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Wandering Jew Light Requirements You Need To Know

The Wandering Jew makes a beautiful houseplant with strikingly colorful leaves under proper light requirements.

Wandering Jew (‎Tradescantia zebrina) plants are tropical species that thrive in bright, indirect sunlight, such as partial shade or filtered sunlight, provided 6-7 hours each day, but more sunlight does not mean better foliage.

Read further to find the best places to grow Wandering Jews and ways to compensate for the lack of sunlight.

How Much Lighting Does A Wandering Jew Need?

Although commonly used, “Wandering Jew” is a misnomer for several Tradescantia species, primarily Tradescantia zebrina, pallida, and fluminensis.

The tropical plant, commonly found in Central and South America, likely gained its name for its ability to spread and “wander.”

As a tropical ornamental species, Wandering Jew grows best in zone 9-11 in bright indirect sunlight or medium to bright artificial grow light.

Wandering Jew needs 6-7 hours of bright indirect or filtered sunlight (using a window sill or curtain) daily in the growing season (spring and summer).

Tradescantia Fluminensis
Wandering Jews or Tradescantia enjoy bright, indirect sunlight or partial shade.

They prefer a few hours of direct morning or evening sunlight, but intense or direct sunlight is a No-No. It can scorch their lush green leaves with purple stripes and a silvery shine.

Two hours of morning or evening sunlight will be sufficient. Afterward, bring the plant inside in partial shade or filtered sunlight.

Facts Regarding Wandering Jew Light Requirements

  • Place Wandering Jews near a north or east-facing window is ideal, as they can benefit from the gentle morning or evening sunlight.
  • Although they can tolerate low light and complete shade, it would restrict the plant’s trailing growth, leaf size, and variegated color.
  • Insufficient lighting can result in elongated stems, reduced branching, dark green leaves with fewer purple stripes, and a silvery sheen.
  • At least 6 hours of lighting with 200-400 Foot Candles or 400-700 nm promotes healthy growth, vibrant leaf coloration, and plant vigor with a fuller trailing habit.
  • Bright lighting conditions are essential for stimulating flower formation, helping produce small, colorful flowers.

Similarly, you should only water them about one inch every week in the growing season and once in two weeks in dormancy based on their light exposure.

Although rare, those exposed to bright sunlight may require frequent watering to prevent the transpiration of leaves.

They orient their leaves towards the light source; hence, regularly rotating the plant ensures balanced growth.

Pink Wandering Jew plants do well in medium to bright indirect sunlight, ensuring vibrant pink stripes in green foliage.

Does Wandering Jew Need Artificial Light?

If you are growing Wandering Jew plants indoors and lack adequate natural light, supplementing with artificial lighting can be beneficial.

You can use LED or fluorescent lights with a spectrum miming natural sunlight.

However, the type of light to choose will depend on your preference.

  1. LED Grow Lights: Light Emitting Diode or LED make popular indoor plant lighting as they are energy-efficient and produce little heat. And they also provide a low to the full spectrum of light.
  2. Fluorescent Lights: T5 or T8 fluorescent tubes can supplement LED lights by emitting a full spectrum of light, such as cool white or daylight bulbs, but may not be energy-efficient.

Generally, 12-16 hours of artificial light daily should keep Wandering Jews thriving.

Color- A balanced full spectrum of light is ideal, with blue and red light wavelengths ((400-700 nm).
- Blue light promotes vegetative growth and foliage development
- Red light encourages flowering and fruiting.
Duration- It typically require 12-16 hours of light per day to mimic the natural day length
- It provides the plants with enough energy for photosynthesis and growth
Intensity- Different species of Wandering Jew may have varying light intenisty requirements
- 200 to 400 Foot Candles should be enough
- LED with 200 watts or more should be 12-20 inches away
- LED of 1000 watts should sit 36-46 inches away

Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up a grow light for Wandering Jew light requirements:

  • Attach LED grow lights securely to a suitable fixture or suspend them using adjustable hanging hooks. Attach fluorescent lights to a compatible light fixture or light bar.
  • Arrange multiple plants together so that all plants receive equal light.
  • Use a programmable timer to set the desired light duration.
  • Otherwise, ensure to turn on/off the light simultaneously each day to maintain a consistent light schedule.
  • Regularly monitor the plant’s response to artificial lighting. Adjust the distance between the Wandering Jew plants and the lights or increase the intensity.
  • If you observe light burns such as yellowing of leaves or excessive growth, increase the distance between the two.

From Editorial Team


Although optimal lighting is essential, do not forgo Wandering Jew’s regular maintenance and care.

Ensure a regular watering schedule, use well-draining soil, and keep the plant away from drafts.

Similarly, mist the leaves occasionally and trim leggy stems and decayed foliage to promote bushier growth.