How To Propagate Tradescantia Sillamontana

Add potting soil or organic debris on top of the seeds. Plant in the spring or at the end of the fall.


In cooler climates, take cuttings in the spring; in warmer climates, in the fall. When planted in a smaller pot with moist potting soil in a warm, well-lit area, stem cuttings take root quickly.

How is Tradescantia reproduced?

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 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).

How is a Tradescantia Sillamontana grown?

An lovely evergreen perennial in the Commelinaceae family of spiderworts is called Tradescantia sillamontana. It is sometimes referred to as White Velvet and Cobweb Spiderwort. It is a cute little plant that prefers full sun for optimum growth.

Exposure to direct sunlight should be avoided since the leaves can burn. It is advised to gradually acclimate plants to increased light levels. Sparingly water plants and let them dry out a little between waterings, but never let them go completely dry. In sandy, rocky, well-draining soil, it thrives.

The erect habit of Tradescantia sillamontana results in the production of oval, succulent, grey-green leaves that are covered heavily in soft, white, cobwebby, and woolly hairs. The leaves are placed in two opposing ranks and can grow up to 5 cm long.

At the terminals of stems, in between the leaves, in the summer, tiny 3-petaled pink-purple blooms bloom. The Royal Horticultural Society has given this species the Award of Garden Merit.

Tradescantia plants were once referred to as “Wandering Jew” plants. The horticulture community no longer uses this name since it was once associated with antisemitic notions.

Does Tradescantia Sillamontana grow inside?

Tradescantia is a simple plant to grow, and you’ll find the plants to be fairly hardy. These plants often flourish in acidic (pH 5 to 6) soil that is damp, well-drained, and moist. Although tradescantias thrive in partial shade, they may also grow in full sun as long as the soil is maintained hydrated.

Tradescantia can also be grown indoors under the right conditions. Give the plant either a soilless mix or potting compost based on loam, and keep it in filtered strong light. In order to promote bushier growth, you should also pinch out the growing tips.

If possible, let it spend the warm spring and summer days outside. When it is actively growing, water sparingly and fertilize every four weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer. In the winter, use little water.

Water these plants frequently, especially if you’re keeping them in containers, as they prefer to be kept very moist. After the flowers have finished blooming, cutting the plants back can frequently encourage a second bloom and assist avoid re-seeding. About 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) from the ground, cut the stems back.

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.

When does Tradescantia begin to take root?

  • Cuttings are an easy way to multiply inch plants. Cut a section of the plant (the ideal length of the cutting is 34 inches) and submerge the cut end in water. Roots should start to appear on the cutting in approximately a week (or less). After about a week, put the cutting in a pot using the aforementioned planting instructions.
  • No significant issues with insects or diseases.
  • The stems and leaves are frequently affected by aphid problems. Keep an eye out for aphids and other tiny insects because if left unchecked, they could become a problem. Pinch off the infected stems and water the plant to get rid of them.
  • Soggy soil can lead to stem and root rot.
  • Be aware that some people have skin irritations after coming into contact with plant sap.

How much time does Tradescantia require to root in water?

This picture shows how well my plant was doing thanks to the increased sunshine and warmer temperatures. However, it had reached the point where the stems were just sort of hanging there and it appeared as though it had outgrown any hairstyle it may have had (like many of us during lockdown). Untangling the stems is simpler if you can do it on a flat surface.

Take your plant somewhere well-lit and give it a nice, close inspection first. Look under the leaves for any pests (or leaf markings that can indicate pests), damaged areas, or withered stems. Use healthy stems while propagating, not ones that appear to be already half-dead.

Make sure your scissors are thoroughly clean, sterile, and sharp before cutting anything. You don’t want a hacked-up stem when you cut the stems; you want a fluid cut!

The exciting/daunting part now is to carefully move around the plant, snipping as you go, at the stem’s base or where a stem branches off from another. Really lengthy stems should not be rooted, and stems that are straggly and have a few sets of leaves are desirable (you can see what I mean in the photos that follow).

Remove any dry, crunchy stems as you chop them and discard them. Although it seems simple, avoiding having dried stems mixed up with healthy stems that are ready for preparation makes things easier in the long run.

You shouldn’t bother rooting any really long stems, as I said above; keeping them all at roughly the same length or grouped loosely into “groups of lengths” will make your new plant look neater and encourage excellent, compact development. The following image displays this phase:

This step might be ignored if you’re new to houseplants, but for me, it’s what keeps my cuttings’ odds of successfully rooted high. Take your stem cuttings and use scissors to remove the bottom few leaves. By doing this, you improve each stem’s ability to take root because roots can only grow at these locations. This is good practice because having a leaf submerged in water might encourage things like mould or algae in the water, even if your cuttings might still be starting to root at this time. Additionally, when it comes time to pot the cutting, you’ll need to remove the leaves anyhow!

These stems are ready for propagation because the bottom leaves have been removed.

The following images I shot for my Instagram stories further illustrate the process:

Here, it’s important to note that tradescantia cuttings can thrive when planted directly in the ground or rooted in sphagnum moss. Although this is a matter of taste, I find that I truly enjoy watching roots develop! Additionally, I discover that when I root in water, I have a higher success rate since I can watch the roots and see if any stems are in trouble.

You’ve reached the point when you’re prepared to immerse the stems in water. Glass bottles are excellent since they often have a tiny neck and can retain these thin stems effectively, but you can use a variety of containers. I create these propagation stations myself. Fresh water should be added to your container until the stems are completely submerged. I don’t change the water’s composition. Make sure the stems are not sitting in an empty container as they can start to sweat and cause the cuttings to rot. If it’s warm, you might need to top off your bottles every few days as the water evaporates.

Here is how my plant looked after… hardly much is left! Although I won’t toss this out, I’ll water it normally and watch to see what growth appears. You can re-plant this sad-looking pot if your potting soil is particularly dry, trimming back any dead roots.

When water propagating cuttings, another frequent query is “how long does it take?” and “when do I pot them?” You might be able to see some little roots that have developed in the glass closest to the lens in the image below. This is the result of a week of water-based rooting. Your cuttings’ time to root will be greatly influenced by the environment; factors like temperature, warmth, humidity, and light will all be important. Before planting the roots, wait till they are between 12 inches long.

Keep in mind that roots in water are different than roots in soil, so it may take them some time to become used to being in a container. When I plant my cuttings, I like to use a well-draining potting mixture, such as peat-free multipurpose compost with additional perlite and orchid bark. As the stems adapt to planting, make sure to water your plant frequently. After a few weeks, resist the urge to remove the cuttings for a closer look; they will be busy establishing roots below the soil’s surface and will thrive if left alone. “A watched pot never boils,” as my grandmother used to say.

Finally, I looked back over my Instagram account to show you the entire process. This is how this particular plant developed from cuttings. Instead of planting the cuttings in an excessively large pot, I believe the key is to keep the plant in a small-to-medium-sized pot and perform a few re-pottings over the growing season. This indicates that the plant will focus its efforts on producing roots rather than leaves:

So there you have it, a step-by-step tutorial on how to grow a new tradescantia plant from cuttings. I hope you find it useful because I received quite a few requests to put this information together in an article.

I did some repotting over the weekend, so my subsequent article will be a “repotting diary.”