In this article, we will tell you in detail about home care for Tradescantia, a popular indoor flower. This charming evergreen plant belongs to the decorative-deciduous species, as its inexpressive small flowers rarely bloom in indoor conditions. This flower is prized for its colorful shoots of bright green color. Tradescantia is often grown as an ampelous plant, whose flexible shoots fall from hanging pots in luxurious cascades. It is pleasant to look after it, it is easy to propagate it.
Tradescantia: how to care for indoor
Tradescantia loves light, but it grows well in light partial shade. Still, it is better to choose a place for the flower with maximum sunlight. It can be window sills in the southwest or southeast directions.
Variegated varieties are especially demanding on lighting conditions. Due to the lack of light, their leaves turn pale and lose their variegated color – they become monotonously green. At the same time, the plant must be protected from the scorching midday sun in summer, because beautiful leaves can get burned and turn yellow from direct sunlight. In the summertime, Tradescantia can be taken out on the balcony if you have a place for it there, protected from direct sun, rain and wind.
This plant is very fond of fresh air. If it sits indoors all year round, then do not forget to ventilate it. Even in winter. Tradescantia is calm about drafts. Even in the garden, in summer, the plant will feel great in a slightly shaded place in a flower bed. If your Tradescantia grows on the northern windowsill, then in winter it will need artificial lighting up to 10-12 hours a day. The least light-loving species is white-flowered tradescantia. It can be successfully grown on the north side of the apartment without additional lighting.
Tradescantia is loyal to the ambient temperature in city apartments. It easily tolerates high temperatures in summer and rather low temperatures in winter. Just don’t put it in extreme conditions on purpose. It is enough to maintain a temperature suitable for oneself and the flower at different times of the year: in summer it is from 18 to 30 degrees, and in winter – within 13-15 degrees. (not less than 10 g.)
If the apartment does not have a suitable cool room, then the flower will not have a rest period. Oh, okay. Tradescantia can grow all year round without harm to health. Only then should both watering and lighting be complete. Cancel only top dressing. If there is a lack of natural light, use artificial lamps (phytolamps).
Tradescantia in the wild loves high humidity, but its hybrids have long adapted to the low humidity of city apartments and are tolerant of dry air. However, she responds gratefully to spraying and showering during the hot summer season. He refreshes it and washes away dust and dirt from the leaves. This shower can be arranged every 2-3 weeks. Cover the soil in the pot with a plastic bag and rinse the leaves with warm water, a couple of degrees above room temperature. During the winter season, during the heating season, Tradescantia likes to keep its pot in a pallet of wet expanded clay.
The only exception is Sillamontana’s Tradescantia. She has heavily pubescent leaves. This species easily tolerates dry air, does not need bathing and spraying, because high humidity, on the contrary, has a bad effect on the stems and roots of this plant, they can rot.
Tradescantia loves watering. How much depends on the season. In summer and spring, water should be abundantly and regularly, 2-3 times a week. If the substrate is selected correctly, it will dry out by almost half between waterings, and there will be no stagnation of water in it.
Use water for irrigation only soft, separated from impurities, at room temperature. There should be no stagnation of water in the pan. Release it some time after watering, do not provoke the root system of the flower to rot. It is known that Tradescantia can do without water for a long time. She, of course, will weaken, but will not die. Having received life-giving moisture, the flower will quickly regain its strength.
Most varieties of room tradescantia have very inexpressive flowers. For this reason, flower growers do not allow the plant to bloom at all. But some hybrid varieties of Anderson’s and Virginsky’s tradescantia, with proper care, can delight with their flowering. Their flowers are not very small, three-petaled, white, pink, blue-blue or purple, abundantly located throughout the plant. At nightfall, they curl up and turn into boxes, in which they complete their flowering. Moreover, boxes with seeds and unopened buds are not easy to distinguish from each other.
Diseases and pests:
The plant rarely gets sick if it lives in comfortable conditions. If these conditions are violated, then problems can arise. Let’s look at the reasons why Tradescantia has diseases:
- The tips of the leaves dry – dry air in the apartment.
- A brown tint appeared on the leaves – the substrate became unusable (sour) due to frequent waterlogging or watering with cold hard water.
- The leaves have become faded – excess lighting, direct sunlight. Elongated stems, small leaves – lack of lighting or feeding.
- The stems are rotten – waterlogged soil, high temperature, humidity, heavy soil.
- Variegated leaves become monotonous green – lack of light.
- Growth slowed down, and the leaves turned yellow – lack of moisture.
- Shoots in the lower part are bare – pruning is required. If any of these problems occur, you should take action. Otherwise, the plant may die over time.
Tradescantia is affected by pests such as aphids, scale insects, thrips and spider mites. They usually appear in too hot, dry or stuffy, rarely ventilated rooms on the underside of the leaves. If urgent measures are not taken, the parasites will spread throughout the bush and in a short time spoil not only its decorative appearance – the plant may die. At the first sign of pests, take Tradescantia to the bathroom and wash off the insects with warm water and a solution of laundry soap (watering can or sprayer). Then, the dried plant should be treated with a suitable insecticide. If you are in doubt about the name of your sucking parasite, take a picture of it with your phone. Contact any flower shop, where the seller, using your photo, will select the desired drug and give instructions for its use.
The tradescantia pot should be wide, but not deep. The root system, during the active growth of the plant, grows in different directions, and if the pot is too narrow, it will not have enough space.
There are other options for the unusual use of Tradescantia for room decor. For example, by using tradescantia stem mounts on the wall, you can create a living decorative wicker decoration. Or, with the help of a vertical support, transform the bush, make it more interesting.
The composition of the soil plays an important role in the successful growth of the flower. The main condition is that the soil must be drained, moisture and breathable. It is also important that it is nutritious and preferably neutral.
Ready-made soil can be purchased at any gardening store. For tradescantia, a universal soil for decorative deciduous indoor plants, with a high content of potassium and phosphorus, is suitable. When cooking on your own, stick to this composition: sod land, leafy earth, sand and humus in equal shares. Do not forget to disinfect the self-prepared mixture before use (steam it, freeze it, spill it with potassium permanganate, etc.).
How to Propagate Tradescantia at home
By Dividing the bushes:
This is the fastest way of propagation, allowing you to get two separate adult plants at once from one. The bush divides during the spring transplant. Before dividing, we recommend that you water the soil well in the pot. Then carefully remove the bush from the pot and divide it with a clean, sharp knife into two parts, which you plant in different pots.
The most popular breeding method is vegetative. We have already written that Tradescantia constantly has to be pinched, cut off lengthened or bare shoots in order to maintain the decorative effect of a rapidly growing bush. These cuttings can be rooted at any time of the year, both in water and in a substrate, for example, in a mixture of peat and sand or in a mixture of leafy soil, humus and sand in equal proportions. We recommend planting several (5-6) cuttings about 10-15 cm long in each pot. In about a week or two, the roots will appear.
By Growing from Seeds:
This is a more laborious and time consuming process. The soil will need nutritious and moisture-consuming. The room temperature should be constant, about 20 g. Plant in mini greenhouses in March. Plant the seeds to a depth of 0.3-0.5 cm. During cultivation, irrigate the substrate regularly with warm water and ventilate the greenhouse. The flowering of a young bush can be seen in the third year after planting the seeds.