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Zebrina pendula ‘Purpusii’

Wandering JewDescription

This is a fast growing vine, originating in Mexico and South America, with stems trailing 3’ (90cm) or more in no time.  The showy 2” (5cm) leaves are purplish-green with a band of silver and purple undersides.  The Wandering Jew makes a nice hanging plant, trailing down a book self, or can be trained onto a small trellis.

Light and Temperature

This plant is tolerant of some shade but prefers a bright location and can handle some cool sun that an east facing window would provide.  If you find your leaves are losing color and look more green than they should you may have it in too little light.   It would love an outdoor vacation through the mild summer months on your patio as long as it does not get too much direct sun on its leaves.

Normal room temperature is fine for this plant but make sure it does not go below 55°F (13°C) through the winter months.

Watering

Water thoroughly so you see water run through the drainage hole in the bottom but don’t let the pot sit in the water.  If you have found that you have a heavy hand and just love to water and care for your plants this may be the plant for you.  It is difficult to over water this one but they do prefer to dry out a bit between waterings if you can just control the impulse.  You will want to reduce the watering from late fall until early spring to give the plant its dormant period and pick it up again early spring and through the summer when you will water when the soil is dry only about 1” down.  When you give your plant a summer vacation outdoors you must be careful not to let it dry out too much as the breezes will hasten the drying of the soil.  Hard water can turn a soil alkaline and the Wandering Jew is a plant that can tolerate this.

Feeding

You can apply a diluted balanced fertilizer through the summer months every 2-3 weeks if you think it’s necessary but they don’t normally need fertilizing.

Medium

A light soil using 1 part humus, 1 part compost and two parts coarse sand or perlite (or a combination of these last 2 ing) would be good for this plant.  You can add 1 t./gal of dolomite limestone/media mixture to make it more alkaline if you have it.

Flowers

They will have a short lived magenta flower in the spring and summer.

Re-potting

When the roots fill the pot and you see evidence of roots coming through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot you will want to move your plant to the next size pot.  This must be done with care as the stems are brittle and break easily.

Propagating

The Wandering Jew is one of the easiest plants to propagate.  This is done with stem cuttings in a soilless rooting mix.  You can easily replace a leggy plant with many cuttings that will root quickly and then move them to the medium described above for a new bushy plant once they have a good start.  This is best done in spring or summer so the plant has plenty of time to get going before the winter reduces the amount of light available.

Pests and Problems

Spider mites may be attracted to this plant, especially if the location is warm and dry.

Brown, crisp edges indicate a location that may be too warm and dry.

Tips

Pinching often will encourage branching and you will have an attractive bushy plant.

Handle with care as the branches are fleshy and break off easily.

Varieties:

Zebrina ‘Quadracolor’ has rose-red, white, and green striped leaves

Aliases:

Silvery Inch Plant

Zebra Plant

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