Submerging a Wandering Jew Plant

Wandering Jew by Jim-AR
Wandering Jew by Jim-AR

TheGardenLady received this question from Jonathan:

Can a wandering jew be completley sumerged in water and still live?

The plant commonly called Wandering Jew or Inch Plant, Tradescantia Zebrina is considered one of the easiest plants to grow as an indoor plant and if you live in zones 9-11 as an outdoor plant as well. One only has to pinch off a piece of the stem with some leaves (you can even start new plants from the leaves) and stick the stem part in water and it will root. Leave the rooted stem in water, do not let the roots dry out and the plant will grow to be a beautiful indoor hanging type plant and even may produce flowers. It thrives in bright but indirect sunlight- the brighter the light the more flowers it will produce, though it is mainly grown for its lovely foliage.

The Wandering Jew is not an underwater plant, so it does not want to be completely submerged. The plant really wants light on its leaves. If you want to keep it in water, you might get root rot. Either toss the rotten plant out or cut off and toss out the rotted root part and put the healthy plant in fresh water to start new roots.

Of course the plant will do better in soil. So now that your plant has made roots in water, plant those rooted pieces in potting soil. Keep the soil moist all the time. The plant even likes its leaves misted daily for added moisture.  See here.  However, TheGardenLady never bothered with the daily misting and the plant is so hardy, it thrived. The plant enjoys diluted liquid fertilizer, especially if it is grown in water, for extra nutrients.

Wandering Jew in Bloom by StoneWheel
Wandering Jew in Bloom by StoneWheel

This is an ideal plant for dorm rooms and for people who want green plants but feel they have “black thumbs”.  And it is an attractive plant for your home. TheGardenLady can almost guarantee that you will have success with this plant. Keep on cutting off small stems with leaves and putting them in fresh water to start more plants.

If you go to buy a Wandering Jew plant, you will often see it sold in a large hanging basket. No one I knew ever bought one. People just pinched off stems from someone else’s plant and started growing the plant successfully.You can almost go into business with all the plants you can start so easily. Starting a plant is called propagation.

I have read that for some people handling the plant can get an allergic reaction. So use gloves when cutting the stems and don’t handle too much. This Garden Lady has never known anyone who had a problem.

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