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Inch Plant Plant Bio: Podcast Ep#57

Inch Plants are one of the most unique plants with varying colors and plentiful growth. Sometimes these plants can be tricky, but they are forgiving and can bounce back rather quickly.

Botanical Name:

  • Tradescantia zebrina

  • Tradescantia pallida- Purple Heart

  • Tradescantia fluminensis- Nanouk Inch Plant

  • Tradescantia spathacea- Oyster Plant

  • Tradescantia cerinthoides

Common Name: Wandering Dude, Inch Plant

  • This plant used to be commonly called "Wandering Jew" but due to it's insensitive meaning, it has been replaced with Wandering Dude, Inch Plant or most commonly referred to as Tradescantia. You may still see some plant shops and website calling it this original name.

Sun Requirements:

Inch Plants do well in medium to bright, indirect light. Usually placing them in an east or west window is a great position for the plant to soak up a little sun!

Water Requirement

These plants like to be kept at medium moisture, which means watering when the top layers of soil is dry. Keep in mind, overwatering an cause root rot, so using a well draining soil is best.

Inch Plants can benefit from some humidity, but only need low to medium humidity.


As I always say, there are LOTS of ways to fertilize plants. Unless you are extremely over-fertilizing your plant, there isn't necessarily a wrong way to do this. I currently use Fox Farm's Grow Big Liquid Fertilizer and I fertilize every 2 weeks when I water my plants, starting around the end of February through October. I honestly probably only fertilize once or twice in winter because the plant isn't as active! I use about 1/2 to 3/4 the recommended amount of fertilizer because I would rather under-fertilize than over-fertilize my plants.

Practical Houseplant Book: "Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month from spring to early fall."

Complete Houseplant Survival Manual: "From spring through fall, feed every 2 weeks with a balanced houseplant fertilizer. In winter, when new growth is usually much slower, feed monthly."

There are MANY ways to fertilize and it is completely up to you! There are tons of products out there you can try but an overall rule of thumb for houseplants is that it is best to under-fertilize, rather than over-fertilize. Always use the recommended amount, or less, when applying your fertilizer to houseplants.


Inch Plants are extremely easy to root by taking stem cuttings and placing them in water or soil. I have had success several times with water propagation and have had success with soil propagation as well.

Other Facts

  • Part of the Commelinaceae family.

  • Native to Mexico and South America (Guatemala, Brazil).

  • These come in a range of many colors, including a combination of green, purple, silver, white, pink, red, and yellow.

  • These plants are meant to hang, so placing them in an area where you can let them stretch out is perfect. They are great hanging basket plants and shelf dwellers.

  • It is not uncommon for this plant to get leggy, so trimming is usually essential for fuller growth.

  • These can bloom in nature and don't often bloom indoors unless you mimic their natural environment. Usually they bloom with a purple or white flower depending on the variety.

  • This plant is poisonous to pets and humans. Check out Podcast Ep#31 for more info or the corresponding blog post!

Instagram Q&A

I asked followers if they had any specific plant questions I could address in this podcast and blog. Here are the questions and answers for the Inch Plant...

"My leaves get thin/wilty when exposed to the sun. Any advice on how to keep them crisp?"

  • If the plant is placed in direct sunlight, it may need to moved away from the window a bit. Since these plants prefer medium to bright, indirect light you could be providing too much light. If this isn't direct sunlight, this could be a moisture issue. If you are moving plants into a warmer environment, it could be drying out more quickly than you have been used to in a less sunlight (or cooler) environment. I would suggest watching your watering to see if this also could be the cause.

"How to make them bushier and not leggy?"

  • This is natural for Inch Plants but there are a couple things you can do. One thing to do is trimming back the plant to push out fuller growth. The other thing you can try is putting it in more light. If you have it in medium light, try moving it to bright, indirect light.

"Is it pet safe?"

  • According to the ASPCA, this is not a pet safe plant unfortunately.

"Why does my plant keep getting dried leaves randomly?"

  • This is something I still struggle with but I believe the root cause is inconsistency. I believe keeping this plant watered consistently with medium moisture can help combat this. I also think dry air can cause this as well, so increasing humidity could also help with those crispy leaves. In my case, I believe my root cause is not enough water and inconsistent water.



Go to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and more! Search for Houseplant Homebody to hear this episode and MANY more! You can also listen directly on my website under the Podcast page!


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Always written with extreme plant passion!

Love, Holly (Owner & Creator of Houseplant Homebody LLC)


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