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How to Care for Wandering Jew Plants

By Willow Sidhe ; Updated September 21, 2017

Wandering Jew, an herbaceous perennial also known as inch plant, grows natively in Mexico and some areas of South America. In the United States, gardeners value the plant for its colorful, attractive foliage and ease of care as a houseplant. Wandering Jew produces oval-shaped, striped leaves in shades of green, silver, red and purple, which appear on long, creeping stems. Suitable for hanging baskets and containers, the plant lives for years indoors with proper care. Outdoors, wandering Jew thrives in zones 9 through 11, which only includes the warmest parts of the country.

Keep wandering Jew plants in a location that receives four to six hours of bright, indirect sunlight per day, such as a south- or east-facing window. Maintain a constant temperature of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit for maximum growth and color.

Mist twice each day, once in the early morning and again around mid-day, to increase the relative humidity of the air surrounding your wandering Jew plants. Use a spray bottle filled with lukewarm water, as icy cold water may cause shock.

Water wandering Jew once per week during spring through fall, allowing the soil to dry slightly between applications. Decrease the frequency of watering to once every 10 days during winter to encourage the plant to enter dormancy.

Fertilize plants using an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer once every two weeks during spring, summer and fall. Feed only once per month during winter, as the plant is growing less actively during this time. Apply according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Pinch off excessively long stems to encourage them to branch out and grow in a more compact form. Prune once every three to four months to keep the plant well-maintained and increase its aesthetic appeal. Remove damaged leaves as necessary throughout the year.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Spray bottle
  • Houseplant fertilizer

Tips

  • Grow wandering Jew outdoors in zones 9 through 11. It makes an attractive ground cover and thrives in shady areas of the garden. Plant in partial to full shade in an area with well-drained soil, water weekly and remove damaged leaves as necessary. Space plantings 18 to 24 inches apart to allow room for growth.
  • Increase the frequency of watering if the plant's leaves begin to turn yellow. This is an indication that the plant is not receiving enough moisture.
  • Wandering Jew plants tolerate low light and shade well, particularly when grown outdoors. The purple color of the foliage, however, will not be as intense without brighter light. Full sun is never recommended, however, as it can damage the plant's delicate leaves.

About the Author

 

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.