The Wandering Jew or Tradescantia


This is an easy, colorful plant to care for and it grows rapidly.  They flower seasonally with small purple flowers however, I like them best for the bright colorful foliage.  You may enjoy them best in a hanging pot, allowing their pretty leaves to trail down.  20160624_182114889

Where did the name come from you ask?  The Wandering Jew is a legend which basically follows that a Jewish man was cursed to walk the earth forever, therefore like this plant the Jew will eventually go everywhere.

This is where I started with this plant in October last year.  It’s grown quite big and long.  The wandering jew stands out with it’s purple underside, and green and iridescent silver bands leaves.


The original wandering jew I cut from the below hanging plant.  They grow quickly and are easy to propagate.  20161015_110621

Given too much bright direct light, the leaves actually turn more purple than silver or green as you can see here from this one cutting I have below.20170112_130304

Without enough bright light, the leaves turn more green and it loses it’s purple color.  The silver also becomes less bright.


So, this is a year later and you can see how long it’s gotten. I’ve made several cuttings from this plant in fact and have this plant all over my house either in water or in small pots.  I’ve made two other hanging planters with the T. Zebrina inside them.  You too can easily decorate your house with this plant.  If you have a friend, ask them for a small cutting.  You simply need to cut just above a node in the stem and place in water.


They sometimes will last in water for months and months as long as they have proper light.  You should also change out the water every month or so to keep it fresh.  Ensure you use distilled water or, if using tap water, let it sit out for 24hrs to let the chlorine dissipate.  I still like to add a little fertilizer to the water to give it some nutrients since it doesn’t not have the soil to provide that for it.20170112_192329

Light:  Bright, indirect light, but again, direct sunlight may cause it to be more purple to maroon than it’s normal green with silver stripes.

Propagation:  At any time, cut the stem and place in water.  You can also put directly into soil and it may also root that way.

Water: Keep moist through spray mist or watering into the soil.  Avoid watering directly at the crown because this may cause it some rot.  Additionally, leaves touching the dirt or those that are in contact with water typically will rot.  If you are growing hydroponically, then make sure to remove those leaves in contact with the water.20170112_192346

Below you can see one that I keep in the top shelf of my kitchen. It does well as long as you give it bright light.

Temperature:  Somewhere between 65 to 70 is suitable though, in the summers of DC I kept it outdoor and it was fine with the mild to high humidity.  Keeping it moist helped a lot otherwise they would dry out.20170112_192608

I like mine long and trailing however if you want a bushier look then pinch back to encourage the bushy growth.  When you pinch back, you can use that piece to grow another plant.  Take at least one leave with an inch of stem and place in either water or soil.

I hope you enjoyed this blog!  Keep on exercising that green thumb! Send me your suggestions and comments if you’d like!



  1. I like the purple color of leaves even the silky looked ones. TheY look healthy and stand out in a group of others.
    Thank you for the pictures,steps by steps of your life experience. I enjoy reading your blogs. I think you are a happy plants lover.

    Liked by 2 people

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