Wandering Jew

The Wandering Jew is a beautiful vining house plant that has green heart shaped leaves with purple stripes and a silvery sheen. Depending on the variety, the leaves can be solid or variegated. Blooms are small with three petals and can be violet or white.

Wandering Jews thrive best in bright, but indirect sun light. The brighter the light that you provide for your plant, the more flowers it will produce. The plants deep colors will look faded if the plant doesn’t receive enough light.

Wandering Jew

Wandering Jew

These plants are happy as long as they’re not kept soaked or allowed to be completely dry too long, evenly moist is the best. If the soil is dry 1/2 inch down then the plant should be watered.

General purpose potting soil will work for Wandering Jews, but they prefer a rich soil that is organic. However, it must retain water while draining well. Sand, Perlite or peat moss can be added to help with aeration.

To make your own soil mixture, add equal parts of coarse sand or Perlite, peat or humus and garden soil together and lightly dust with lime.

A water soluble fertilizer can be used twice each month during the growing season, but should be mixed at half strength. Slow release fertilizers can be added to the soil on a yearly basis.

Wandering Jew

Wandering Jew

Wandering Jews are easily propagated from stem cuttings. Place stems in water until roots form and then plant in potting soil. Stems can also be placed on top of soil and secured until they take root while still on the mother plant.

In some people and animals, skin irritation can occur when coming in contact with the sap from the plant.

Pruning the long vines will promote a bushier, fuller plant. The cuttings can then be placed in water to form roots and start new plants.

Common Name: Wandering Jew, Chain Plant, Purple Heart Plant
Genus: Tradescantia
Family: Commelinaceae
Plant Type: Perennial
Origin: South America
Blooming Time: Year round
Humidity: Average
Temperature: 50-75*F
Height: 3′-4′
Color: Green, purple, silver
Insects and Diseases: Aphids, scale, mealy bugs

Written by Connie Corder for HouseplantsForYou.com, Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved


  1. weaza
    Jul 13, 2009

    Looking for the name of a indoor plant that vines,purple under leaf. Is not jew ivy.

    • Anonymous
      Mar 6, 2012

      It is wandering jew

    • Grace
      Apr 24, 2012

      Could be Plectranthus ecklonii Mona Lavender. I notice that this is a three year old question but I came across it looking for a plant like you discribed. This was the plant and it has lovely purple flowers.

    • leo811
      May 7, 2012


      are you speaking of Paul’s Coat?

  2. Jodi
    Jul 27, 2009

    Could your plant be purple velvet?

  3. jay
    Jul 5, 2010

    A question about my Wandering Jew. I have it hanging in a south window, with somewhat indirect light. I water it as it should be, and overall the plant seems healthy, but I notice that the leaves have turned from “meaty” or “pulpy” to somewhat thin and papery feeling, and some of the vibrant purple and green has faded somewhat. Is this common? If not, am I doing something wrong? Should it hang somewhere else? Thanks for any help in advance!
    ~ J

    • elis
      May 23, 2013

      Probably too much water. Let the soil dry out completely before watering again. But don’t let it stay completely dried out for too long!

  4. muriel
    Jul 9, 2010

    Looking for a plant. Will pay top dollar for it or for a cutting.

    Tradescantia Flumineses Varigated Inch Plant – Wandering jew.

  5. Dawn
    Aug 15, 2010

    Not sure if you found your plant or not, but Hanover Floral in New Jersey has these very beautiful plants. I bought two of them today and they were inexpensive $25 per hanging basket and they are huge plants. I know they ship anywhere, so it’s worth calling them if you are still looking for this plant. I have never seen a wandering jew plant before and I was captivated by the beauty of the long hanging purple vines. Hope this helps you.


  6. Susan McCarthy
    Aug 19, 2010

    I have Wandering Jew Plants – they are green and white with a purple underbelly.

    Is this what you are interested in? Let me know. Sue

  7. satan
    Nov 10, 2010

    the wandering jew is a horrible thing to name a plant like really!?!? think of a diffrent BETTER name

    • Indoor Gardener
      Nov 11, 2010

      We didnt name it.

    • Elaine Ilmberger
      Dec 1, 2012

      I bought this plant under the name of “Moses in the Cradle” and love that name. My husband told me it is also called Wandering Jew, so I suppose the people at Trader Joe’s came up with out this more politically-correct name

    • Crystal
      Jun 13, 2013

      Do some research before spouting off.

  8. lulu
    Nov 11, 2010

    Oh Ok SATAN

  9. Elbert
    Nov 29, 2010

    I have a Wondering Jew that I have been growing for the past 10 years I know and have grown other pots of the wandering Jew from cuttings just put them in water let them root and then plant in a new pot. My first plant has many children plants and my first plant is as beautiful today as it was when I took the cutting from a friends plant years ago.

  10. Lauren
    Jan 7, 2011

    does anyone know how it got the name “wandering jew?”
    it’s really a great plant, especially for a novice like me. it’s gorgeous & easy to grow & propagate.
    it also looks great in little vases around the house, for decoration, when trying to propagate it.

    • Billie McCulley
      Sep 21, 2012

      It comes from a legend of a shoemaker who taunted Jesus on the way to the crucifixion. The doomed sinner was forced to wander.

  11. Traveris
    Jan 18, 2011

    2 words
    I am a hort and agri student and plant lover and this answers all my q`s

  12. lester brien
    Apr 22, 2011

    We have wandering jew gone feral over our lawns. I am talkinig about a couple of acres of the stuff. What is the best method of killing it ?

    • Anonymous
      Mar 6, 2012

      Try weed killer

  13. Megan
    May 23, 2011

    I have a wondering jew and been keeping it inside for a few months now, I noticed the other day there are a lot of small fruit flies all over and in the plant.. Once I put it outside it got worse.. How do I get rid of the flies so I can bring the plant back inside?!

  14. Mrs.Slone
    May 30, 2011

    @ lester you can till the ground up tearing the roots out after trying to pick some of it if you want to save any of it and then wait for them to reappear wich would take about 2 weeks or so then plow them again give another time period. The more you plow them under the more of a chance that they will not sprout back up. Another things is that you can use is strong weed killer may have to spray several times but they will die after a while they are hard to kill out One more tip is that you could take and place a Black plastic over the area it being as big as you said then it would take allot but after a few weeks they will die from the heat and being deprived from water.
    Hope this may have helped some what.

    @ Megan You can make a solution in a spray bottle with 2 parts water to 1 part liquid dish detergent make sure it not anti-bacterial then shake well letting it set and then after the flies has left you can then spay it with normal water washing the other stuff off and then you are good to go.

  15. michelle
    Jun 1, 2011

    was wondering after i grow the roots on my wondering jew if it matters what size pot i plant it in

  16. Mrs.Slone
    Jun 1, 2011

    @ michelle it really does not matter what size you put it in if you put it in a small one the bigger it gets the bigger the pot you will have to transplant it in so it would be better to put it in a bigger pot to begin with place it in the center of the pot so the roots can expand.

  17. Cheryl
    Jun 1, 2011

    I got a wandering jew for Mothers Day I did not know that it was a indoor plant.
    I hung it outside on my porch and it got really soaked. I took out all the dead leafs
    and hung it out to dry do you think it will come back and what should I do?
    Please help I feel so bad my son got this for me.

    Thank You

  18. michelle
    Jun 1, 2011

    Thank you Mrs.Slone that is very helpful! someone also told me that if i put it in the bigger pot that the roots would out grow the plant itself and the plant would not produce as well is there any truth in that

  19. Mrs.Slone
    Jun 1, 2011

    in all honesty michelle I really do not know the answer to that I would think that it would grow just the same keep the tips trimmed off and more pups will come out. it also seems to be one of those types of plants that you can split apart and make more plants as well. I am sorry that I can not answer that question. But just keep an eye on it if you do plant it in a bigger pot and if you see that it is not doing as you think it should then transplant it to a smaller one. Just be-careful not to harm the roots

  20. Cheryl
    Jun 9, 2011

    Cheryl says:
    June 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm
    I got a wandering jew for Mothers Day I did not know that it was a indoor plant.
    I hung it outside on my porch and it got really soaked. I took out all the dead leafs
    and hung it out to dry do you think it will come back and what should I do?
    Please help I feel so bad my son got this for me.

    Thank You

    • Runningdiceman
      Sep 9, 2012

      As long as it does not get below 20 outside it should be fine, I planted one behind a dune, on the beach ofcourse in topsail, I gave it 3 foot hole with organic fertilizer, its thriving, hugging the ocean!!

  21. PlantLady
    Jun 15, 2011

    Cheryl, if the soil dried out fairly quickly the plant should be ok. I’d recommend sticking your finger down into the soil as far as you can to see how wet the bottom section is. Even if you’ve hung it somewhere to dry, the top of the soil can be dry while the bottom part could still be soaked rotting the roots.

    These plants will literally grow outside in the ground, so a lot of rain isn’t the main problem. The problem comes when you have a pot or hanging basket that doesn’t have drainage holes where the excess water can drain away from the roots.

    I have never kept one outside. But, my neighbor hasone that she keeps outside until time for frosts. It growed like crazy outside, but she had it hanging under her porch out of the rain.

    If your pot doesn’t have drainage holes and the soil deep in the plant is still wet, it would be safer to repot the plant. If the soil has been wet for awhile, you’ll probably find that there are some mushy rotting roots and these roots will cause the rest of the roots to rot as well. Hope your plant comes out of it.

  22. marianne
    Jun 18, 2011

    I am reading that everyone one has theirs as indoor plants. I have mine planted outside in my flower bed and they are doing fine.

    • Indoor Gardener
      Jun 19, 2011

      Where are you located? If you are in an area that has mild winters it would make sense.

  23. PlantLady
    Jun 21, 2011

    If you live in certain areas these will thrive outside if they’re in a good location for their sun requirements. I’ve never tried growing them in a flower bed, we get really cold temps here and it would be a major job digging the plant up and bringing it indoors until spring.

  24. harley
    Jun 29, 2011

    I live in north carolina I would like to know if it is alright to plant my jew outside. If so when should I plant it?

    • Paul
      Apr 12, 2012

      Hey Harley, I know it’s an old question you had about the Wandering Jew plant but to answer it I’m also in NC and NOW is the time to go ahead and plant it. Well actually after this little cold spell passes would be better. I’ve been growing them for years here outside in NC. I believe it works best in a hanging basket high off the ground because it likes to grow downward kinda like a vine. It also will do well in a flower bed but I prefer the basket. Even in a standard 12 inch basket you can easily get it over 10 feet. It’s very beautiful with the green and purple leaves(it won’t flower), grows fast and it’s very resilient. The thing won’t die until November or December, long long after all the others are gone. If you brought it indoors I’m sure it could survive just fine, but mine usually get so huge bringing them indoors is a little ridiculous. Last year I remember having to trim them with hedge clippers because they were already 10 feet long and it was only mid-summer. I fertilize very little btw. I know this was an old post but I felt compelled to respond. Good luck.

  25. Paul
    Apr 12, 2012

    Love this plant, have a couple of hanging baskets each year that will usually grow 6-8 feet. I did hang one just beyond the awning off our deck once and it grew to 15 feet or so. They are so easy to grow. You can take a 4-6 inch cutting, dip it in some of that root powder(also put a little powder into the soil where you place the cutting) and within a month you’ll have a fully vibrant and healthy plant.

    I agree with you all on the name though. Really? It’s funny I asked the girl who sold it to me last year what the name of it was and she said, “Wandering Dew.” LOL So I think that’s what I’ll call it. Sounds better even if it makes no sense.

  26. Steve
    May 3, 2012

    Is it OK to hang a wandering jew hanging basket on a front porch? If yes, which direction should it face? At what temperature should it be moved inside for the fall? At what temperature can it be moved back outside in the spring? Thanks!

  27. sharon
    Jul 15, 2012

    I live in St. Louis and have been to several nurseries and haven’t found 1 wandering jew. I really want one.

  28. Kellina
    Jul 25, 2012

    I have a Wandering Jew and I absolutely love it. As I was reading your care and growing guard, I saw that you mentioned you can prune the Wandering Jew to make it fuller/thicker. How exactly do you do that? I’m afraid of doing something and in return, shocking it and killing it. The center of the plant is lacking thickness badly. Please help me…Thank you!

  29. stephanie
    Sep 10, 2012

    grew up in sc and had wandering jew in ground all my life in texas now and it lives the same

  30. Karen Wicker
    Sep 16, 2012

    I got a leaf of the Wandering Jew.I now have 3 full hanging pots.My husband planted some in his little garden and my daughter has planted some herself.All off of mine.Which as I said started off as 1 leaf,planted in soil only.It is so easy to grow and maintain.Just pinch off a bit and replant it anywhere.It will take root.They do love sun.And the leaves are prettier when they get some sun.I got mine around June this year.I live in Anderson SC.They are gorgeous plants.Just love them along with my Crepe Myrtles.Both are very sturdy and will grow very good.I have put a cutting of my Crepe Myrtle in the ground and it take root.And just for the record,I have a black thumb not a green one.lol

  31. Phyllis Poole
    Oct 2, 2012

    I have wandering jew. the person I got it from had it in water only. I grow it that way also. It needs a lot of water if in dirt. It does not have blooms however and I’m wondering if what I have is truly this plant.
    My daughter in Texas has some and it is outside. It blooms and the leaves she said are 5-6″ wide. Mine are 1″ and I am in Ind. I planted some outside and will see if it overwinters. Her area in Texas has some freezing, but short , lived over night only.
    I will ck the other names given earlier.

  32. Phil
    Oct 18, 2012

    I am not a plant grower but my uncle gave me one of these. Can they be stored indoors for the winter and planted outside in the summer?

  33. johanna
    May 12, 2013

    What is causing my plants stems to wither and dry? The leaves at the ends are sill healthy and beautiful, but as stems come out of the dirt, they appear dead. what can I do to prevent this? Any help anyone can send my way will be greatly appreciated!

  34. Angie
    Jul 5, 2013

    Just got my WJ. I love the contrasting colors.

    Live in Iowa, the green house had tons of them at 50% off.

    Holubs was the name.

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