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Tradescantia Zebrina Propagation

Updated on August 27, 2012
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Sean has been in the industry of gardening and landscaping since 2006. He is also a Certified Arborist that tends to focus on plant health.

The Tradescantia zebrina, commonly referred to as "Wandering Jew", is a low ground cover that is native to eastern Mexico. The leaves have variegation, from purplish to light green, that can change depending on sunlight intensity. Sun to partial shade requirements make it perfect for a window sill plant. Tradescantia zebrina grow stolons that cling to the soil at nodes. Propagation is almost always accomplished via cuttings that have a few nodes. The youngest stolons with the smallest, most succulent leaves provide the best chance of rooting and growing.

Supplies Needed

  • Tradescantia zebrina plant with several healthy stolons (stems).
  • Scissors/Razor
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Rooting Powder (Optional)

A young section ready to be cut and planted
A young section ready to be cut and planted | Source

Preparing and Performing a Cutting

  1. Select a young, healthy stolon/stem to prepare for cutting. Youthful cuttings can adapt and root much easier than older segments of a runner.
  2. Sterilize a sharp cutting utensil with rubbing alcohol, and proceed to cleanly cut an inch or so off.
  3. Remove any leaves near the cut. The older, larger leaves tend to have difficulty growing after being separated from the mother plant.
  4. Save a few small, young leaves at the tip of the cutting.
  5. Dip the fresh cut into rooting powder or solution. This may not be necessary, but can definitely help.
  6. Insert the cutting an inch or so into the soil. A loose soil mixture of added perlite or sand promotes drainage and helps prevent rotting of the fresh cuttings.
  7. Keep the soil slightly moist, and roots should take hold over a few weeks.

A few more cuttings will help fill out this window sill planter box.
A few more cuttings will help fill out this window sill planter box. | Source

Summary & Tips

Not all cuttings will root to soil, as nature is not perfect when manipulated. On the contrary, an established plant can over populate if conditions are right. This plant is perfect for experimentation. and those learning about asexual propagation.


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