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A How to Guide for Wandering Jew Plant Care

Wandering Jew plant care is easy, I promise! As you all know, I enjoy having plants around. Whether at the cabin or here in San Francisco, having a few (or a lot of) plants will make a house a home. I’ve discussed a few of my favorite houseplant options, but today, we’ll focus on Wandering Jew plant care.


The Wandering Jew Plant is its common name, although it is sometimes referred to as the “Wandering Dude” or the “Inch Plant.” Regardless of what you call it, this vibrant plant is worth having. They stun with their bright, purply leaves, easy care, and bold look.

Wandering Jew Plant Care

Due to its quick growth rate and overall heartiness, these plants are considered an invasive species in some places. However, these characteristics make it an excellent option for indoor growth. I love that they grow fast! Don’t have a green thumb? Don’t despair – this plant’s extremely easy to grow!

Wandering Jew Plant Care of the Wild Variety

Wild Wandering Jew Plant Care

There are three main types of Wandering Jew plants. Each one falls under the Tradescantia genus, but it’s a good idea to know the difference between the types if you want to get the best results from your Wandering Jew plant care as possible.

  • The Tradescantia Fluminensis offers three-petal flowers with a mixture of dark green and white coloring. Natively, it grows in South America.
  • The Tradescantia Pallida—also known as the Purple Heart plant—is native to Mexico. It’s primarily a darker purple, although it does have light pink flowers to boot.
  • The Tradescantia Zebrina is especially common amongst the other types of small plants. Not only does this plant feature dark greens and purple, but it also has silver streaks along the leaves as well.

Of course, there are other varieties, but these three are the most common. Regardless of which plant(s) you pick, I highly encourage looking into the best growing conditions for that specific species. Even the smallest changes can make larger differences, after all!

Proper Wandering Jew Plant Care Starts With the Soil

Christian Petzold FpLWk V18Jo Unsplash

It’s simple, but picking the right soil can give your plant the boost it needs to help really brighten the area around it. Thankfully, the Wandering Jew plant doesn’t require any specific type of specialty soil.

You can actually even grow these plants in standard houseplant soil, although a well-draining, lighter soil is best. Ideally, the soil should contain a good amount of organic matter as well.

If you’re up for the task, you can actually make the perfect soil for your Wandering Jew plants by combining the following ingredients into a custom soil mix. 

  • Compost
  • Perlite (or pumice)
  • Peat Moss
  • Garden soil

Make sure to add each ingredient equally into your mix for the best results.

Don’t Forget Your Fertilizer for the Best Wandering Jew Plant Care

Fertilizer tips for Wandering Jew Plant Care

Choosing the right soil will get you started, but now is a good idea to start thinking about fertilizer. You won’t need fertilizer at the beginning. Actually, Wandering Jew plants don’t really need fertilizer at all, but using it can help make the colors really “pop” later on.

For indoor plants, a well-balanced houseplant fertilizer should be sufficient, while all-purpose solutions are fine for outdoor plants. Aim to fertilize your plants in the growing season, which runs from the spring to the summer months.

Liquid fertilizers can be used monthly, while slow-release, granular options should only need to be applied twice during the growing season. Once the fall and winter months come around, you can lay off fertilizing your plant until spring.

Picking the Perfect Place for Your Plants

Small Plant 1

So far, I’ve covered the basics of Wandering Jew plant care. You know the main types of plants to consider, the right soil to use, and your fertilizer options. Still, there’s a lot more to consider if you want to make the perfect growth environment for your plant.

From making sure your plants get enough light to optimizing humidity levels, there are a few more details to think about if you want to see new growth year after year. Here’s what you’ll want to know when trying to decide the perfect place for your new plants.

Fun fact – Wandering Jew Plants can be successfully grown both indoors and outside!

Lighting is Key for Wandering Jew Plant Care

Wandering Jew Plant Care

Getting the lighting right is essential to proper plant care, particularly if you’re after vibrant coloring. Too much light—such as full sun—can cause the leaves to burn. On the other hand, too little light will cause the colors to fade.

Opt for a place with bright indirect light. Indoors, this will usually be an East or West-facing window. This indirect sunlight will keep your plant safe from the sun’s fierce rays, especially during the summer months.

Growing your plant outdoors? In that case, any area with partial shade will work. Still, make sure to limit full sun exposure as much as possible to prevent burning.

Wandering Jew Plant Care Requires the Correct Temperature

greenhouse Wandering Jew Plant Care tips

Wandering Jew plants may be hardy, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to harsh temperatures. Aside from keeping them away from direct bright light, you’ll also want to ensure that the temperatures are ideal for growth.

The best temperatures are between 60° and 80° F. While the plants can survive a light frosting, you should really bring them inside if temperatures are below 60°F for more than a night or two. 

Thankfully, hot days don’t present as much of an issue. You might notice a bit of burning on the leaves from the extra heat, but the plant itself should recover just fine once the heat wave has passed.

Humidity

high humidity

High humidity levels are perfectly fine for these plants. Outdoors, you won’t have much control. Indoors, however, you should aim for a humidity level of 70%. Consider picking up a dedicated plant humidifier if you’re struggling to maintain the proper levels for your plant.

Watering & Wandering Jew Plant Care

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When it comes to watering your Wandering Jew plants, moist soil is best. As long as you have a well-draining pot, keeping the soil moisture at a reasonable level should be very easy to do. 

Although the plant is technically drought-tolerant, you want to avoid long periods of dryness when possible. To do so, you’ll just need to water it when the top few inches of the soil have dried out.

The perfect amount and frequency of watering will vary depending on placement, environment, and the time of year. However, just using your finger to check the soil should help you keep things consistent. Want more precision? Consider picking up a moisture gauge for your soil.

Pruning & Propagation

Propagation Station Link Wandering Jew Plant Care

A successful propagation can allow you to enjoy the pleasure of having multiple plants while only needing to buy one. However, to get that far, you’ll have to pick up a set of pruning shears and set aside a bit of time.

Wandering Jew plants tend to look pretty rough after a few years, making routine pruning important. Starting to see dead leaves? Trim or remove new growth—alongside dead or weak growth areas—to help improve the fullness of your plant.

To propagate, use 4”-6” stem with leaf cuttings that are cut from below the leaf node. Remove the bottom leaves and place the cuttings in moist soil. You can expect to see growth within a few weeks.

Repotting for Wandering Jew Plant Care

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With time, it’s possible that your Wandering Jew Plants will begin to outgrow their current pot. While you can certainly upgrade to a raised garden bed if you want maximum space, simply choosing a larger pot will also do. 

It’s a good idea to select a pot that’s roughly an inch or two wider than your current pot. Place fresh potting soil in the new pot before removing the plant from its current pot. Set the root ball in the new pot, get it into a centered position, and then begin adding soil.

Continue adding soil until the top of the soil sits roughly two inches below the rim of the pot. Compact the soil a bit to ensure the plant stays in place, and you’re done!

Common Wandering Jew Plant Care Issues

Wandering Jew Plant Care Commons issues
Photo via Smart Garden Guide

Like any popular houseplant, the Wandering Jew plant does have a few common problems that you might run into. Fortunately, even if one of your new plants is already suffering from these issues, they’re relatively easy to fix with just a little effort.

Pests

Pest problems with this plant are fairly limited. In fact, you’ll only really have two pests to deal with: aphids and spider mites.

Aphids can be easily dealt with by treating your plants with neem oil. Spider mites can usually be warded away by increasing humidity in the area (as they’re attracted to dry areas). In either case, you may be able to simply wash the insects away with a bit of water.

Of course, sometimes, things won’t be so simple. You may also end up dealing with other types of pests, like fungus gnats. In those cases, I recommend removing infected areas and using dedicated insecticides to solve the problem once and for all.

Diseases the Often Occur with Wandering Jew Plant Care

Disease, root rot, and other issues in your Wandering Jew plants often stem from an issue with over watering. You might be watering your plants too much. If not, it’s possible that the soil is holding too much water.

Start by reducing the watering frequency. If this doesn’t solve the problem, add some sand to your soil mix, and consider placing rocks at the bottom of your pot to help with this common issue.

It’s also a good idea to routinely take a look at the upper and lower leaves of your plant. Any discolorations—such as a white, powdery appearance or unexpected dark spot—could indicate your plant is struggling with disease. Research and treat accordingly.

Pet Problems

Drummer
In case you aren’t familiar – meet Drummer, the queen of the castle at 136 home

Whether your plants serve as part of your outdoor decor or spend their time indoors in a hanging pot, there’s no reason for your pets to interact with your Wandering Jew plants. In fact, doing so could cause issues as these plants are somewhat toxic and can cause skin irritation.

Placement can help prevent most issues, which is why I recommend placing these trailing plants in a hanging basket up high. Just make sure to trim the vines from time to time, keeping them out of the reach of your four-legged friends.

Final Thoughts

Wandering Jew Plant Care A summary

Wandering Jew plant care is fairly basic, making these plants a great option for those new to plant parenthood. While there are a few precautions you’ll have to take if you want to give your plant the best chance of success, I truly believe that anyone can do it.

So, are you convinced yet? Are you ready to add one of these trailing beauties to your home? If so, make sure to let me know how it went. I love hearing about people’s plant collections, and I always want to know if you have any tips or tricks of your own.

Well, that’s all I have for you guys this week, but I’ll be back next week with more fun ways to personalize and perfect your living space. Thanks for reading, I love you guys!

Check out some of my other posts if you’re looking for more plant-based projects.


FAQs About Wandering Jew Plant Care

Does Wandering Jew plant need full sun?

Definitely not! While only giving these plants only a little light won’t produce great growth, giving them too much light can burn the foliage. Instead, aim for indirect sunlight. 

Where is the best place to put a Wandering Jew plant?

East and West-facing windows work best for indoors, while partial shade is fine for outdoor plants. If indoor humidity is an issue then the bathroom might work best for you.

How do I keep my Wandering Jew plant happy?

Jew Plant care is fairly simple. As long as you make sure to avoid over watering, keep it in the ideal environment, and make sure it gets enough—but not too much—light, your Wandering Jew plant should live for a few years.

Does wandering Jew spread?

Yes! In fact, it spreads so aggressively that it’s considered to be an invasive species in many areas. As such, I would check your local laws before placing this plant outdoors.

Is Wandering Jew an Indoor Plant?

While it can be grown outdoors, most people choose to grow the plant indoors. This not only simplifies the care required, but also helps prevent the plant from spreading around the area.

Why is my Wandering Jew Dying?

Water and moisture are generally the two main culprits. If your plant is losing leaves, drooping, or becoming discolored then you should check things in the following order: water, moisture, soil conditions, temperature, lighting. Chances are, it will be easy to save your plant, but you’ll first need to identify the issue(s) at hand.

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