving bright light when grown indoors and to maintain the bright color on the foliage.

Why Are My Wandering Jew's Leaves Dropping?

When exposed to inadequate lighting, Wandering Jew plants begin to lose their leaves at the base of their stems. Change the plant's indoor location to one that is brighter to solve the issue. They prefer a brightly lit indoor environment for the best leaf color and growth.

Why Are My Wandering Jew Cuttings Rotting in Soil?

One of two things may be the cause of your Wandering Jew cuttings rotting in the ground. It's possible that the cuttings' growing medium contains a fungus that is causing rot in them.

By putting the cutting in a clean, well-drained potting mix, the issue can be resolved. The soil staying too wet and the container not draining could also be the cause.

Use a container with bottom drainage, avoid overwatering, and make sure the soil you use drains well and doesn't stay soggy. When the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, water the cuttings.

Can I Root Wandering Jew Cuttings in Water?

Cuttings from wandering Jews take to water very well and root. Remove any leaves that would be submerged in a container that has been filled with several inches of water before sticking the cut end into the water.

Every other week or so, fill the container with new, clean water. On the cuttings, root formation should begin a few weeks from now. You can repot the cuttings in a draining container with rich, well-drained soil once the roots reach a length of several inches.


Grow your Wandering Jew plant in soil that drains well and is kept moist but not soggy by routine watering. Create humidity, maintain indoor temperatures between 50°F (10°C) and 85°F (29°C), and fertilize each month.