How to Grow Setcreasea Plants

Guide to Growing Wandering Jew, Spiderwort, and Purple Heart.

Setcreasea are trailing half hardy perennials.

They carry attractive green or purple foliage. Plants bloom from spring to autumn.

The flowers have three petals, and are usually purple or white.

Setcreasea by ed10vi.

Setcreasea purpurea
Setcreasea purpurea by kaiyanwong223.

Setcreasea Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Setcretia, Wandering Jew, Spiderwort, Purple heart.
  • Syn.: Tradescantia.
  • Life Cycle: Half-hardy perennial. Often grown as an annual or as a houseplant.
  • Height: 16 to 20 inches (50—75 cm).
  • Native: Central and North America.
  • Growing Region: Zones 9 to 10.

  • Flowers: Spring to autumn, dependent on species and location.
  • Flower Details: White, pink, purple. Small. Three petals.
  • Foliage: Evergreen. Purple or green with red or purple fringes. Oblong, elongated and pointed. Fleshy.

  • Sow Outside: Flowers are often sterile so seed can be difficult to come by; very easy to grow from cuttings.
    Sowing: Cover seed. Autumn, using fresh seed. Germination time: four to six weeks at a temperature of ~70°F (21°C). Space at 12 to 18 inches (30—45 cm).
  • Sow Inside: No.

  • Requirements and care: Full sunlight (for best leaf color) or partial shade. Good drainage. Coarse soil. Plants are drought tolerant and low maintenance. Will enjoy a little water during prolonged dry spells. Cut back plants to maintain appearance. Container grown plants should be brought indoors in the autumn before temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C), as they are very susceptible to frost. Propagate: from cuttings.
  • Family: Commelinaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Dayflower, Spiderwort.
  • Miscellaneous: Synonymous with the Tradescantia genus. E.g., the commonly grown Setcreasea purpurea is also known as Tradescantia pallida. Scrambling plant great for use as ground-cover in warmer areas. Makes a great houseplant as its leaves filter out volatile compounds and improves air-quality.

How to Grow Setcreasea

It is best to grow Setcreasea from cuttings. If you plan to grow from seed then it is best to start off outdoors. Sow the seed in the autumn using fresh seed, lightly cover once sown.

The plants should be grown about 30 to 45 cm (12 to 18 inches) apart, and planted in a sunny area of the garden that has a dry course soil.

Although not recommended, It is possible to start off indoors, it will take about a month and a half for Setcreasea to germinate at 20 degrees centigrade (68°F). Transplant the seedlings outdoor in mid-spring.

Caring for Setcreasea

It is easy to look after Setcreasea plants, they are untidy so cut back sprawling plants. Water occasionally, once the soil has become bone dry.

If you require more plants then it is best to propagate them from cuttings.

Common Questions

How many members does the Setcreasea genus have?

The Setcreasea genus, also commonly known as Tradescantia, consists of a few species.

Do members of Setcreasea make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Setcreasea is popular for its colorful foliage and low-maintenance needs, making it an attractive addition to gardens and landscapes.

Which Setcreasea species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The most commonly grown species is Setcreasea pallida, also known as Purple Heart or Purple Queen.

Are members of the Setcreasea plant genus fragrant?

Setcreasea plants are not typically known for their fragrance but for their vibrant and attractive foliage.

What is the perfect location to grow Setcreasea?

Setcreasea prefers a sunny to partially shaded location with well-drained soil. They are great for containers or as ground cover.

Is Setcreasea invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

At the moment, Setcreasea is not officially listed as invasive in the USA. Always refer to local guidelines for the most accurate information.

How do I remove Setcreasea plants from my garden?

To remove Setcreasea, uproot the plants ensuring to remove the entire root system to prevent regrowth.


The Setcreasea genus, often referred to as purple heart or wandering Jew, is a group of perennial plants native to Mexico. They are prized for their striking purple foliage and pink flowers, and are often used as ground cover or in hanging baskets.

To grow Setcreasea, plant cuttings in the spring in a location with full sun to partial shade. They prefer well-drained soil and require moderate to high watering. Although they are somewhat drought-tolerant, they perform best with regular watering and occasional feeding with a balanced fertilizer.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Setcreasea plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Gaura and Tradescantia plants.