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Tradescantia Pallida Indoor Care & Propagation Guide

Tradescantia Pallida, or more commonly known as the Tradescantia Purple Heart, is one crazy fast growing plant, especially if you bring it outside during spring and summer. Even if you buy a small plant or get a cutting from a friend, your Tradescantia will expand so much you won’t believe it!

I actually got mine in a “form of a broken branch”. One of the stems of my grandma’s Tradescantia accidentally broke and she placed it aside for me. When she gave it to me it still hadn’t had any roots. Look how much it grew in just under a year!

This type of Tradescantia is commonly found in gardens and is used as an indoor and an outdoor plant. If winters are cold and harsh where you live, it would be better if you bring it indoors for the winter. But if your winters are not that cold, you can easily have it outside during year round.

I like to bring it inside to have a touch of color in my apartment.

How to prevent your Tradescantia from turning green?


Tradescantia Pallida has such beautiful trailing deep purple leaves and it flowers the cutest little light purple flowers. In order that it remains really purple, it needs a lot of sunlight.

Mine didn’t get enough sunlight last winter and it slowly started turning green. It was still in good shape, just slightly less purple than it could be.

Light

As we already touched the lighting topic, lets talk more about it. I love Tradescantia Purple Heart because it can withstand different lighting conditions. Specifically, I find it awesome that it can withstand even direct sunlight.

To most of common houseplants, if placed on direct sunlight for many hours, leaves can get damaged. But not Tradescantia leaves!

I had mine all summer long on my balcony, facing south, getting sun directly – all day long. The only thing that happened is that it grew like crazy!

You can place your Tradescantia near any window – east, west, north, south – and it will continue to grow. Just keep in mind that the more light it gets – the more purple it will be.

Placing it near a north facing window will probably result in the loss of purple. But the great thing is that even if it turns green – it can easily turn purple again!

Tradescantia Purple Heart will love a spot where it gets many hours of sunlight.

In order to have a really happy Tradescantia Pallida indoors – place it in a spot where it will get bright indirect sunlight or direct sunlight.

Watering

I found my Tradescantia is a heavy drinker. That doesn’t mean that you should constantly keep the soil wet – water your Tradescantia when the first few cm of soil are dry. Stick your finger in soil and check out if the soil is still moist or not. You can also use a soil moisture meter if you have one.

If you feel like the soil is still moist, you don’t need to water it. Water it only when the top of the soil has dried out.

Keeping the soil constantly wet, especially if you have your Tradescantia indoors, can lead to root rot.

How frequent you’ll need to water it will depend on many different factors. I talk more about this subject in 7 factors that affect your houseplant watering frequency. So, since I had mine outside on full sun all day long, I watered it pretty much every day, sometimes every 2-3 days. But, just to compare, I never needed to water it every day when I had it indoors.

Propagation

Tradescantia Purple Heart is one of the easiest to propagate! I’d say you’ll have success in 99.9% of times. To get the cutting – you can cut it anywhere along the stem and place it in water or directly in soil.

Keep your cutting in a brightly lit place and change the water every few days. If you do place your cutting in soil directly, be sure to keep the soil moist for a couple of weeks, until roots start to grow.

On a few occasions I accidentally broke some of the stems and I would just place them back into soil with the rest of the plant. Every “cutting” rooted out successfully, and I didn’t even pay much attention to it!

Fertilization

As with all my houseplants, I fertilize my Tradescantia Pallida once a month with a complete liquid fertilizer diluted in water.

When you use liquid fertilizers, it’s important that you follow the instructions on the bottle so you don’t over fertilize your plants!

Toxicity

Plants from the genus Tradescantia, including the Tradescantia Purple Heart, are toxic to cats and dogs. I guess it’s a good thing it’s a trailing plant that you can easily place out of reach of children and pets, on top of a shelf or hanging down the ceiling.

Find out which of the most common houseplants are also toxic to your pets in Common house plants that are toxic to cats!

Tradescantia varieties

Alongside Tradescantia Pallida, we can commonly also find T. Zebrina (aka Wandering Jew), T. Fluminensis (aka Small-leaf spiderwort) and T. Spathacea (aka Moses-in-the-cradle).