Our mini Tradescantia is best-known for its compact size and soft, delicate hues. If you have a Mini Tradescantia or you plan to add one to your plant collection in the near future, consider the following care tutorial that will help you learn the essentials.
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Is mini Tradescantia Toxic?
This plant is non-toxic to people. However, some people find that Tradescantia leaves contain sap, which can be irritating to their skin. You can avoid potential skin-irritating by wearing gloves when you handle your plant or by washing your hands immediately after touching the leaves.
Mini Tradescantia can be toxic to pets. It is best to keep pets away from these plants and ensure that pets can never accidentally ingest the leaves or any other part of the plant.
How Much Water Does It Need?
Mini Tradescantia does not require overly complicated watering instructions. You should let the plant dry out slightly during the cooler months, or from about November to March, and water more often during the summer to keep the soil slightly moist.
If possible, use a self-watering pot or planter; this will help you avoid waterlogging your mini Tradescantia. If you don't have a self-watering planter, you can opt to water your plant from the bottom rather than the top.
How Much Sunlight Does It Need?
Mini Tradescantia needs indirect sunlight for at least six hours a day. However, you should never place the plant in full light; the plant is very sensitive to direct sunlight, which can easily cause the leaves to become scorched. In homes with plenty of windows, look for a window that faces the West or East.
If your mini Tradescantia does not receive enough indirect sunlight during the daytime, you may notice that the distinct, colorful leaves will begin to lose their vibrancy. In this case, you should move your plant to an area with more indirect sunlight than its previous location.
Does It Need to Be Fertilized?
As a general rule of thumb, Tradescantia is hardy enough that it doesn't need to be frequently fertilized.
You can give fertilizer every two months from April to October or the strongest growing season.
Look for a 20-5-10 liquid fertilizer; you don't want to use anything too strong, which can damage the plant. Never fertilize the plant from November through March.
How and When to Prune?
Tradescantia plants naturally grow long, vine-like leaves. How you prune and when you prune will depend primarily on the desired appearance of your plant.
If you would like the plant to grow longer, then you should opt for minimal pruning that removes dead branches or leaves only. Longer Tradescantia plants look best in hanging pots or outdoor balconies or porches where their long vines can have room to spread out.
If you would like the plant to stay short, you will need to prune and pinch your Tradescantia regularly. You will need to pinch both the stems and the leaves if you want to keep longer vines from growing from your plant.
How Do I Repot My Plant?
Ideally, you should repot your plant once a year. This will help give your plant's roots the proper amount of space to grow, which can help prevent root rot or overcrowding issues.
You should look for a pot that is about 1 to 2 inches wider than its previous pot. When you are repotting your plant, make sure to use fresh potting soil. Before you repot your plant, check for issues in the roots and, if necessary, trim away problem areas. This will help your plant start its life in a new planter as healthy as possible.
What Temperature Is Best?
Mini Tradescantia prefers moderate temperatures, between 65 and 75 °F during the day and about 65 °F during the nighttime.
However, the plant is hardy and can still grow well in slightly cooler or warmer temperatures beyond the moderate range. You may notice that plants grown in cooler temperatures will grow slowly, whereas plants grown in warmer temperatures need to be kept in a more humid environment to discourage burning.
What Are Some Common Problems Associated With This Plant?
Although these plants are known for being hardy, there are still some common problems that plant owners may face. The two most common problems that plant owners face with this plant are discoloration and leaf drop.
If the plant's leaves look discolored or faded, this is likely a signal that your plant is not getting the right amount of indirect light. You should promptly move your plant into a new area with more indirect sunlight.
If the plant's leaves begin to drop, this may be a sign that your plant is not getting enough water. In this case, you may also notice that the stems of the plant are limp. However, in some cases, this is a sign that the plant is getting old and may die soon. If the plant is otherwise healthy, you can easily take cuttings from the plant for later use.
Important: Tradescantia requires a moderate level of humidity. If the plant does start to become burned, you may see brown or crispy-textured leaves. Mist the leaves with water to help promote a higher humidity and opt for solutions such as humidifiers to bring the humidity in your home up enough.
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