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The Easygoing Elegance of Wandering Jews: A Beginner’s Guide

The Wandering Jew (Tradescantia), with its cascading vines and vibrantly colored leaves, is a popular houseplant known for its resilience and easy care. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a complete beginner, this charming plant is a perfect way to add a touch of life to your indoor space.

Finding Your Perfect Wandering Jew:

There are over 70 species of Tradescantia, each offering unique color variations. The most common varieties for indoor gardening include:

  • Tradescantia zebrina: This classic type boasts green leaves adorned with silvery stripes down the center, and purplish undersides.
  • Tradescantia nanouk: This trendy variety features stunning tri-colored foliage with shades of green, cream, and a delicate touch of pink.
  • Tradescantia fluminensis: Often called the “Variegated Wandering Jew”, this type showcases a lovely combination of green, cream, and purple on its leaves.

Choose the variety that best complements your existing décor or personal preference.

Creating a Happy Home for Your Plant:


Wandering Jews thrive in bright, indirect light. Aim for 6-7 hours a day. South-facing windows with sheer curtains or filtered light are ideal. North-facing windows can work too, but the colors might not be as vibrant. While they can tolerate a few hours of morning sun, avoid harsh afternoon sun which can scorch the leaves.


Proper drainage is crucial. Use a well-draining, light potting mix. Standard houseplant mix is a good option, but consider adding perlite or coarse sand for extra drainage. Feeling creative? Make your own mix with equal parts potting mix, compost, and perlite/sand.


These easygoing plants don’t like wet feet. Water thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Avoid letting the soil dry out completely, but soggy soil is a big no-no as it can lead to root rot. Watering frequency will depend on light conditions and pot size. Observe your plant and adjust accordingly.


They prefer warm and cozy environments, between 60°F and 80°F. Keep them away from cold drafts and frost, especially if planting outdoors in colder climates.

Food and TLC:

While not strictly necessary, a light feeding during spring and summer with a balanced houseplant fertilizer can give your plant a boost. Avoid over-fertilizing, as it can damage the roots.

Pruning and Propagation:

Pruning isn’t essential, but feel free to trim leggy vines to encourage bushier growth. The beauty of Wandering Jews is their ease of propagation! Take a 1-2 inch stem cutting with a leaf node, plant it in moist soil or water, and keep it in bright, indirect light. Soon, you’ll have new baby plants to share with friends or add to your burgeoning indoor jungle.

Bonus Tips:

  • Repot your Wandering Jew every 1-2 years when the pot becomes crowded or the roots outgrow the container. Choose a pot with drainage holes slightly larger than the previous one.
  • Wipe down the leaves occasionally with a damp cloth to remove dust and encourage better growth.
  • Keep an eye out for common houseplant pests like mealybugs or spider mites. Address them promptly using organic methods like insecticidal soap or neem oil.

With a little care and these simple tips, your Wandering Jew will thrive, bringing a touch of cascading elegance and vibrant color to your home. So why not give this easy-to-grow beauty a try? You won’t regret it!

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