If you’ve ever perused the houseplant section in a supermarket, you’ll have probably seen something that causes many plant lovers pain – painted succulents. These are regular succulents painted in bright colours to appeal to magpie eyes; but in fact, the paint is covering the plant’s leaves, disabling its ability to photosynthesise. Eventually, it may die, meaning a waste of plant, and a waste of money. Fortunately, there are beautiful colours that exist naturally in succulents, from yellow, to pink, to purple and blue – and these plants require no artificial colourings! Tradescantia is one such plant…
How to Grow Tradescantia
Flowering time: in most species, encouraging flowers in an indoor Tradescantia can be tricky but not impossible. These tiny, three-petal flowers bloom at a fraction of the size of their leaves and only stay open for a couple days, at the most opening in the morning and closing at night like an outdoor flower would. You have the best chance to see these flowers when you can give your plant the brightest indirect light possible in the spring and summer.
Location: anywhere away from drafts.
Soil: use a succulent-based mix to give your plant plenty of drainage.
Light: bright, direct light with the occasional grow light to supplement them in the winter.
Water: because Tradescantia are succulents, they don’t require too much water, but it’s also a bad practice to let them dry out too much. Water when the top three to five centimeters feel dry and slightly decrease your schedule in the wintertime when they go dormant.
Care: often a low-maintenance and laid back plant but this can depend on the specific species.
You may not have heard of the genus name Tradescantia, but even if you’re a beginner plant parent, there is a great chance that you’ve seen or heard of the indoor plant commonly called the Wandering Jew. While this name has more than problematic origins, this beautiful plant is a member of the Tradescantia genus, a family of succulents known for their stunning colors and easy care requirements. With over 70 varieties, this genus is home to plants like the Tradescantia zebrina (the plant we mentioned earlier), the extremely popular and pink Tradescantia albiflora ‘nanouk’ and the classic and colorful Tricolor. In the right conditions, one of these succulents can grow like wildfire, spreading out across walls and draping over shelves, giving you the opportunity to chop up their tendrils and practice your propagating techniques!
Plants from the Tradescantia genus are often known for their easy and straightforward care needs. These plants typically prefer to grow in a succulent-heavy soil mix so their roots can have plenty of room to stretch and breathe. More often than not, this succulent genus can be self-sufficient and require less external care or intervention to grow and thrive indoors. As with most other houseplants, over watering and too much care is the number one killer of the Tradescantia, so whether you have a Nanouk or Zebrina, its best to leave it alone on a regular basis and let it do its own thing.
Tradescantia species are popular indoor plants because of how laid back they are to care for. Like most succulents, they prefer the brightest (but indirect) light you have in your home and don’t like to be watered too often; however, these plants can be grown as permanent propagates in either water, perlite, or coco coir if you so choose, too! We should briefly note that while most Tradescantia species are considered pet-friendly, many varieties can hinder a cat or dog’s digestive system, so we recommend keeping these far from the reach of your four-legged friends.
Where can you find a Tradescantia of your own?
Each species of the Tradescantia genus is incredibly unique and stands out all on its own, but its care needs and preferences are somewhat similar across the board. Pretty Cactus, we carry a wide variety of succulents, including a few Tradescantia and can recommend care requirements and guidelines for each species. Every plant we bring into our store is carefully chosen in small batches for their health, rarity, and beauty by the local nurseries we trust to source from. Because of the one-of-a-kind look to these plants, we also carry gorgeous pots to perfectly match any spineless cactus you bring into your home.
Pretty Cactus Plants (www.prettycactus.co.uk) currently has stock of these fun and quirky houseplants and can be ordered online for direct delivery to your door!
ABOUT PRETTY CACTUS
Pretty Cactus is run by Donna and her lovely team from the shop in Brooke, South Norfolk.
Donna started the business in 2018, growing a passion into a business. Donna had always been a plant lover, spending hours in the garden centre and DIY stores picking up sad and reduced pants – nursing them back to health. The homegrown plants were sold at country fayres and craft markets. Before long, Donna was so busy she decided to give up her corporate job and run Pretty Cactus as a full-time venture. Opening her very first shop and website to sell online.
Donna now works with a team or growers and distributors in the UK and Holland to source plants, trying, where possible to get hold of more unusual cacti, succulents, and houseplants.
Donna and the Pretty Cactus team are always looking for new ways to style plants. Displaying these ideas in the shop and on Social Media. The Pretty Cactus shop has become an inspirational hub for plant lovers near and far who love to visit the store for ideas, plants, pots, and a bit of friendly plant chat too.