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How to care for Tradescantia Nanouk | care guide

Tradescantia albiflora Nanouk is an excellent indoor plant, more hardy than some other common indoor varieties of Tradescantia and it’s simply gorgeous. I could look at it all day long. Its thick pink-green leaves grow really close together, giving it a more compact look. It almost looks artificial.

Tradescantia is a genus of plants native to the Americas (from Canada to Argentina), but Tradescantia albiflora Nanouk was actually cultivated in the Netherlands, in Sappemeer, and it’s a patented plant.

The intention was to create a more compact looking Tradescantia with even better performance. Here’s what it says in the patent:

Tradescantia Albiflora Nanouk is a great “starter Tradescantia” because it’s easier to care for indoors in comparison to T. Zebrina and T. Fluminensis, for example. In terms of indoor care, it’s really similar to T. Pallida (commonly known as purple heart).

Check out – Tradescantia Pallida Indoor Care & Propagation Guide – to read more about Tradescantia Purple Heart.

I’ve found that Tradescantia in general thrive outdoors and I always try to get them out of my apartment as soon as temperatures reach at least 55°F (12-13°C) at night, and I keep them outdoors for as long as possible.

So if you are struggling with your Tradescantia, you can try bringing it outdoors (if temperatures allow it, of course).

What’s great about Tradescantia Nanouk is that is one of the best varieties to keep indoors, next to T. Pallida.

I’ve never had any struggle with these two species, as opposed to T. Zebrina and T. fluminensis that just keep shouting out to me “bring me outside”. There are many people successfully caring for these indoors as well, but I look at them more like outdoor plants that spend winter time with me indoors.

How much light does Tradescantia Nanouk need?

Place your Tradescantia somewhere it’ll get as much bright indirect to direct light.

Indoor plants are usually really sensitive to direct sunlight, especially direct light coming through the south facing window.

We should always protect our indoor plants from that harsh light that can damage and burn their leaves.

But since Tradescantia can withstand direct light even outdoors (I’ve had my T. Pallida in direct sunlight all summer long), it can tolerate some direct light indoors, too.

But keep in mind that all plants need adjustment to direct sun if they have never been exposed to it, even cacti for that matter.

Since Tradescantia Nanouk has variegated leaves, it’s better not to expose it to direct sun.

< < < See pic of sunburn on Tradescantia leaf.

Mine was outside, on a south-west facing balcony all summer, but I made sure it’s out of reach of direct sunlight from approx. 1pm to 6pm.

It still got a little bit of sunburn on the variegated part of the leaf.

So, direct light coming through an east or west facing window won’t do any damage whatsoever. The one that you should keep your eye on are direct sun rays coming through the south facing window during summer, when it’s the hottest and for those few hours when the sun will burn just anything.

Give your Tradescantia as much light as possible, while at the same time making sure that it doesn’t get sunburn.

Why I’ve gone in so much detail when it comes to light is because I wanted to emphasize that Tradescantia does need light in order to thrive and what level of intensity it can withstand. Because, if you say only direct sunlight, that can mean just anything.

Tradescantia can survive even in medium bright light conditions, but it might fade in color and loose it’s compact look.

The more light it gets, the more brighter the colors of its leaves will be and more closer together they’ll grow.

How much light you provide for your Tradescantia will directly effect how often you’ll need to water it.

When to water your Tradescantia Nanouk?

Water your Tradescantia when the soil has almost dried out. It should be completely dry for about an inch (2cm) deep.

Stick your finger in soil and check if the soil is dry before you water it.

This may be a little bit difficult to do if your Tradescantia covered the whole soil surface.

In this case you can either take a wooden stick (BBQ skewer) or you can simply just lift the pot.

You’ll notice when you water it, the pot will have some weight to it, but when the soil has dried out, the pot will be really light.

If you opt for a BBQ skewer – place it in soil, wait for about 2 minutes and then pull it out. It’s just like checking if the cake is baked on the inside or not – if the skewer is moist, you don’t need to water it, if it’s dry, it’s time to water your Tradescantia.

How to water Tradescantia Nanouk?

Since Tradescantia is a fast growing creeper, watering it from the top may not be optimal.

If we’re not really careful to reach the soil, there’s a great chance water will just slide down the leaves and you’ll wind up not giving it enough water. Next to that, if water remains between leaves and stems, they can start to rot.

I’ve found that bottom watering is the way to go when it comes to Tradescantia plants.

Fill in a bucket (it cold also be it’s own cachepot, sink, bathtub, deep saucer etc) with water (at least 2 fingers deep). Place your Tradescantia in and leave it like that for approx. 15-30 min.

You’ll notice how the pot is significantly heavier than before watering.

This is also one of the reasons why it’s important to have drainage holes on the bottom of the pot. If you’d have your Tradescantia in a pot without drainage holes, you wouldn’t be able to bottom water it in the first place.

Holes on the bottom of the pot are also crucial for drainage and overall air flow. This way all excess water can drain out and not remain inside the pot, eventually starting to hurt the roots.

After 15-30 minutes, when your plant is done drinking, pour out all remaining water.

Some excess water may still drain through the drainage holes, so don’t place your plant to it’s place right away. Make sure all water drained out, and then place it back.

How often should you fertilize your Tradescantia?

You should fertilize your Tradescantia during the growing season, from spring to summer.

I fertilize mine once a month with a complete liquid fertilizer. Be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle and don’t ever give it more fertilizer than it says on the packaging. If anything, give it less than recommended.

When should you repot your Tradescantia?

When your Tradescantia gets root bound you can go ahead and repot it in a slightly bigger pot so that you can fill one inch of fresh soil all around the roots.

You can see in the pic how mine is not even nearly root bound.

Use a well draining potting mix that will retain some water, but that’ll also provide good drainage.

You can read more about that in – Why is good soil drainage so important for houseplants? | how to make a good potting mix.

It’s best if you do it in spring, so that you give it space for the upcoming growing season.

Is Tradescantia Nanouk toxic to pets?

Tradescantia varieties, including Tradescantia Nanouk, are classified as toxic to cats and dogs.

Since it’s a vining plan, it easy to place it somewhere outside of their reach, like on a higher shelf or plant hanger.