How To Propagate Tradescantia Pallida

Tradescantia pallida is a delicate evergreen perennial grown as an ornamental for its eye-catching purple foliage. It is native to northeast Mexico, from Tamaulipas to Yucatan. Joseph Nelson Rose gave it the name Setcreasea pallida in 1911, but D.R. Hunt of the Royal Botanic Garden Kew classed it in the genus Tradescantia in 1975. S. pallida or S. purpurea, the former names, are still frequently used.

This herbaceous plant in the Commelinaceae (spiderwort family) is a low-growing trailer that is commonly known as purple heart or purple heart wandering jew (and occasionally “Moses in the Basket, although this usually refers to a different species). It is hardy in zones 7 through 10, but it is easily grown as an annual or houseplant in colder climates.

On thick stalks, dark purple, lance-shaped leaves up to 7 long are produced alternately. The fleshy leaves create a sheath around the stem and are covered in light hairs. The stems are exceedingly delicate and can snap off when brushed or vigorously kicked. It will wither down to the ground in the winter in colder climates, but in the spring it will reappear from the roots. The sprawling plants can extend much farther and grow to a height of nearly a foot.

At the ends of the stems, relatively unnoticeable pink or pale purple blooms with vivid yellow stamens appear from midsummer through fall, as well as intermittently at other seasons. The three petals on these half-inch broad blooms are characteristic for this genus.

Purple heart can be grown as a houseplant, as a ground cover, as a trailer in a variety of containers, or cascading in baskets. They spread rather quickly and work best when planted in large groups in the ground. The purple foliage complements other plants’ pink, light purple, or burgundy blossoms beautifully and contrasts well with their gold, chartreuse, or variegated leaves. For striking combos, use it with complementing hues. scarlet begonias, orange marigolds, or chartreuse coleus.

Try putting it in a container with golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ or other types), Marguerite beautiful sweet potatoes, or light green asparagus fern. Alternately, pair it with coral-colored scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea ‘Coral Nymph’), pink petunias, or lavender or pink verbena. Four o’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa), lantana, scaveola, vinca (Catharantheus roseus), and Mexican petunia are other recommendations for plants with pink or purple flowers (Ruellia brittonia).

For best color development, cultivate purple heart in full sun; plants grown in shadow tend to be more green than purple. Plants can grow more compactly if you pinch them. Plants can withstand drought and grow when neglected, but they also accept constant watering. When you are actively growing, fertilize every month. After flowering, prune plants to keep them from becoming spindly. Reduce watering throughout the winter and hold off on fertilizing houseplants or those grown in containers to be kept indoors during the winter. Scales and mealybugs can be a nuisance, but purple heart has few other pests. Some people and dogs may have skin redness and irritation from the juice from the leaves or stems, but this is not a frequent issue.

Simply push a node into the soil or potting mix to get a cutting from any section of the plant to root, and plants can be readily propagated (or place in water until roots develop). This plant can also be grown from seed, however that material is infrequently accessible.

Is it possible to grow tradescantia in water?

One of the simplest houseplants to grow, tradescantia is a great contender for water propagation. Cutting a piece of a plant and sticking it in a glass container of water so you can watch it grow roots is really all there is to water propagation. In general, watching the new roots develop is quick, simple, and incredibly enjoyable.

You must utilize a clipping of the entire stem while growing tradescantia in water (unlike some plants which will grow new roots directly from a leaf stalk). Here is a step-by-step instruction guide with pictures so you can see exactly what to do.

Plant choice:

In these pictures, I’m utilizing a Tradescantia albiflora ‘Nanouk’. It is a fantastic tradescantia with variegated leaves that are sugary pink and green. Of course, they all grow quickly! But all tradescantias, including my other favorite Tradescantia zebrina, will grow successfully using this method of propagation.

If you have multiple plants, pick one that is strong, pest- and disease-free, and has a lot of new growth.

Time of year:

Auxins, the plant hormones that aid in promoting new growth, are often present in higher concentrations in the spring, which is the greatest time of year to propagate houseplants. However, tradescantia are excellent at producing new roots, and I have been able to do it with mine even during the dead of winter. Just be aware that it will take a bit longer…

Make the cut:

To reproduce, you need a short portion of stem; I typically find that cutting a section that is four leaves or less long is the ideal length. To ensure that what is left on the plant doesn’t wither, cut the stem slightly above a leaf (if you cut it higher above a leaf, the leftover bit of stem will eventually die back to the leaf, which can look a bit unattractive and make the plant more prone to getting a disease.)

Use a sharp, efficient tool to cut the stems: I think floral snips work best for these soft stems, but secateurs or simple, sharp kitchen scissors would also work well.

Depending on how big your parent plant is, you can remove more than one stem at a time. Try to avoid chopping off more than a third at once to avoid shocking the plant.

The parent plant will typically branch out and grow more stems where you’ve cut it, so you’ll eventually have a bigger plant as well as some new baby plants!

Strip the stem:

Remove any leaves along the stem’s bottom half so that whatever is submerged in the water is leaf-free. This means that where I’ve cut it, the bottom two leaves are gone, leaving the upper two. Simply use your hands to gently peel them off. You want to make sure the stem area is clear since any leaves left below the water line can begin to rot and cause the cutting to deteriorate as well as contaminate the water with algae.

Put into water:

Add water to the stem. As the test tube-shaped glass bottles’ lip keeps the leaf out of the water while keeping the stem submerged, I like to use them.

Special propagation kits, like mine, are available here. However, any container that can hold water will do. Simply make sure that the leaves at the top of the stem are always above the water and the bottom of the stem, where the roots will grow from, is always submerged in water.

Ongoing care:

Place your propagation unit in a location with direct, bright light, and check on it occasionally.

I always do all of my propagation out of this window in my kitchen. Although it appears to be very bright in this picture, the window faces east, so it only receives the mild morning sun. A North or East facing window would be preferable because it would provide the best light without scorching the leaves like a South or West facing window would. To stop algae growth, top off the water as it evaporates and thoroughly refill it once a week. Simply hold it under the faucet and continue to pour water into it while the old water drains out of the top to avoid spilling anything inside and injuring any growing roots.

Depending on the time of year and the environment, you should be able to see the cutting begin to produce roots in around three weeks.

It will first develop thin, spidery roots (see the picture below), but after some time, they should thicken out into a strong root network.

Potting on:

The cutting can be potted up into compost and left to grow until the roots have developed a strong network. To grow a bushy plant of tradescantia, it is a good idea to pot up several distinct cuttings. In most cases, depending on the size of the pot, I would choose anything between three and six.

Use a pot that is just below the rim, fill it with a peat-free houseplant compost, and water it first. Then, taking care to cause as little damage to the roots as possible, carefully remove your cuttings from the glass. In order for the cuttings’ roots to continue to grow, poke a few holes along the compost’s edge and gently tuck them in.

Because water-grown roots differ slightly from soil-grown roots, it can occasionally be difficult to move water-propagated plants into compost. At this stage, it’s crucial to maintain the cutting in ideal conditions, with good bright, indirect light and the soil kept evenly moist, as it adjusts to its new home.

Ideally, the plant will begin to grow quickly within a few weeks, and you’ll soon have a brand-new plant!

More info:

Tradescantia are really simple to grow in compost as well. You can prepare your cutting using the same technique as before, but instead of submerging it in water, place around four lengths of the stem around the perimeter of a container filled with compost. However, I find it slightly less pleasurable this way because you can’t watch the roots grow; instead, you just need to hope everything is okay under the soil! Keep the compost uniformly moist, and they will grow just as quickly (plus, you won’t need to worry about shifting them over).

Is Tradescantia pallida capable of aquatic growth?

Tradescantia Cuttings from Purpurea pallida can be easily multiplied by allowing them to root in water or immediately in the ground. It’s preferable to use a clean, sharp knife or a pair of scissors to make your cutting from a mature, healthy plant. Just below a segment node, trim the stem. The best rooted cutting is 4 to 6 in (10 or 15 cm) long.

For a plant like Tradescantia Purpurea, which has thick stems, water-based propagation is particularly effective. The cuttings are put in a glass container with lukewarm water to do this. In order to prevent rotting, make sure there are no leaves buried in the water. The cuttings should be placed in a bright area, but away from direct sunlight as this could hinder them from taking root.

All you need to do is make sure they constantly have enough water; roots will appear one to four weeks after being planted. Plant the cuttings in a pot with some light commercial potting soil when the roots are a few inches long. You can root multiple cuttings and place them all in one pot to grow a larger plant.

If you choose to reproduce the plant directly in the soil, place the cuttings in a container with moistened potting soil after removing the stem’s lowest leaves. As long as they don’t overlap, you can plant more than one cutting. Place your pot in a bright area away from direct sunlight and wrap it in a clear plastic bag that you can seal with an elastic band. Considering that the plastic would keep all the moisture inside, you don’t need to water the plant. When new growth starts to show on the stems after about a month, you can remove the plastic without risk.

As soon as the top layer of soil feels dry, water should be applied to the newly rooted plant. To keep the plant from rotting, keep the soil moist but not saturated. Every month, fertilize the freshly rooted plant with a water-soluble fertilizer.

To propagate Tradescantia, where do I cut it?

The simplest approach to grow new plants without purchasing more at the nursery is by using inch plant cuttings. Use a sharp, clean pair of shears or a knife to make cuttings. The ideal length for cuttings is 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10 cm).

You can plant your cuttings in a container with regular potting soil once they develop roots. Place it where it will receive moderate to strong light and temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (13-24 C).

Is Tradescantia simple to grow?

Tradescantia, sometimes referred to as “spiderwort” or “wandering guy,” is a great plant to have on hand if you’re trying for an indoor jungle feel with your houseplant decor.

It is both quick growing and easy to reproduce, which makes it the ideal plant for indoor gardening entertainment. It looks to grow an inch per day, which is why it is also known as the “inch plant.”

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Additionally, because spiderwort spreads so quickly, you can start with a little specimen and soon find yourself knee-deep in newly propagated spiderwort, which makes expanding your resident population of houseplants affordable.

I’m going to go over all three ways to propagate new plants from the stems of a parent spiderwort plant.

How long does purple heart take to spread?

Purple Heart is simple to spread. It can either be multiplied from seeds or stem cuttings. The majority of gardeners, however, often reproduce this succulent through cuttings because seeds are not frequently accessible.

To do this, simply follow the 5 steps listed below:

Step 1: Use a clean, sharp knife or a pair of scissors to remove a few healthy stems from the mother plant that are about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) long and just below a segment node in the spring or early summer.

Step 2: Cut off the lowest leaves from the cuttings before planting them immediately into a potting mix container that has been wet. As long as they don’t overlap, you can plant more than one cutting.

Step 3: Seal the clear plastic bag around the pot or container using elastic rubber. As the plastic will hold the moisture within, you should have to water it less frequently as a result.

Step 4: Place your cuttings until they root in a sunny area out of direct sunlight.

Step 5: You can now remove the plastic from the pot once new growth begins to show on the stems (this normally takes about a month).

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