Tradescantia fluminensis | Inch plant care & info

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
Difficulty level Easy
Recommended lighting Bright indirect
Water Water often
Soil type Well-draining

Tradescantia fluminensis light, location and temperature

Light

This plant’s care requirements are very similar to those of its more popular ‘cousins’, Tradescantia zebrina and Tradescantia spathacea.

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.

Location

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.

Temperature

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 'Tricolor' on white background | Full inch plant care guide.
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© womue on Adobe Stock.

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 houseplant

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.

Pink and white variegated inch plant (Tradescantia fluminensis)

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.

You can buy Tradescantia fluminensis cuttings online here!

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.


If you have any more questions about Tradescantia fluminensis care or if you want to share your own experiences with this super fast grower, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!


9 thoughts on “Tradescantia fluminensis | Inch plant care & info”

  1. Hi, I bought a tradescantia fluminensis recently on Facebook but have found after cutting back the excessive green leaves (and leaving mostly verigated ones), it’s very spindly and leggy! I’m also noticing the pink leaves turning brown and crispy despite the soil being moist will it revive in the spring?!

    Reply
    • Hey! Be sure to let the soil dry out a bit more during winter before watering again, plants don’t need as much water during this season. But yeah, I’d say just wait until next spring/summer when it grows well – you can always give the plant a fuller look by cutting vines and replanting them into the same pot until it reaches your preferred “density”. Then it won’t look so spindly anymore 🙂

      Reply
  2. I acquired a reverted fluminesis… I can’t find any information – with light or trimming or time, anything at all- if the color will return. Is it possible to get the variegation back?

    Reply
    • So it went back to green? Is there still any variegation on there? For variegated Philodendrons and such, it’s usually recommended to cut back to where the last variegated leaves are and hope that the plant branches out with more variegated foliage. I assume this works for Tradescantias as well. Good luck 🙂

      Reply
  3. I live in Cyprus. My plant was doing well untill the temperature changed suddenly (from 28°C to over 42°C) in a couple days and the green color of the plant faded considerably! Is that normal?

    Reply
    • Oof! Yeah, I guess that’s normal when temperatures soar like that. Plants are slow beings that don’t like drastic changes. That being said, as long as you keep watering well (you’ll have to water more than usual), I don’t expect this to be fatal to a vigorous grower like Tradescantia fluminensis. It might just be a little ugly for a while. Good luck with those temperatures! I thought it was hot here in Spain!

      Reply
  4. Hi, I live in spain and have one of these plants. The tips of the leaves always end up looking burnt and brown, even newly-grown leaves despite keeping the plant away from direct sunlight. Any idea how to avoid this happening?

    Reply
    • Hey, I live in Spain too!

      Are you keeping yours lightly moist? If you have a hygrometer, have you checked the humidity? I don’t think your home has to be super humid to grow this one successfully but it might still be too low. Lastly, I haven’t heard of this one specifically being sensitive to the minerals and chemicals in tap water, but if that’s what you water with, that might play a part. I don’t know about your area but our tap water is terrible in terms of hardness and the amount of chlorine/chloramine.

      Sorry I can’t be more specific, it’s always difficult to diagnose a plant that you can’t see! I hope you can figure it out.

      Reply

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