Wandering Jew is not a name of a single plant. There is a group of plants in the Tradescantia genus that is called wandering Jew.
People grow them for their beautiful flowers and foliage.
If you are looking for indoor vining plants then you should grow a wandering Jew plant. Today we’ll explain everything about these plants.
Wandering Jew plants have purple lines on their green color heart-shaped leaves. According to the variety, the leaves can be Solid or Variegated.
The common type of Wandering Jew Plants
There are three species that are considered wandering plants.
You can grow any species of wandering Jew in the outdoor garden and in plant containers. The care, maintenance, and propagation steps are almost the same for all types. Below is the proven care guide for growing wandering Jew plants.
For your convenience take a paper-pencil and make some important notes. Then work accordingly and have happy growing wandering plants.
This houseplant needs bright light to produce flowers and colorful leaves. Put the plant on a sunny window. But just make sure the direct sunrays cannot fall on the plant. They can damage the plant because direct sunlight damages the leaf tissues.
You can install a sheer curtain on the bright sunny window to protect your plant from hot air and high-intensity sunlight.
In too low light the plant leaves lose their bright color and look faded. In this case, just move the plant to a bright place. The faded leaves will get their color back in few days.
Do not use grow light for growing this plant. The normal light in the house is enough to grow it.
You can use any houseplant potting soil to grow wandering Jew. The soil has to be well-draining and rich in organic material.
The good news is you can use your garden soil in pots to grow it. But before using that follow the soil sterilization process. Sterilization of soil kills harmful pathogens and other bacteria.
Then for good growth of plants and to make it well-draining and aerated. Add few parts of organic compost.
If you do not like to use compost or have good knowledge of potting mixes. Then below is the formula of wandering Jew potting soil.
Perlite + Peat + Garden soil + Organic compost
Add all 4 materials in equal amounts. Then water the soil and see if the mixture you make drains well or not. You can adjust soil properties by adding these materials in large or small quantities.
Note: Soil is an important material to grow plants. It should be highly fertile and well-draining.
Watering wandering Jew plants
Water these plants when the soil is dry to at least 1 inch deep. Use clean water for watering Jew plants. Just water the plants from the top with a water jug. Do not use the deep watering technique. Make sure your plant pot has a draining hole. This hole helps to drain the unwanted water from the potting soil.
Excess water will cause root rot and block the air circulation in the plant root area.
To grow it indoors keep the room temperature between 60 to 80 degrees F. Below this range will cause serious problems to the plants.
If you like to grow it outdoors then the 50 to 80 degrees F temperature is the perfect range. Protect your plant from low temperatures. In Winters the temperature drops below 40 degrees F and this increases the problems for outdoor growing wandering Jew plants.
Move the plant pot inside on cool days of winters. Because no cold frame or Woven cloth can save your plant in case of frost. These techniques only increase the plant temperature to 3 degrees.
Wandering Jew does not like to fertilize but for proper growth, we need to give it a nutrient boost. The outdoor growing plants get everything from the ground. But container plants are totally depending on the grower. They cannot take nutrients from nearby growing plants as ground-rooted plants do.
Spring and summer seasons are best for fertilizing Jew plants.
For good wandering Jew plant care, you need to fertilize it once a month. Use liquid fertilizer because they are designed for container plants.
I prefer organic nutrients over synthetic ones. General-purpose fertilizer or compost tea will work like miracle for these plants.
For outdoor Wandering Jew use fish emulsion and liquid kelp.
Humidity plays an important role in the growth of Jew plants. Low humidity causes brown leaves. If the problem not fixed on time, then the entire plant turns into brown color and then dies.
In winters the main problem with these plants is low humidity. Because we have low air moisture on cool days. So, you need to increase your home humidity. To increase it turn ON the humidifier or group the plants together to form a small greenhouse.
Pruning is an essential part of the wandering Jew plant care routine. This is a vining plant it can grow long in size if you do not pinch and prune the vines.
Remember that trimming the plant also increases the new growth. So you need to trim it on regular basis.
Use garden tools for perfect pruning.
If your wandering Jew looks tight and uncomfortable in its pot. Then choose the 2 inches wide pot than the current pot for repotting. Wandering Jew needs good space for its roots. It is not a root-bound plant. The size and health of a plant is directly depending upon the health of its roots.
For repotting gently remove the plant from its old pot. Do not just pull, before that lose the soil with garden tools.
Check the roots, if you see any damaged parts remove them from the plant roots.
Then put the plant in the new pot and fill it with new potting soil. Now water the plant and put it back in its place.
Stem cutting is a highly successful method of wandering Jew propagation. Take the cuttings that are 4 inches long with some leaves.
Then dip them in the rooting hormone and directly plant them in the potting soil. Use the same type of potting soil that you use to grow the mother plants.
Give some water and put the plant pot in a warm location. The humidity of the room has to be above 60 %. The cutting will develop roots fast and easily in correct humidity.
The second method of propagation is using water as the growing medium. Put the stems in a glass of water. You will see that within few days, your cuttings develop roots. Once the roots are almost 2 inches long then you can transfer it to the plant pot.
It is mildly toxic to humans and animals. Skin irritation is possible when people come in contact with its sap. Therefore, grow it in hanging baskets Because your pets cannot reach that high.
If any skin irritation occurs contact your family doctor.
Common pests and diseases
Spider mites are the pests that you will see on dirty wandering Jews. These pests like to live and lay eggs in warm and dry locations. Mist the water on plant leaves and move the plant to the high humid area. This will solve the problem.
If the problem is worst then you need to use insecticidal soap or pesticide sprays. Firstly, use soap and wash your plants. This will surely help to kill them.
Then use rubbing alcohol to wipe them. If none of the solutions work then in the last use pesticidal sprays.
The common diseases with which this plant can suffer are related to excess watering. Overwatering invites fungi bacteria. In this case, limit the water to the plant. If the fungus is in roots, then you need to cut the infected part.
If the fungi are on the plant leaves then use a fungicide. Do not forget to cut and remove the rotted leaves. Otherwise, your entire plant will get infected.