Tradescantia fluminensis, also known as inch plant, is a spiderwort appreciated for its easy care and propagation.
Although its quick growth has earned this species a status as pest plant in many countries, it’s perfect for anyone looking to add a little green to their home without too much of a hassle. And if you love a splash of color, there are variegated cultivars with pale pink coloration as well!
Keep reading for everything you need to know about Tradescantia fluminensis care and growing Tradescantia fluminensis in your own home.
|Name(s) (common, scientific)||Inch plant, wandering jew (now usually wandering dude), small-leaf spiderwort, Tradescantia fluminensis|
|Recommended lighting||Bright indirect|
Tradescantia fluminensis light, location and temperature
Although Tradescantia fluminensis will survive in medium light locations, it actually prefers a well-lit spot with at least some direct sunlight (the scorching afternoon sun might be a little too much – morning or evening sun is ideal).
Variegated cultivars of Tradescantia fluminensis are especially fond of bright locations. They will lose their lovely coloration and revert to mostly green when deprived of light.
This plant is not fussy about humidity, so there is no need to find an extra humid location for it. As long as your intended location for it provides the lighting it needs there is no need to worry about placement.
If you can’t find a good location near a window, you can always consider supplementing with artificial light instead.
Tradescantia fluminensis is naturally found in South America. Luckily, this species it doesn’t require tropical temperatures to thrive and is actually quite hardy.
As long as your Tradescantia isn’t exposed to frost you’re probably good! A great option for slightly chillier windowsills.
Did you know? Tradescantia fluminensis is sometimes also referred to as Tradescantia albiflora. Houseplant taxonomy can be wildly confusing.
Tradescantia fluminensis soil and planting
Although Tradescantia fluminensis needs moist soil to thrive it does not appreciate wet feet, which means a well-draining soil type is in order. This can easily be achieved by mixing some perlite into a regular potting soil. Make sure the pot you use has a draining hole so excess water can easily escape. Unglazed clay pots are great for this purpose.
Tradescantia fluminensisis not fussy at all when it comes to pot size and can thrive in the same cramped pot for years. If you do eventually feel like repotting yours, Springtime is a good moment to do so.
Watering Tradescantia fluminensis
As mentioned earlier, Tradescantia fluminensis likes to be kept relatively moist but never wet. That being said, this is a very easy plant that won’t mind being forgotten or overwatered from time to time as long as you don’t make it a habit. It will let its leaves hang limp when thirsty but perks right back up when supplied with a few sips of water.
If you’re not sure how often you should water your Tradescantia fluminensis, keep a close eye on the soil and water once the top has dried out a little.
During the Summer growing season this point will likely be reached quite quickly, during Winter when the plant is not actively growing it might take a little longer.
Tradescantia fluminensis fertilizer
Like many houseplants, Tradescantia fluminensis appreciates a little extra fertilizer during the growing months (Spring through early Fall), but don’t overdo it. You can use a diluted liquid fertilizer once every month or so.
Don’t use fertilizer on any houseplant that’s not actively growing, as it might end up doing more harm than good by burning the roots.
Propagating Tradescantia fluminensis
All care aspects are easy with this plant and propagation is no exception. Plants of the Tradescantia genus are known for being incredibly easy to propagate, which, combined with its hardiness, has made this one a hard-to-beat invasive pest in some regions.
To propagate your Tradescantia fluminensis, snip a piece off your plant. As its common name suggests, an inch is enough! Then, just stick it in some moist soil. That’s it. Water as you normally would.
You can of course also propagate Tradescantia fluminensis in water and even grow it in a vase indefinitely. Just place the cutting’s stem in water and place the vase in a light spot. Change the water once every week or so.
Buying Tradescantia fluminensis
Tradescantia fluminensis is a little less popular than some of the other Tradescantia species, especially the plain green version. You should be able to find it in some plant stores and garden centers; be sure to look out for the various variegated cultivars with their lovely pink and purple stripes.
Don’t confuse Tradescantia fluminensis ‘Tricolor’ with Callisia repens ‘Pink Lady’. They’re similar in appearance but Callisia leaves are significantly smaller.
Is Tradescantia fluminensis toxic to cats and dogs?
The ASPCA lists Tradescantia fluminensis as lightly toxic to cats and dogs as it causes dermatitis. Placing this one away from pets is probably the best idea.
Keep in mind that if you don’t wear gloves while handling your Tradescantia fluminensis, you might notice some slight irritation on the skin of your hands. Nothing serious, though, and it should go away by itself eventually.