How To Grow & Care For the Tradescantia Purple Heart

The Tradescantia Purple Heart, also known as Purple Queen or Wandering Jew, is a captivating houseplant known for its vibrant purple foliage. It adds a splash of color to any indoor or outdoor garden and is particularly favored for its easy care and graceful trailing habit.

Native to the Gulf Coast region of Eastern Mexico, this perennial evergreen plant belongs to the spiderwort family and is often grown as a ground cover or potted ornamental. Its lance-shaped leaves are a deep, glowing purple, and the stems also carry a purplish hue. The small, three-petaled pink flowers add a delightful contrast to the dark leaves.

The Tradescantia Purple Heart is an adaptable and hardy plant, flourishing in a variety of conditions. Whether grown indoors or out, it makes a striking visual impact. Below is a comprehensive guide to growing and caring for this beautiful plant, ensuring a lush and healthy display.

Common NamesTradescantia Purple Heart, Purple Queen, Wandering Jew
Botanical NameTradescantia pallida
Plant TypePerennial
Mature Size12-18 inches tall, trailing up to 2 feet
Sun ExposureFull sun to part shade
Soil TypeWell-draining, sandy loam soil
Hardiness Zones7-11
Native AreaEastern Mexico

Tradescantia Purple Heart Care

Tradescantia Purple Heart is a low-maintenance plant, thriving in a range of light and soil conditions. Regular watering, especially during the growing season, and occasional pruning to keep the plant in shape are generally all that’s needed.

While tolerant of a variety of lighting conditions, brighter light brings out the richest purple coloration. Similarly, although adaptable to different soil types, a well-draining mix promotes healthy growth. This plant is tolerant of drought and can be an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

Light Requirement for Tradescantia Purple Heart

This plant prefers bright, indirect light but can also tolerate partial shade. Direct, hot sunlight might cause leaf scorching, so filtered or morning sun is ideal. Indoors, placing it near a north or east-facing window usually provides the right amount of light.

Soil Requirements for Tradescantia Purple Heart

Tradescantia Purple Heart grows best in well-draining, sandy loam soil. It can tolerate various soil types but thrives in a mix with good aeration and drainage. A standard potting mix with added perlite or sand is usually suitable.

Water Requirements for Tradescantia Purple Heart

Regular watering during the growing season helps this plant thrive. However, it’s tolerant of drought, so allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings is advisable. In winter, reduce watering, as the plant’s growth slows down.

Temperature and Humidity

Tradescantia Purple Heart prefers temperatures between 65°F and 80°F but can tolerate cooler temperatures down to 50°F. Although it can withstand high humidity, it doesn’t require any special humidity care and can thrive in average home conditions.


A balanced, all-purpose fertilizer applied every month during the growing season will support robust growth. Over-fertilizing should be avoided, as it can lead to leggy growth and weaker coloration.

Pruning Tradescantia Purple Heart

Regular pruning helps maintain a compact and attractive shape. Cut back any leggy or overgrown stems, or pinch back the tips to encourage bushier growth.

Propagating Tradescantia Purple Heart

This plant is easily propagated through stem cuttings. Cut a healthy stem below a leaf node and place it in water or soil. It will quickly root, allowing you to expand your collection or share with friends.

How To Grow Tradescantia Purple Heart From Seed

Growing from seed is less common but possible. Sow seeds in a well-draining mix, keep moist, and provide bright, indirect light. Germination should occur within a few weeks.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Spider Mites

Tiny insects that can cause webbing and leaf damage. Regularly check and treat with insecticidal soap if needed.

Root Rot

Caused by overwatering and poor drainage. Ensure proper watering practices and well-draining soil.

Common Problems With Tradescantia Purple Heart

Leggy Growth

This may be due to insufficient light. Move the plant to a brighter location and consider pruning to encourage bushier growth.

Fading Color

Lack of bright light may cause leaves to lose their vibrant purple hue. Adjusting the light exposure should restore color.

Drooping Stems

Usually a sign of underwatering or overwatering. Adjust watering practices and check for root rot if necessary.

Pro Tips

  1. Rotate the plant regularly to ensure even growth.
  2. Provide support if growing as a climbing plant.
  3. Trim regularly to maintain a fuller appearance.
  4. Consider growing outdoors as ground cover in suitable climates.
  5. Avoid overwatering; this plant prefers to dry slightly between waterings.