One of the easiest and most colorful houseplants is the Tradescantia zebrina or Wandering Jew Houseplant. I think it is a great beginner houseplant because it grows so well in bright light, grows quickly, and once you have one started, propagating is so easy that you can have one in every room.
If vivid purple is your kind of color, then this will be the plant you will fall in love with too! A beautiful purple stripe with shades of metallic green decorate the top side of the leaf. The underside is also a brilliant purple/reddish pink depending on the intensity of the light. Gorgeous plant.
This deep purple houseplant is grown indoors most of the time but can go outdoors in mild weather. A perennial in USDA Zones 8a to 12b, it can grow outside in the ground all year. But here in Ohio, Zone 6, I must grow it inside most of the year. It makes a great patio or deck plant and can add great color among all your other plants.
Grow it in bright light or sunlight, but it can grow in some partial shade. Tradescantia zebrina can grow very long trailing stems which are said to sprout a leaf every inch. That is why it has another common name of Inch Plant.
The Wandering Jew houseplant is so easy to grow that I stuck it in the jar of forced paperwhites along with the bulbs. Almost immediately the roots were sprouting and it made a nice colorful touch to the base of the long stalks that developed from those bulbs. Still looks great and I will need to transplant them into soil soon.
When it comes time to plant your stem cuttings (after just a bit of root has formed), be sure and plant a lot of them in a hanging basket pot. The fuller you want the Wandering Jew to be, the more cuttings you should start with originally. Pinching it back as it starts growing will encourage more branching and a fuller plant. Look at all these new cuttings I have to start an outdoor pot!
Here in Ohio, these plants are easy to find in the local garden centers at Home Depot and Lowes. Even Walmart. Don’t be afraid to start with a tiny one for $3 or $4 because they will grow quickly. But you can always find a large hanging basket ranging from $15 to $20 if you want to get a head start.
There are variations of the Wandering Jew Houseplant in just white and green, or even with additional colors like pinks thrown in. I have a Tradescantia pallida or Purple Heart and a Tradescantia geniculata or Tahitian Bridal Veil. Both have survived the winter inside and will go outdoors this spring.
Enjoy your houseplants! They are fun and relaxing and can be a fun thing to share with friends. Thanks for reading today!