I have a wandering Jew plant that is in a hanging pot. The first year it did great. Now I have noticed that the whole top half of the plant is now diying and turning brown. However the plant itself is very long and the from mid way down it is doing fine. Should I cut the good half of the plant and put these long pieces a new pot or water to root. If I do nothing will I lose this plant altogether. I have tried moving it to different locations and it still looks horrible. I am at a loss as I have been told this is a fairly easy plant to grow. I have taken clippings and potted a few of them they are doing great, I need help..I do not want to lose this plant..
Maybe you're overwatering it, or the light was insufficient over the winter. Either way, W.J. is a very tough and tolerant plant and it's doubtful that you will lose it. Definately cut off the healthy looking portion and plant the trimmings (or put them in water to root). Then I would cut the remaining bare stem pieces back to about 2 or 2 1/2 inches and move to bright light if it isn't getting bright light now. Don't water too often, just don't let it get bone dry. You should see new leaves emerging in about 2 weeks. You might want to give it a light feeding (less than half strength) if you haven't this year yet. If you can put it outside where it won't be ravaged by strong winds or direct sun, it should move things along more quickly. There are really only two ways to kill a Wandering Jew - overwatering or underwatering. I forgot to mention above that you should take a look under the leaves to make sure you don't have mealy bugs or spider mite. My guess is you don't. Cutting to back would still be the best thing to do for the plant. You just don't want to root the cuttings if you have a bug infestation.
I don't know what it is, but I've had terrible luck with wandering jews. I had a beautiful one when I lived in Illinois. It was thriving more than most of the plants I've seen. But when I moved to AZ it slowly started to die off no matter what I tried (more light, less light, more water, less water). I also got a wandering jew when I moved to Oregon, and it is in the dying process now that I'm in California (of course, there was a period of time where I underwatered it and I think that might have something to do with it dying now). I'm wondering if it needs humidity? If so, that might explain why my plants did so well in Illinois and Oregon but not in AZ or CA. Perhaps your plant is in too dry an indoor climate, graydotsdog? Of course, this is only a theory based on my limited experience with killing the plants myself. Anyone know if my theory is anywhere close to being correct? I love the plants so much, but I'm hesitant to get another one now that I've killed two, unless I know better how to care for them.
If it's dying at the soil level, you can root the cuttings in water or in potting soil. I don't know why tradescantia's (wandering jew) plants do this but every one I've ever had does the same thing ... I just root cuttings for new plants. They root quickly.
I have grown Wandering Jew for a long time and this always seems to happen around year 3 or so for me...the middle portion in the pot turns brown and drops leaves...and the long cascading parts grows fine.
I just always cut them off and root them in water and start over again.
I bought a new one this year since we moved...and the tag I got on it says it's a perennial groundcover...this might explain the middle portion browning up...maybe it needs a dormancy period.
I don't know about up north but down here in the south it can be used as groundcover. It will spread like wildfire. It dies back during cold weather and comes back every spring. It gets a little too wild as groundcover for me so I keep mine in a large pot in full sun on my front porch. I leave it out year round and only bring it inside if they are calling for a freeze.