Tradescantia Fluminensis: A Guide To Growing Green Inch Plant

Despite the seasons changing and the colder weather approaching, the desire for new plant additions to a yard or a house does not change. One change may be necessary, and that is choosing indoor plants rather than new plants for an outdoor garden. Tradescantia Fluminensis is a very special type of plant that can thrive both indoors and outdoors (in certain climates).

Tradescantia Fluminensis is a low-growing herbaceous perennial plant grown as both an outdoor groundcover and as a low-maintenance houseplant. Also called Green Inch Plant or Small-Leaf Spiderwort, Tradescantia fluminensis has ornamental green trailing foliage and dainty white flowers. These plants are easy to grow, easy to propagate, and make a wonderful addition to the garden.

Continue reading to learn more about the Tradescantia Fluminensis plant and how to care for one.

Tradescantia fluminensis
Tradescantia fluminensis

Tradescantia Fluminensis: The Basics

Tradescantia fluminensis, also called Green Inch Plant or Small-Leaf Spiderwort, is an herbaceous perennial plant grown for its beautiful green foliage and pretty white flowers. Tradescantia Fluminensis plants are native to tropical South America, and are part of the plant genus Tradescantia.

The plant has escaped cultivation in other areas of the world and is considered an invasive plant in some jurisdictions. Tradescantia Fluminensis is known for its extremely quick growth, and certainly can seem to grow an inch per day (hence the nickname Green Inch Plant).

The Tradescantia Fluminensis plant is evergreen, so it will stay nicely colored year-round when conditions permit. It is a perennial plant, which means it will continue to grow stronger and larger each year. The plant grows healthy, green leaves that are shaped similarly to hearts, in the sense that they are rounded on the top where it is wider and droops down to a pointed tip at the bottom of each leaf.

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Tradescantia fluminensis: a guide to growing green inch plant

Growing Tradescantia Fluminensis

This leafy plant is often grown for the delicate white flowers that make very rare appearances. These flowers only stick around for a short period of time though! While the Tradescantia Fluminensis plant produces many flowers over time, each one will only last for a single day.

Tradescantia Fluminensis plants are commonly seen growing either as ground cover in a yard or in a pot or basket indoors. Because of how quickly Tradescantia Fluminensis plants grow, they are very popular in indoor hanging baskets, because the long trailing stems filled with leaves will fall out of the basket gracefully and grow quickly.

When growing naturally outdoors, Tradescantia Fluminensis will not exceed a height of 3/4 of a foot. While these plants do not grow very tall, their nature is invasive and their growth is rapid. Tradescantia fluminensis can easily spread by a foot or two in width each year.

Tradescantia fluminensis flowers
Tradescantia fluminensis: a guide to growing green inch plant

How To Care For Tradescantia Fluminensis

Luckily, for those who are planning on growing this specific type of plant, it is very easy to care for, as most invasive plants are. In fact, when growing Tradescantia Fluminensis in a yard, the hard part is not the care to help the plant grow, but the work to remove or stop the growth of the plant.

Watering Tradescantia Fluminensis

Water your Tradescantia Fluminensis regularly. In general, this plant can be watered any time the top inch of potting mix has dried out. This plant can be watered from below (by placing it in a sink with some water in it) or with a small watering can. If possible, avoid getting the leaves too damp to avoid fungal disease. Indoor watering cans with skinny water spouts tend to work best for watering Tradescantia Fluminensis:

Watering can be reduced in the winter while the plant is resting.

Potting Soil For Tradescantia Fluminensis

While the plant needs to receive lots of water, it also needs to have well-drained soil. Without good drainage in the soil, the water could begin to cause rot either on the roots or in other parts of the soil. When wondering when to water your plant, if the top layer of the soil is dry, it is time to water. The larger the plant grows, the more water it will need.

Lighting Requirements For Tradescantia Fluminensis

Tradescantia Fluminensis grown indoors can be kept in areas with moderate light, though you can adjust your plant’s exposure to the sun if it appears to look at all droopy or otherwise unenergetic. Tradescantia Fluminensis grown indoors will likely benefit from supplemental lighting from a simple LED plant lightbulb or grouped with other houseplants under a plate-style LED diode grow light.

Keep in mind, however, that you ought not to keep it in full true sun if you have it displayed on your porch because that kind of harsh direct sunlight may burn the leaves and can potentially cause severe damage to the plant.

Fertilizing Tradescantia Fluminensis

Tradescantia Fluminensis plants grown in containers require feeding with plant fertilizer as they are isolated from their natural ecosystem.

Here are some houseplant fertilizers suitable for Tradescantia Fluminensis:

Ambient Temperature & Humidity For Tradescantia Fluminensis

Tradescantia Fluminensis can withstand temperatures as low as 40°F, but see that you always keep it at a warm 60-75 degrees as often as possible. It can handle moderately low temperatures, but one good spell of frost could very well wipe it out. Keep a room in your house nice and warm for your Tradescantia Fluminensis, and it’ll last you quite a while.

While Tradescantia Fluminensis does like a moderately humid environment, it will tolerate dry air better than some other tropicals. The most effective way to raise humidity levels is with a humidifier. You can use a regular ultrasonic mist humidifier or opt for a specialty humidifier from a plant store (like the Humidifier by Canopy from The Sill).

Tradescantia fluminensis in the woods in japan
Tradescantia fluminensis plants growing wild as groundcover in a japanese forest.

Tradescantia Fluminensis Propagation

Tradescantia Fluminensis plant grows very quickly and is easy to propagate. One of the great benefits of this characteristic is the plant’s ability to easily propagate from above-ground stems. This makes the plant easy to propagate from cuttings.

To propagate Tradescantia fluminensis, cut off a healthy stem with at least 3-5 leaves with a clean pair of scissors or pruning shears. Place the fresh cutting in a jar of clean water to let it root, or simply pop it into moist potting mix. New roots should be visible on the plant within a week.

The easy repropagation of this plant allows plant owners to create multiple different plant babies from the same main plant.

Tradescantia fluminensis flower
Tradescantia fluminensis: a guide to growing green inch plant

More Inch Plants (Tradescantia) To Grow

Here are some other types of Inch Plants (Tradescantia) to grow, in addition to Tradescantia fluminensis:

Resources

Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a gardening expert and founder of Home for the Harvest. She's also an engineer and certified permaculture garden designer. Mary Jane has been featured by publications such as Real Simple, Mother Earth News, Homes & Gardens, Heirloom Gardener, and Family Handyman.