Wandering Jew Plant Care

Also called an inch plant, the wandering jew (Tradescantia zebrina) is a creeping evergreen plant grown for its multicolored striped leaves that come in purple, green, and white. It grows outdoors in USDA Agricultural Hardiness Zones 8 through 11, or you can grow it as a houseplant. Established wandering Jewish plants require minimal maintenance and will thrive despite neglect. Most enjoy routine maintenance throughout the year so they look their best.

Wandering Jew Plant Care

Watering and humidity

Wandering Jew Plant Care

Soil moisture and moisture contribute greatly to the long-term health and vitality of Jew plants. Dry conditions often result in yellow, discolored leaves, while damp soil can cause root rot and disease. The Water Wandering Jew plants regularly from mid-spring to mid-autumn, allowing the soil to dry completely on the surface. In winter, cut the water in half to dry out 1 inch of soil. Potted water roams the Hebrew plants until excess water begins to drip from the pot’s drainage holes, and garden-grown plants to a depth of 1 inch. Always choose containers with drainage holes for this plant. Low humidity often causes roaming Jew plants to develop crisp edges on their leaves.

Fertilizer Requirements

Wandering Jew Plant Care

Despite their vigorous growth, wandering Jewish plants do not need much fertilizer. They require no more than one application of fertilizer per month during the growing season, and you can forgo one application every two months if they are growing in the shade. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of general purpose, 15-15-15 ratio fertilizer in 1 gallon of clean water. Replace one watering every four to six weeks with a solution. Stop feeding at the end of the summer to allow the roaming Jew plant to go dormant, then resume feeding in the spring when new growth begins. Fertilizers are rarely needed for stray plants in the garden unless the soil is sandy or porous. If the plant is nutrient deficient, use the same fertilizer solution and frequency as for container grown plants.

Pruning and care

Wandering Jew Plant Care

Wandering Jew plants often develop insidiously with age. Even young plants can have a long-lasting appearance that improves with light pruning. Pick off brittle, weak stems or leaves with discolored leaves when you see them. Remove them from the base and discard. Wandering Hebrew plants benefit from squeezing to encourage branching Cut the entire plant back to a quarter once the stems are 6-8 inches long. The spent flowers must also be removed to redirect the plant’s energy away from seed production. Pruning should be done with scissors that have been soaked for five minutes in undiluted household disinfectant and rinsed thoroughly.

Pest and disease control

Wandering Jew Plant Care

Pest problems are rare in vagrant Jewish plants, although aphids can occasionally bother them. Aphids themselves do little to no damage, but can transmit potentially dangerous viruses, so it’s important to get rid of them as soon as you spot them. Treat aphids by spraying them with a phosphate-free soap solution. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of soap in 1 gallon of water. Apply the solution weekly using an aerosol can, saturating the area where you see aphids. To prevent damage to the leaves, wash off the soap solution a few hours after each treatment. Repeat the treatment until the aphid is gone.

Wintering Tips

Wandering Jew Plant Care

In warm subtropical areas, wandering Jew plants can be grown outdoors all year round. In cooler climates, they need a little extra help to survive the cold. Bring the potted plants of the Wandering Jews indoors before the first frost and place them near a window with a south, west, or east exposure. Garden grown stray jew plants benefit from a 2 to 3 inch thick layer of light mulch during the coldest part of the year and regular watering at night when frost is forecast. Frost plants may look rough at the end of winter, but they will soon recover when temperatures rise.