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How to Propagate Tradescantia in water

Want to propagate a Tradescantia plant? Here’s how easy it is to root in water and turn into lots of new plants to share!

I recently grabbed a plant at my local plant swap (at the House of Brews if anyone is local in Charleston!)

Common names for Tradescantia Zebrina include:

  • Wandering Dude
  • Inch plant
  • Wandering jew plants
  • Baby Bunny Bellies

As I do with most plants with soft green stems, I took a cutting.

And, I was shocked that it grew roots in just a couple of days. No rooting hormone needed!

Tradescantia is one of the easiest houseplants to propagate in water and that makes me love it even more.

Plus, it’s so pretty with the purple underside of the leaves. It’s a great trailing house plant for hanging planters and hanging baskets. Unique and interesting!

I’m excited to root a bunch of thee cuttings to share with friends and swap in my local plant swap group for more cuttings. Hooray for plant propagation!


Free printable Tradescantia care guide

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TRADESCANTIA plant care guide

How to Propagate Tradescantia

Tradescantia is a beautiful trailing plant with purple heart leaves that is easy to propagate with stem cuttings! Here’s how!

STEP 1: Identify the node

Nodes are the bumps that leaves grow out of! Find one closest to where you want to make your cutting. I like 2-4 leaves ABOVE the node I cut.

It’s best to do this on a healthy branch of the parent plant with new growth, for best odds of success.

Very long stems can be cut into segments to create several cuttings.

cutting Tradescantia plant with scissors

STEP 2: Cut just below a node

Use clean sharp scissors to cut just below the leaf node. Roots will grow just where leaves are out of that node!

cutting Tradescantia plant with scissors

STEP 3: Remove leaves on that bottom node (leave only the top 4 or less leaves on the cutting)

Remove the bottom leaves from the cut node and any other nodes that will fall under water on the tradescantia cuttings.

cutting Tradescantia plant with scissors

STEP 4: Place in water in indirect sunlight

Set in a jar or cup or glass of water. This is the test tube propagation station that we built.

Tradescantia plant rooting in a test tube of water

STEP 5: Wait for roots to form

We had new roots form in less than a week! Wait at least 2 weeks or until your roots are 2 inches or so long.

Tradescantia plant rooting in a test tube of water

STEP 6: Plant in soil and enjoy your new baby plant!

Plant your new plant in moist potting mix and place in a sunny window. Or, add your baby plants to the pot of your existing plant for a fuller plant.

Be sure the new pot has proper drainage holes. Pooling water can lead to root rot and plant death!

Tradescantia plant in a plastic pot

Can you put cuttings straight into soil?

Sure, you can propagate in moist soil. I find water easier for these but if you use moist soil, loosely cover it with a plastic bag to help keep it moist.

How do you encourage the roots to grow from cuttings?

You can dip cuttings in rooting hormone to encourage root growth. However, I found that tradescantia plants rooted easily and quickly in water, no hormone needed.

how to propagate tradescantia in water

Do cuttings need light to root?

Yes – light is an important part of rooting. You don’t need to put them in direct sunny light – that can burn them up – but go for a sunny window or bright indirect light!

When should I propagate tradescantia?

The growing season for this plant is spring and summer, so that is when it will root the fastest. However, you can root indoor plants inside all year long.

Video demonstration

Check out my video showing how easy it is to propagate a Tradescantia!


Any questions about how to propagate baby bunny bellies?

Thanks for reading!

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