Wandering jew, Tradescantia zebrina, is a herbaceous trailing plant often used as houseplants or in hanging baskets. Wandering Jew, also known as, Inch plant, is a traditional, easy-care favorite with variegated foliage. Find facts and information on growing wandering Jew and some of the best varieties available.
Wandering Jew Facts
Wandering Jew, Tradescantia zebrina (Zebrina pendula), is fast growing, trailing plant that grows 4-6” high by 12-18” wide. It is an easy plant to grow and propagate. It has variegated olive and cream colored foilage with purple undersides. It lends itself well to growing indoors as a houseplant, or in a covered area in hanging baskets.
Growing and Caring for Wandering Jew
Wandering Jew grows best when you provide it with bright, indirect light. This will keep the variegation strong, but the plants will tolerate medium light. They bleach out in full sun so make sure they are shaded. Wandering Jew makes very good houseplants to set around windows where they receive indirect lighting.
Cool to average home temperatures (55-75) degrees is optimum and will keep them compact. Give them 30% humidity to prevent the leaf edges from browing. Allow the soil to dry between waterings, but if they are in bright light they may require a little more water. Feed wandering Jew only three times in summer with foliage plant food.
They may be repotted as soon as their roots fill the container. Tradescantia zebrina can be pinched back regularly to keep it shrubby and not get leggy. If they do become leggy, prune them back severely to promote new growth. You can shower wandering Jew at times, to keep the leaf surface clean. It is advised to keep some new cuttings available as the plant gets older.
Propagation of Wandering Jew
Propagation of wandering Jew is done by taking stem cuttings and placing in soil or water. You can used pruned cuttings to start your new plants. Dip the cuttings into rooting powder for best results and tap off the excess, then stick into sterile potting soil. You can place them directly into water to root as well. When the roots get around 1/4 long, you can transfer them into potting soil.
Pests and Diseases of Wandering Jew
The main pest you will encounter will be mealybugs. This can be treated with horticultural oil.
- The cultivar ‘Quadricolor’ has more intense variegation.
- ‘Purpusii’ has bronze-green leaves.
- Tradescantia fluminensis- white-flowered wandering Jew.
- Tradescantia albifora is a synonymn for T. fluminensis.
- Tradescantia pallida is synonym for Setcreasea pallida, (Purple heart, Wandering Jew).
- Tradescantia pendula is synonym of Tradescantia zebrina.
*Tradescantia includes 5o species of plants many of which are classified as succulents. Other popular species of Tradecantia includes: Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia Spiderwort), and Tradescantia navicularis ( Chain Plant).