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Is Wandering Jew A Perennial? [Understanding Growth Habit]

Do you know glossy leaves of Wandering Jew help purify the indoors? To continue leveraging Wandering Jew, you need to understand its annual or perennial growth patterns.

Generally, Wandering Jews like Purple Hearts and Silver Inch growing in zones 7-11 are perennials returning yearly. Meanwhile, these plants may not survive the winter in zone 6 and below, thus becoming annual.

Follow along to learn more about the Wandering Jews and ways to protect them as a perennial.

Where Does Wandering Jew Grow Best?

Sometimes known as Spiderwort, Wandering Jews is a trailing houseplant that is fairly drought tolerant. 

As a native of Mexico, Wandering Jews can easily grow in gardens from Zone 7 to Zone 11, in temperatures ranging from 65°F to 75°F.

Under bright indirect light, the plant grows its velvety leaves with a striking mix of green, silver, and purple. 

A fully trailing and perennial Wandering Jews in a planter stand
Direct afternoon light can be too intense for the plant causing leaf burn.

Meanwhile, for the USDA zone receiving early frost and the extreme drop in temperature, Wandering Jews are less likely to survive outdoors.

So, these houseplants are mostly grown indoors in hanging baskets that can gracefully handle the trailing leaf of the plant under little maintenance.

Not only are the plants safe from fluctuating climatic conditions, but they can also receive a steady environment for flowering. 

Typically, under moderate humidity and proper nutrients, Wandering Jews produce small, purple, or pink flower in late spring to summer, 

Is Wandering Jew A Perennial Or Annual?

Wandering Jews is an umbrella term with more than 50 species in the genus Tradescantia.

Most of the varieties, like Tradescantia zebrina, Tradescantia chrysophylla, and Tradescantia tricolor, can persist and continue to grow year after year from zone 7 and above.

These perennial Wondering Jews have an average lifespan of 24 to 48 months and sometimes more, depending upon the care provided.
At the same time, some varieties within the genus are considered annual and have a shorter lifespan. 

For instance, Tradescantia pallida, aka Purple Heart, is often grown as annuals in colder regions below Zone 6.

These areas mostly go below freezing, so the plant loses its vibrant leaves, and roots fail to withstand the cold during the winter.

However, you can still get the plant over the next growing season by overwintering. Bringing the plants indoors before the first frost can help your plant go dormant and save its root.

And thus, the roots start giving rise to new shoots once the warm spring begins. 

How To Make Wandering Jew Bushy?

Pruning is the best way to make Wandering Jew pest and disease-free and in desired shape or bushy. 

Thus, follow the care tips below to influence the perennial behavior in your Wandering Jew and make them grow fuller.

  • Pinch back or trim the trailing stems of Wandering Jews regularly to encourage branching that stimulates new growth.
  • Remove any diseased or pest-infected leaves to prevent their spread from taking over the entire plant’s health. Using neem oil against pests should be helpful.
  • Place the Wandering Jew near the window that gets bright indirect sunlight for at least 4 hours daily. And make sure the temperature is around 65-75°F and not more.
  • Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. You may only water the plant once the top inch of the soil dries or simply bottom water the plant.
  • Feed your plant with a well-balanced fertilizer (preferably liquid) during the spring and summer to promote bushier growth.
  • While propagating, choose a pot with a few drain holes large enough for the roots to grow.

From Editorial Team  

Tips For Winter Protection!

For the Wandering Jews in a garden bed or a container that is not feasible to move, winter protection is mandatory.

Burlaps and winter cover help keep your plant warm during the winter flurry.