How to Propagate Wandering Jew (Tradescantia Zebrina) – 2 Easy Ways
Tradescantia zebrina or Wandering Jew is a plant loved for its striking looks and hardy nature. These plants can be grown both indoors and outdoors in America. They thrive in warm climates and are pretty easy to take care of.
Read on for a complete guide on how to propagate Wandering Jew.
- 1 When to Propagate Wandering Jew
- 2 How to Propagate Wandering Jew in Soil
- 3 How to Propagate Wandering Jew in Water
- 4 How to Care for Wandering Jew after Propagation
- 5 FAQs
When to Propagate Wandering Jew
Propagating Wandering Jew plants is very easy and has a high success rate. They are adaptable and can survive even if you neglect them a little.
There is no perfect time for propagating a Wandering Jew plant, they can grow in any kind of weather. So if you want to propagate your Wandering Jew, don’t worry about waiting for a particular time.
They will grow faster during the summer and spring than during the winter, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be propagated during the winter. Wandering Jews are not winter-dormant.
How to Propagate Wandering Jew in Soil
Propagating Wandering Jew plants in soil takes a little more effort than propagating them in water. Both methods have a high success rate, so you don’t need to worry about your efforts going to waste.
Step 1: Take Cuttings
Taking cuttings the right way is crucial for propagation. Use a sterilized sharp blade or pruning shears for clean cuts. If possible, cut at a 45-degree angle to help the cuttings take root faster.
You need to cut below a leaf node. These leaf nodes will sprout roots for the propagated plant. If there aren’t any leaf nodes, just make a cutting below the newest leaf. Your cuttings should be about 4 to 6 inches long.
Let the cuttings dry out so they can form calluses. This protects the cuttings from rotting once they are planted.
Step 2: Prepare the Pot
Take a pot at least 6 inches tall with a draining hole and fill it with a good potting mix. Leave 1 inch of space at the top of the pot. You can also use a hanging basket as Wandering Jews look great in hanging displays.
Make 2-inch-deep holes in the soil and plant your cuttings in these holes. Make sure they are spaced out evenly and have enough space to grow. Pat down the soil around the cuttings to make them more stable.
Step 3: Aftercare
Make sure the pot stays in a well-lit area. Too much direct light will harm the cuttings, so keep the pots in a partially shady area that receives plenty of indirect sunlight. Water the pot evenly so that all the cuttings receive sufficient water.
Alternatively, you can secure a transparent plastic bag over the pot. This will trap the moisture and you will only need to water the plant once in a few weeks.
You will start seeing new growth in a month.
How to Propagate Wandering Jew in Water
Wandering Jews can be propagated in water too. This method works great for thick-stemmed plants and is a lot easier too. If you are an amateur gardener or don’t have too much time, you can try propagating your Wandering Jews in water.
Step 1: Get Cuttings
Take several cuttings from your Wandering Jew plant. Make sure to use a sterilized blade to eliminate the risk of disease. Make cuts at a 45-degree angle below leaf nodes.
Leaf nodes are small stubby protrusions on the stems that grow into buds or leaves. This is where the roots will sprout during propagation. The cuttings should be at least 4-6 inches long.
Step 2: Prepare the Water
Take a clear glass or jar large enough for your cuttings. Ideally, the top should be wider than the bottom. Fill it with lukewarm water.
Before putting your cuttings in the water, cut off the leaves on the bottom part of the stem. If any leaves are left submerged in the water, they will start rotting. Add water whenever needed to maintain the water level.
Step 3: Aftercare
Place the jar on a windowsill where it will receive partial sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can be harmful to the plant, so avoid south-facing windows.
You should start seeing roots within a couple of weeks. When they reach a length of 3-4 inches, you can remove them from the water.
Plant them in a good potting mix and use a pot with a draining hole. You can plant many young plants together to create a nice, lush look.
How to Care for Wandering Jew after Propagation
Caring for a Wandering Jew plant is fairly easy. It needs a moderate amount of water, so water deeply but let the soil dry out before you water again.
You can reduce the frequency of watering during the winter as they rest when the temperature starts dropping. These plants love warm weather and will thrive in summer and spring.
They don’t need a lot of fertilizer. Applying fertilizer twice a year is enough, ideally once in summer and once in spring.
Don’t place them in areas that get direct sunlight. Wandering Jews love warmth but direct heat will damage the stems. Find spots that receive filtered or indirect sunlight throughout the day.
Wandering Jews start getting leggy growth after 2-3 years. To grow a bushier plant, you can just snip off stems, propagate them and plant them back in the same container as the mother plant.
Be on the lookout for aphids. They are attracted to thick-stemmed plants and create a huge infestation if left unchecked.
Observing the leaves is a pretty good way to gauge if you’re watering the Wandering Jew plant well. If the leaves look washed out, start to lose their signature variegation or get droopy, you need to water it more.
On the other hand, if the leaves start turning yellow, you need to cut back. It could be a sign of root rot, which will kill your plant. Always let the soil dry out before you water again.
Do you cut above or below the node?
While propagating plants, always cut below the node. This way, when you propagate the cutting, the node will start growing roots. This works for both propagating in soil and propagating in water.
If you can’t find any nodes on the plant, you can cut below the freshest leaf for the same effect. Remember to remove the leaves by cutting them or twisting them off.
There shouldn’t be any leaves in the lower part of the stem that is buried in soil or submerged in water. If there are leaves on the lower part of the stem, they will start rotting during propagation and make the cutting unviable.
Can you propagate a wandering jew from a leaf?
It is not technically impossible, but it has a very low success rate. It is quite unlikely that a leaf will grow into a new plant. Frankly, it is a lot more trouble than it is worth.
We suggest you try propagating with cuttings either in soil or in water. If you don’t want to spend too much effort, you can propagate your Wandering Jew in water. It doesn’t need any care till you transplant the cutting to a pot.