Tradescantia Species, Inch Plant, Wandering Jew

Tradescantia zebrina

Family: Commelinaceae (ko-mel-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tradescantia (trad-es-KAN-tee-uh) (Info)
Species: zebrina (zeb-REE-nuh) (Info)
Synonym:Commelina zebrina
Synonym:Cyanotis zebrina
View this plant in a garden


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage

Good Fall Color

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Under 1"

Bloom Time:


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From leaf cuttings

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Auburn, Alabama

Fairhope, Alabama

Huntsville, Alabama

Irvington, Alabama

Jones, Alabama

Montgomery, Alabama

Toney, Alabama

Tuscumbia, Alabama

Anchorage, Alaska

Mesa, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona(2 reports)

Tucson, Arizona(2 reports)

Brea, California

Capitola, California

Los Angeles, California(3 reports)

Pleasant Hill, California

San Diego, California

San Jose, California

Cotopaxi, Colorado

Henderson, Colorado

Bartow, Florida

Big Pine Key, Florida

Bradley, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Delray Beach, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida(2 reports)

Hollywood, Florida

Homestead, Florida(2 reports)

Islamorada, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Key Largo, Florida

Key West, Florida(2 reports)

Keystone Heights, Florida

Lake City, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

Miami, Florida

Naples, Florida

North Port, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Port Orange, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Saint Cloud, Florida

Sebring, Florida

Sugarloaf Shores, Florida

Summerland Key, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Tavernier, Florida

Umatilla, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Winter Haven, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Athens, Georgia

Griffin, Georgia

Hawkinsville, Georgia

Mcdonough, Georgia

Honolulu, Hawaii

Indianapolis, Indiana

Poland, Indiana

Olathe, Kansas

Benton, Kentucky

Ewing, Kentucky

Geismar, Louisiana

Metairie, Louisiana

New Iberia, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Zachary, Louisiana

Columbia, Maryland

Lusby, Maryland

Oakland, Maryland

Milton, Massachusetts

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Madison, Mississippi

Mathiston, Mississippi

Ava, Missouri

Maryland Heights, Missouri

Manorville, New York

Southport, North Carolina

Stedman, North Carolina

Eastlake, Ohio

Duncan, Oklahoma

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Sand Springs, Oklahoma

Brookings, Oregon

Harbor, Oregon

Marshalls Creek, Pennsylvania

Pittsfield, Pennsylvania

Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes

Ladson, South Carolina

Rock Hill, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Hendersonville, Tennessee

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas

Brownsville, Texas

Burleson, Texas

Cedar Creek, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas

De Leon, Texas

Dickinson, Texas

Edinburg, Texas

Emory, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Houston, Texas(3 reports)

Killeen, Texas

Mission, Texas

Montgomery, Texas

Odessa, Texas

Richmond, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Spring, Texas

Spring Branch, Texas

Sugar Land, Texas

Danville, Virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Lakewood, Washington

Liberty, West Virginia

Madison, West Virginia

Volga, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 10, 2014, ponywoman from Olathe, KS wrote:

We've had a horse farm since moving just SW of Kansas City in 1971. I usually have over 100 potted plants at any one time & have worked tirelessly over 40+ years with my garden & plantings around our farm. ALMOST AS BAD as fighting thistles in a horse corral is the deep purple Wandering Jew that must have escaped from my pots over 35-40 years ago as I have not had a Wandering Jew since moving here in '71. But I spend hours on the north side of our house, pulling this stuff out by hand. It always comes up in the spring & I spray with Roundup, Spectricide, etc which kills the sprouts but it never stops coming as evidenced by my 40 year fight with it. I try to pull before it blooms--the blooms identical to Tradescantia zebrina. About 20yrs ago I planted a lovely golden sport of what I'd alway... read more


On Apr 11, 2011, lwaits from Covington, TX wrote:

I found a sprig in a Lowe's shopping cart, took it home. 8 months later, I have a beautiful hanging basket. It's not a full bushy plant yet...but we're working on it. This plant really has the "will to live". This has really become my favorite plant. It's much easier than the Spider Plant (or Airplane Plant).


On Sep 11, 2010, jskyieeyes3 from Saint Cloud, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

easy to grow. likes shade, will fry in the summer florida sun. makes a beautiful hanging basket! =)


On Jun 27, 2010, ranchhandler from Cedar Creek, TX wrote:

Ducks and geese will eat this plant voraciously and eliminate it from the area.


On Jun 1, 2010, BGES from Eastlake, OH wrote:

I seemed to have the opposite problem. I cannot keep ours alive. I just trimmed all the brown and dead portions off of them. I have six 4" pots on a shelf. Two plants in the middle browned, and died. Now, whatever killed them seems to be spreading to my others.

Does any one have any advice? me if you do please!! [email protected]


On May 14, 2010, ghostlyvision from Houston, TX wrote:

I once put Wandering Jew in a planter at the office, it soon overwhelmed everything else in the planter, finally (and it took a while) got rid of it by pouring a capful of full strength vinegar everytime it reared its head, for those who want to eradicate it, try vinegar, but anything else around it may also die. I have just been given a hanging pot of it, I hope I can keep it out of the shrub beds, it's pretty but so invasive down here in the south.


On Apr 17, 2010, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Another very easy to grow plant which asks for a bit of shade if exposed to summer heat, and a well drained soil with sufficient moisture.

The reward will be, as mentioned by many, free divisions to friends. Easily transplanted, easily rid from your garden by yanking it up. Yes, it does perform well, but that is it's mission - it's a plant. It is supposed to grow. And it does if given the right conditions.

If it begins to look a mess, grab a pair of scissors and give it a trim. Even better, repot, then trim and water. It will look gorgeous cascading from pots and planters in no time at all.


On Aug 27, 2009, mindyk37 from Poland, IN wrote:

This plant becomes a jungle when planted in the ground, but I've paired it with lavender color Impatiens and the combo is gorgeous. Yes, I have to thin the Wandering Jew, OFTEN--but friends/acquaintances are thrilled with the very full, healthy pots of this that I've plenty of to share! In pots in the house all winter I've 10-12 pretty little lavender blooms from about 10am-4pm every day. Very, very healthy--indoors or out, sun or shade or mix. Grows even in the most awful soil--I use it to make use of a poorly drained WET heavy clay area! In pots I just water deeply 1x per week, feed 1x per month--piece of cake! Only 1 bloom from in-ground jungle, though.


On Jun 30, 2009, lulu_ak from Anchorage, AK wrote:

This plant is definitely a survivor and can take a lot of abuse. My mom found a small vine with just a couple of leaves on it in a parking lot in the dead of winter (we live in Alaska). It was frozen and frosted over. She brought it home and stuck it in some water right in the window and hoped for the best. It rooted very quickly so she planted it in a small pot. It continued to grow quick and strong. She kept clipping and rooting the vines and she now has a beautiful and full potted plant. She rooted a couple of vines for me which I've had for about two weeks and both have already grown several inches. This is a perfect plant for someone like myself who is a serial killer of any and all flora because it is incredibly easy to care for. It is also great to have one way up here in the north ... read more


On Jun 6, 2009, atm1 from Detroit, MI wrote:

I have been growing Wandering Jews as houseplants for years. My sister (R.I.P.) introduced me to them for their ease and beauty,especially as hanging plants. One interesting thing I have noticed about them is their strong "sense" of survival! I have one sitting high on a plant stand trailing over the pot, and one day you'll find pieces of it on the floor! How is that, I don't have cats or small children, and I didn't bump into it. Well, upon reseaching this purple beauty, I found that this is how it propagates itself in the wild in Mexico where it is from! It'll drop it's stems and grow wherever it lands. Amazing!
P.S. I'm from Michigan where I know it would not survive outside. So again to my friends in Florida, TX, etc, just like another "potted" beauty, the Ardisia, I'm s... read more


On Jun 4, 2009, Bairie from Corpus Christi, TX (Zone 10a) wrote:

One of my favorite plants. It's in front of my porch and around my other plants across the front of the house. Yes, it tries to take over, but it's so easy to pull up I don't find it a problem at all. It gets scorching afternoon sun for 4-5 hours and does very well there. I'm thinking of planting some in the back yard in a place where nothing grows because of deep--really deep--shade. A lot of my back yard has wedelia ground cover, so I'm used to pulling up plants that like to take over!


On May 9, 2009, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) wrote:

Despite its beauty, I wouldn't dream of planting it inground. Best to keep it contained in its own pot or hanging basket w/ nothing else. Extremely easy to propagate and takes harsh haircuts rather well.


On Jan 21, 2009, pixie_x from Spring, TX wrote:

This is an absolutely gorgeous plant. I can understand the opinions of some who do not like the strangle-hold this particular plant can place on all other plants, much like "Mexican Heather" can do as well. Despite this IS wonderful as a hanging pot and a fabulous ground cover. My favorite is definitely the Zebrina variation. It has great character, extremely hearty, and grows with vigor in the humid sunny climate of Montgomery, Texas.


On Oct 15, 2008, cactus_lover from FSD,
Pakistan (Zone 10b) wrote:

Very Good for Ground-cover,and for Hanging pots.
propagation through cuttings easily.


On Jul 30, 2008, wormfood from Lecanto, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I grow it around small trees/bushes to shade the soil in summer. Then the winter cold wipes it out. For me that's good. But in my sheltered greenhouse I have to yank it out by the handfuls. I just throw it under a bush and the cycle continues. Never seen it flower, I'll try feeding it some Bloom Buster.

If you want to get rid of it, rent a chicken.


On Jul 9, 2008, w2power from Toney, AL wrote:

I love this plant I have had it for about a year not from cuttings, A small stem broke off when I moved from Woodbridge, Virginia to Toney Alabama, so I did what most would do, throw it out back...well now I learned that most will not do that.

It grew and grew and grew, I thought it was something else then I realized it was the same plant stem that rooted on top of the soil. Ok so the dogs got to it and I was mad, I mean it was in shreds, I just knew it was gone. Rain came, sun came and there it was back again.


On May 25, 2008, theopaints from Naples, FL wrote:

I enjoy this plant. It grows well in Florida shade or sun. It can grow out of bounds but is soft , easy to pull out where it is not wanted. But you have to get every shoot and stem or it will grow back. In the rainy months it does not even have to be planted but simply thrown onto the ground and it will take root.
I have recently found a serious problem with large snails that can destroy a bed. The infestation starts out like the new leaves are withering in one small area. It gradually spreads destroying the whole bed. Snail activity is at night and can be stopped with bait.


On May 7, 2008, rossmcl from Edinburgh,
United Kingdom wrote:

I've been given some cuttings, which I have rooted in water for about a week. There are now quite good roots, coming from all the leaf nodes. I want to plant them in a pot now as a houseplant. I have 4 cuttings, ranging between 3 and 8 inches


On Mar 21, 2008, digigirl from Sugar Land, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Due to the possible invasiveness of this plant, I kept them in hanging pots. They have done wonderfully, despite the very hot summers and going a very long time during the winter without watering due to a broken hose and my laziness! They survived my neglect and are bouncing back now that they're getting attention again. They may be something you need to be careful about planting in the ground, but they are perfect for a fair-weather gardener like me and look great, especially when the sun glows through the leaves.


On Mar 6, 2008, mochimo from MIddle Blue,
Indonesia wrote:

This plant sometimes classified as a weed, but I think the plant does have several unique advantage for you. I have used it as groundcover and fixing the microclimate around my garden plant. They are very tought, easy to grow and dont need extra care, thats makes them a perfect climate control especially for those plant who need strong light and humid root condition.


On Feb 16, 2008, Cheddarsmama from Tucson, AZ wrote:

I have the same problem with this plant being outside, in the yard. We call it the vampire weed because we cannot kill it!!!! In fact, we think our beautiful Jacaranda tree died as a result of our trying to kill the vampire. If anyone has discovered a sure-fire way to kill off this bloodsucker, please share.


On Dec 14, 2007, gray_53 from Mcdonough, GA wrote:

Another of my favorites. This is another plant I got from my grandmother. As with most of my favorites, I love it because it propagates well. Simply place part of a vine in moist soil or water. You can also lay part of a growing vine in another pot of soil, and cut it off once it has established roots in the new pot. I also especially love the rich hues of the leaves. It is not particularly invasive in the Atlanta - Macon, Georgia (USDA Zone 7b), unless you _let_ it run wild. Keep in partial sun for best foliage, and water when soil has only a small amount of moisture left, unless you are starting a new plant from a cutting, in which case you should keep the soil moist.

My last piece just died from 34 degree weather. I hope it revives.

Update: It didn't come... read more


On Sep 25, 2007, Seacow from Harbin,
China wrote:

Beautiful and Easy to care for, I have about 5 varieties in one big, shallow pot, and with trimming it always looks beautiful and full.


On Jul 21, 2007, DebinSC from Georgetown, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

Easy to root, easy to grow. In my zone, it grows best in deep dappled shade. Gets a big straggly if it gets much sun. Lovely color.


On Oct 16, 2006, LadyBuggz from Mason, TN wrote:

I have had no problem with this plant becoming invasive in the yard, it gets cold enough here that I bring in some in a pot to overwinter and replant it every spring. It adds great color contrast in a semi-shaded area under a tree.


On Oct 12, 2006, Suttonsy from Queenstown,
New Zealand wrote:

Looking for a weedkiller for this plant. Have successfully eradicated a large area once by penning chickens in with it but unable to do in current area (introduced thru compost I think ).

Its an invasive destroyer where I need to kill it ( Bay of Plenty, New Zealand )


On Sep 30, 2006, DrJerry from Burleson, TX wrote:

This plant is one of the best shade-loving ground covers in my garden. It freezes during the winter, so I take cuttings late in the fall and replant every spring.


On Aug 29, 2006, Psalmy from Edinburg, TX wrote:

I like plants, but not when they take over and you can't control them. A friend had told me how easily they spread, and I have found that out the hard way.

Mine are outside. They continue to take over my yard. I haven't figured out how to get rid of them yet, other than manually digging up the root systems--and you have to keep going back for the stragglers even with that.

I have tried to used Roundup on a couple of large areas around two trees, but it doesn't seem to work on this type of leaf.

I also have some that have appeared in my front landscaped flower/plant bed, and they are beginning to take over there as well. Its difficult to get rid of them--I can pull off the exposed leaves, but in order to get to the root systems, I might have ... read more


On Apr 26, 2005, herlurie from Mobile, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love this plant! I don't know very much about plants, but was drawn to this one about a year and a half ago because of the amazing coloration. It has been in a hanging basket in my kitchen in front of a west facing window (I live next to a busy street so I keep the blind closed most of the day) and has done exceptionally well even though I sometimes forget to water it and hardly ever fertilize it. When it starts getting too long I simply cut it back to the desired length. I sometimes put the cuttings in a glass of water and within a few weeks they are ready to plant. Now that the weather has warmed up (it has been in the 70's and 80's here for several weeks now!) I decided to jazz up my patio so I took it outside. It is in a partially shaded area and gets mostly late afternoon sun, altho... read more


On Mar 8, 2005, jordung from Woonsocket, RI (Zone 6b) wrote:

Over the years I've had success with this plant. I've had several wandering jews of different colors and sizes.They have lasted for several years . I have taken
several cuttings from each of them when the vines have gotten to long and started several other plants by rooting them in water first. This is done by removing completely the two lower leaves. Fill a jar a glass with water. Put aluminum foil over the top of the glass or jar. Secure it around the other edge with rubber band. Punch holes on the surface of the rubber band with a pencil or pen. Put one cutting in each hole. After a week to two weeks roots will appear. After they are about an inch they are ready to plant in soil.


On Mar 7, 2005, rose318 from in Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have this plant in a hanging basket. It turns a reddish purple color in the cooler months here in TX. It can be an invasive if planted in the garden here.


On Nov 30, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

We must have cool enough winters to keep this plant in check. It behaves itself, whether it's in a container, or planted in the garden. It spreads fast and covers bare spots quickly.

It roots easily in water, or in soil and each segment is capable of producing a new plant. If you want more plants, just break off some stems and they will root.

Pretty much pest free and happy in most conditions....I like this plant to fill in holes in the garden till young plants are full enough to be attractive on their own...then just yank it out and compost it.


On Aug 4, 2004, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

The Wandering Jew or Inch Plant is a great plant to use indoors in a pot as a houseplant worldwide, but in my area in South Florida the plant is very invasive in many areas outdoors. It is very fast-growing from shade to full sun and takes over surrounding vegetation rapidly. However, the leaves are very attractive with it's white-and-purple coloring and the plant may be pretty easy to grow. It does well indoors in small pots (on a desk, shelve, or hanging from a hook in midair) and in small planting ledges. It is found and can be planted oudoors (though don't because of it's invasiveness) in zones 9b, 10a, 10b, 11 and below. A great plant, but only indoors so keep it there and do not plant outdoors! This plant usually may like water about two or three times a week.


On Jun 15, 2004, TamiMcNally from Lake Placid, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Invasive and difficult to eradicate.

It will grow in all conditions in my area from full sun to full shade. It grows well in dry soil and wet soil.

I have it all over my yard although I never purchased the plant.


On Jun 14, 2004, Regina2004 from Opa Locka, FL wrote:

My neighbors are from the Honduras and drink a tea
made from Wandering Jew for preventative medicinal purposes--the kidneys. I have drank it for two days now.

Nothing to write home about regarding the flavor. Has anyone heard of making a tea from the Wandering Jew and its medicinal purposes?

Where do you go to find out medicinal properties of plants?

Thanks Regina


On May 28, 2004, Larabee from Houston, TX wrote:

TIP: If it gets too much sun, the stripes will begin to run and the purple and green will bleed together. Eventually the plant will turn completely green. To avoid this, move fading Wandering Jew to a more shaded area (this solved the problem for me, as the new growth on my Wandering Jew now has its vivid, separate colors again, and I just cut the old, faded leaves off).

And you had better be able to move it, too--don't sew it in the ground. This plant ought to be kept in a container AWAY from soil. My friend heard it was invasive so she put it in a pot on the ground by some soil, thinking it was safe in the pot... now, one year later, she has Wandering Jew in the soil all around the pot, and none IN the pot. It pretty much just jumped out and started putting roots in ... read more


On Oct 19, 2003, jeannieskydiver from Tampa, FL wrote:

Yep. This is the plant for the wanna-be-green-thumb! It is very hardy and will thrive in almost any condition. It grows as a kind of noxious weed here in Florida if you let it.

Don't let it - it's that simple. In a container it is beautiful!!!! The colors are much brighter, and the plant is much happier. It makes pretty, little, white flowers, and livens up my balcony. I give cuttings to my family and friends. They get so proud it's silly:)


On Aug 9, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

This is a beautiful plant, but after growing it as a houseplant for years, I thought I would try to grow it outdoors in St. Petersburg, Florida (USDA Zone 9b.)

I had a large tropical looking bed of Dwarf Brazilian Bananas, which grow to about 15 feet tall, papayas, cannas, daturas, zebra plant and spiral cone gingers, all of which got very tall and "leggy," so I thought this plant would make a nice groundcover underneath these taller guys. I had seen the green type growing as a two foot tall groundcover in a valley near Hana on Maui, Hawaii, and wanted to emulate this scene.

Well, it did make a nice groundcover in that bed for about two years. Butt eventually it started to strangle the bed so much that I couldn't get to my bananas and papayas to harvest, s... read more


On Aug 8, 2003, broozersnooze from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

The perfect plant for someone who can't grow anything. Twenty years ago, not knowing any better I bought a hanging basket of this stuff to hang on my front porch. The freeze killed it (I thought) so I threw what was left away.

Twenty years later it still grows WHEREVER in the yard. I've weeded & weeded, pulling it up by the roots. Now ignore it & mow over it. It's lived through (infrequent) Florida snows, freezes in the teens, wind chills in the single digits (my heater & my shallow well pump froze but this stuff thrived.)

I never water it & it survived our four-year drought. It has grown at times when my grass wouldn't. I don't even know if RoundUp could touch it. If I ever run into some poor, unsuspecting soul that has trouble growing plants I'll snatch bi... read more


On Aug 7, 2003, Seeker from Ava, MO wrote:

This plant is hardy and can take alot of abuse, It has wonderful hanging effects and is dense and beautifully thick. Mine has a purple and green color leaf and it needs to be planted in a big pot. It looks beautiful on a plant stand that sits up off the floor at least four to five feet.
Mine seems to do better if I let the soil dry before watering again. I am in a very humid climate and it does well here! Although I have it outside in the summer and inside in the winter.


On Jun 4, 2003, photobuff from Gainesville, FL wrote:

I like this plant. I don't have it in a garden, it is in a hanging basket over my desk. It does wonderfully there. I carry it to a bathtub, water it and then mist it for the humidity. In Florida and in summer, humidity is not much of a problem. It is a beautiful plant and will make a beautiful addition to any decor.


On May 28, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This is a pest. This plant swill take over every space in a pot, even growing on the floor, searching for new places with enough earth to stock its roots. Very hard to control. If you want this plant, put it in an isolated pot away from other plants or in an isolated space in your garden.


On Mar 28, 2002, karencordova wrote:

If your plant becomes leggy, PINCH back generously and propagate the cuttings for another plant. These guys are HARDY and can take it.