Inch plants are valued for their vigorous growth and colorful foliage, which can be striped with white, green, silver, or purple! They have trailing vines that flow from their base and are a very easy plant to care for. Here’s how to care for an inch plant in your home.
About Inch Plants
The inch plant (Tradescantia spp.) is a plant with multiple names. It has traditionally been known as the “Wandering Jew” plant, but this nickname has fallen out of favor in recent years due to the anti-semitic nature of the European legend to which the name refers. Today, we prefer to call this plant by its other name—inch plant—given its ability to grow very rapidly!
Inch plants are well suited to life in the home, where they’ll thrive in bright, indirect light and warm temperatures. The two species most commonly grown as houseplants are T. fluminensis, which has green or variegated leaves, and T. zebrina, which has purple- and silver-striped foliage. These are both tropical species native to the Americas, but may be considered invasive species in warm regions outside of their home ranges (including in parts of the southeastern U.S.). For this reason, we recommend growing inch plants indoors or keeping them restricted to containers outdoors.
The genus Tradescantia also includes spiderworts (or “spider-lilies”), though this name is more often associated with species that are native to temperate parts of North America. One such example is the Virginia spiderwort (T. virginiana).