How To Grow Wandering Jew Plant (Tradescantia zebrina) In Your Home or Garden

Tradescantia zebrina, commonly referred to as Wandering Jew or Silver Inch Plant, is a perennial plant native to Mexico and Central America.

It's prized for its striking, lance-shaped leaves with zebra-like patterns in shades of purple, silver, and green. This plant typically grows to a height of six to nine inches (15 to 23 cm), and spreads up to six feet (180 cm) through cascading vines.

Tradescantia zebrina leaves and flowers
Tradescantia zebrina photograph by Dick Culbert; CC.

Gardeners appreciate Tradescantia plants for their vibrant foliage, trailing growth habit, and adaptability.

It's an ideal choice for hanging baskets, indoor gardening, or as ground cover in suitable outdoor zones. It thrives in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11 and RHS zones H1C to H1B.

While it can spread rapidly if not controlled, it's generally not invasive indoors.

How to grow Tradescantia zebrina in the Garden

Silver Inch Plant prefers a location with bright, indirect light, but can tolerate lower light conditions. It does well in well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH.

You can plant Tradescantia zebrina at any time, although spring is generally best.

Propagation is straightforward and can be done through stem cuttings placed directly in soil or water.

Watering should be moderate, allowing the top layer of the soil to dry out between waterings to prevent overwatering and root rot. It appreciates higher humidity levels, so consider placing it on a pebble tray or misting it regularly if growing indoors.

Silver Inch Plant
Silver Inch Plant striped leaves image by Leonora (Ellie) Enking; CC.

While Tradescantia zebrina is relatively pest-resistant, it can occasionally attract spider mites, especially in dry indoor environments. Regular checks and maintaining good humidity can help keep your plant healthy.

With its dramatic, striped foliage and easy-care nature, this plant can make a fantastic addition to either your indoor or outdoor plant collection.

How to grow Tradescantia zebrina as a Houseplant

Tradescantia zebrina, or Wandering Jew / Silver Inch Plant, is a vibrant and easy-to-grow houseplant. It thrives in bright, indirect light but can tolerate lower light conditions. Be aware that less light may lead to less colorful leaves.

For the best growth, maintain the room temperature between 60°F (15°C) and 75°F (24°C).

This plant prefers well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH. Watering should be moderate – allow the top layer of the soil to dry out between waterings to avoid overwatering and root rot.

This plant appreciates higher humidity levels, which you can achieve by placing it on a pebble tray filled with water or by regular misting.

Tradescantia zebrina houseplant
Tradescantia zebrina houseplant image by Maja Dumat; CC.

Propagation of Tradescantia zebrina is straightforward. Simply cut a stem below a leaf node and place it directly in soil or water. Roots will form from the node, and a new plant will begin to grow.

While generally pest-resistant, Tit can attract spider mites in dry indoor environments. Regular checks and maintaining good humidity can help keep your plant healthy.

With the right care, your Wandering Jew plant should thrive and bring a splash of color to your home.

Quick Tradescantia zebrina Growing and Care Guide

Scientific Name: Tradescantia zebrina

Common Name(s): Wandering Jew, Silver Inch Plant

Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 9-11 RHS Hardiness Rating: H1c (10-15°C, heated glasshouse – warm temperate)

Best Used For / Garden Location:

Plant Details

Life Cycle / Plant Type: Evergreen perennial

Plant Height: 6-9 inches (15-22.5 centimeters)

Plant Spread: 1-1.5 feet (30-45 centimeters)

Blooms: Summer

Flower Details: Small, purple-pink, three-petaled flowers

Leaf Foliage: Green and silver striped leaves with purple undersides

Fruit: N/A

Growing Conditions and Location

Best Light Conditions: Bright indirect light

Suitable Soil Types: Moist, well-drained soil

Sowing / planting: Plant young plants in spring.

Germination time: N/A, propagated from cuttings.

Propagation: By stem cuttings anytime.

Plant Care: Keep soil consistently moist.

Growing in pots and containers: Suitable for containers and hanging baskets.

Growing as a House plant: Very popular as a houseplant due to its ease of care and colorful foliage.

Further Information

Miscellaneous: Can be invasive in tropical climates.

Pests and diseases: Watch for aphids, scale, and spider mites.

Common Cultivars / Varieties: No specific cultivars.

Family: Commelinaceae, the Spiderwort family.

Native: Mexico and Central America.

References and Further Reading: Gardenia – Wandering Jew; Wisconsin Horticulture; NC State Extension – Inch Plant

Common Questions

Does Tradescantia zebrina make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Tradescantia zebrina can make a good garden plant in warm climates. Elsewhere it does best as a houseplant. Its trailing habit and vibrant, striped foliage make it attractive for hanging baskets.

Is Tradescantia zebrina a fragrant plant?

No, Wandering Jew does not have a strong fragrance. Its main appeal is in its vibrant foliage, and its easy-care nature.

What is the perfect location to grow Silver Inch Plant?

Silver Inch Plant thrives in a location with bright, indirect light and well-draining soil. It prefers a humid environment and requires regular watering.

Is Tradescantia zebrina invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Tradescantia zebrina is considered invasive in some parts of the southern USA, including Florida and Louisiana, where it can aggressively spread and readily crowd out native plants.

How do I remove Tradescantia zebrina from my garden?

To remove Tradescantia zebrina, simply pull up all parts of the plant and dispose of it securely. Monitor the area closely for any regrowth, as it can easily reestablish from small fragments.


The Wandering Jew or Silver Inch Plant is a trailing houseplant with purple and silver-striped leaves. Plant in well-draining soil in bright, indirect light. Water moderately, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between watering.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this guide on how to grow Tradescantia zebrin. You may also enjoy the following growing guides: How to grow Mimosa pudica, Setcreasea, and Dracaena plants in the garden.

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