Tradescantia pallida 'Purpurea' (Purple Heart)

Scientific Name

Tradescantia pallida 'Purpurea'

Common Names

Purple Heart, Purple Queen, Purple Spiderwort, Purple Wandering Jew


Tradescantia pallida 'Purple Heart', Tradescantia purpurea, Setcreasea purpurea, Setcreasea tampicana

Scientific Classification

Family: Commelinaceae
Subfamily: Commelinoideae
Tribe: Tradescantieae
Subtribe: Tradescantiinae
Genus: Tradescantia


Tradescantia pallida 'Purpurea' is a trailing, evergreen perennial, up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall, with purple, succulent stems and narrowly elliptic, purplish, glaucous green leaves up to 6 inches (15 cm) long. The terminal, bright pink, 3-petalled flowers are up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) wide.


USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Growing Tradescantia is easy and you will find the plants to be quite resilient. These plants typically grow in moist, well-drained and acidic (pH 5 to 6) soil. Tradescantias do best in partial shade but will do equally well in sunny areas as long as the soil is kept moist.

You can grow Tradescantia indoors too as long as suitable conditions are given. Provide the plant with either a soilless mix or loam-based potting compost and keep it in bright filtered light. You should also pinch out the growing tips to encourage bushier growth.

Allow it to spend warm spring and summers days outdoors, if feasible. During its active growth, water moderately and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks. Water sparingly in winter.

These plants like to be kept fairly moist, so water regularly, especially if you are growing them in containers. Cutting the plants back once flowering has ceased can often promote a second bloom and will help prevent re-seeding. Cut the stems back about 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) from the ground… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Tradescantia


Tradescantia pallida 'Purpurea' is a cultivar of Tradescantia pallida with purple foliage that has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.


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If you are a fan of exotic and colourful plants, then growing tradescantia pallida in your home is one of the best choices you can make.

It will bring diversity to your otherwise unicolour greenery and shrubbery and will also clean your air.

And, if you wonder where to find all the tips and tricks – seek no further my friend!

Here you have all you need for proper care, from watering to reproducing.

So, feel free to follow these tips and share with us in the comments the photos of your beautiful purple queen!

Purple Heart Plants Care

Purple-heart plants are often referred to as “creeping perennials”, due to the fact that they will spread out as they grow. These plants will typically reach anywhere from eight to up to 14 inches tall and 16 inches wide (although they can spread out about five feet). They are considered to have a fairly fast rate of growth, especially when compared to other indoor plants. Their flowers will die off in the winter months.

Potential gardeners should be aware that purple-heart flowers are known to form dense groundcovers, which can prevent the germination and establishment of other plants.

Despite being considered invasive in certain parts of the world, including Cuba and Puerto Rico, they are still a popular choice for hanging pots as well as gardens, since they can add a lush and tropical ground cover texture to any landscape. Its downward trailing stem means it will always stand out, even when planted as part of border fronts, wall plantings, and rock gardens.


Planting your purple-hearts in full sun can help ensure that they grow the most bold and vibrant purple stems. The plant can also grow in partial shade, but their stems are more likely to appear green than purple.

It's best to introduce these plants to brighter conditions over time, however, as too much direct sunlight all at once can lead to foliage burn.

Purple-heart plants will grow best in soil that's lightweight, porous and moist. Though most commercial potting mixes will work just fine, the soil should ideally include peat moss, perlite, and compost. However, you'll just want to be sure that there's drainage holes on the bottom of the container or pot when planting indoors, as too much water retained by the soil can lead to root rot.


Purple-heart plants are considered to be drought-tolerant, and will not require a great deal of watering. For best growth, however, it is best not to let them sit dry for long periods.

Aim to water these plants when the top layer of soil feels dry to the touch. You'll also want to stick to watering them during their blooming season. Keep in mind that younger plants will require more moisture than adults, and they should generally be watered at least weekly.

Temperature and Humidity

Purple-heart plants can survive in an array of temperatures, but they are susceptible to frost. The average household humidity of 40 to 50 percent creates an ideal growing condition for these plants. If your house has drier air, a humidifier can help, as can placing your plant in a bathroom or kitchen. Dry air will impact the leaves, rendering them limp.


The purple-heart plant generally doesn't require fertilizer, although it can be used. Just be sure to dilute the solution to about half of its regular strength.

Tradescantia pallida has vibrant purple foliage. Source: jam343

Originating in eastern Mexico, this particular species of wandering jew is a stunner. Its leaves, which are long and pointed, can reach up to seven inches in length. Sometimes the tips will remain red or green while the rest of the leaf turns purple.

The stems have obvious segmentation along their length. This has contributed to its spread as an invasive species in warmer climates. At the joints, the plant is weaker and easy to snap off, but it reroots from the joint easily. This also makes it very easy to grow from cuttings!

In cooler climates, there’s little risk of it becoming widespread. Tradescantia pallida is not tolerant of frosty climates and will die back in the cold.

The flowers it produces are small. Often three-petaled, they range from white to pinks and lavenders in color. They aren’t particularly showy, but offer a counterpoint to the bright foliage.

The Many Names For Purple Heart

What’s in a name? In the case of this plant, an awful lot.

Originally named Setcreasea pallida, the botanical name Setcreasea purpurea has also been used. The former was its botanical name from 1911 onward. Both of these names fell out of usage in 1975 when it was reclassified as Tradescantia pallida.

As for its common names, it has many of those as well! Wandering jew, walking jew, purple heart, purple queen, and purple secretia are used. It’s also referred to as a combination of any of the above, such as wandering jew purple heart.

An Indoor Contaminant Cleanser

Phytoremediation is becoming a popular topic in our over-polluted world. And here, the purple heart wandering jew excels. Its ability to remove volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) from our indoor air is highly rated!

More and more often, people are turning to plants to improve their air quality. Tradescantia pallida was rated “superior” after an extended study at the University of Georgia. It only lost out to a handful of other plants.

English ivy and wax plants were slightly better at air cleaning than purple heart. So were asparagus fern and the purple waffle plant. But if you’re looking to clean your air, growing a mix of these will help!

Some tests have also shown that this wandering jew can help absorb heavy metals in soil. There’s still more testing that needs to happen, but it’s clear that this plant will make your life better in more ways than one.

Tradescantia, Purple Heart, Purple Queen, Wandering Jew 'Purpurea'

Family: Commelinaceae (ko-mel-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tradescantia (trad-es-KAN-tee-uh) (Info)
Species: pallida (PAL-lid-duh) (Info)
Cultivar: Purpurea
Additional cultivar information:(aka Purple Heart)
Synonym:Setcreasea jaumavensis
Synonym:Setcreasea lanceolata
Synonym:Setcreasea pallida
Synonym:Setcreasea purpurea


Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

By stooling or mound layering

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Montgomery, Alabama(2 reports)

Citrus Heights, California

Knights Landing, California

Manhattan Beach, California

Rowland Heights, California

Vista, California(9 reports)

Big Pine Key, Florida(2 reports)

Fort Myers, Florida(2 reports)

Hollywood, Florida(2 reports)

Jacksonville, Florida(2 reports)

Lakeland, Florida(3 reports)

Saint Petersburg, Florida(2 reports)

Sarasota, Florida(2 reports)

Braselton, Georgia(2 reports)

Mcdonough, Georgia(2 reports)

Baton Rouge, Louisiana(2 reports)

Independence, Louisiana(2 reports)

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Maryland Heights, Missouri

Las Vegas, Nevada(3 reports)

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Fuquay Varina, North Carolina

Kure Beach, North Carolina

Mount Holly, North Carolina

Taylorsville, North Carolina

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma(2 reports)

Beaufort, South Carolina(2 reports)

Florence, South Carolina(2 reports)

Fort Mill, South Carolina(2 reports)

Georgetown, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Murrells Inlet, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Memphis, Tennessee(2 reports)

Fort Worth, Texas(3 reports)

Missouri City, Texas(2 reports)

San Antonio, Texas(4 reports)

White Center, Washington(2 reports)

South Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Gardeners' Notes:

On Feb 6, 2020, Arurye from Oviedo, FL wrote:

For those of you who had an allergic reaction to this plant - can you share with me more about your symptoms - I want to see if further testing might be required with this plant or ruling this out as the cause of an ongoing skin reaction I have been suffering from.

On Jul 16, 2018, sarathea from Micanopy, FL wrote:

This plant causes a poison-ivy-like, persistent rash that spreads and will not go away, for me. The only way to get rid of it is rx cortisone ointment, much stronger than over the counter cortisone ointments. A wild cousin of this plant, (Tradescantia, called dayflower in Florida), causes the same persistent itchy rash. It should not be sold or kept in gardens, you never know who will have this reaction!

On May 3, 2018, cwss from San Antonio, TX wrote:

Although it made a good filler plant along my fence in shade, mosquitoes love to breed under this plant in the shade. I am slowly removing most of it.

On Feb 24, 2017, smac17 from Georgetown, TX wrote:

This plant is SCARY invasive in my yard in south Texas. It just started sprouting up on the other side of a deep-set concrete sidewalk that I was counting on to restrain it. So now I have to weed my lawn of this stuff. In the unrestrained area seems to be moving at about 3-4 ft per year.

On Jul 16, 2016, Sunflower1888 from Manassas, VA wrote:

I was on a walk through a neighborhood in South Carolina while vacationing. One of the residents had thinned their Purple Heart and had the cuttings at the curb. I grabbed two stems from the castoffs. The cuttings stayed in a glass of water until we travelled home. For the ride home they were wrapped in damp paper towel and aluminim foil. They survived the trip, have rooted in water and this morning I potted them. They have been happily blooming while rooting and have put out new growth, too. I am looking forward to having them in the landscape!! I will leave them potted to let them get established, winter them indoors and set them out next spring. I am only guessing that they wont become too invasive here ( zone 7a ) as they should die back in the winter.

On Apr 8, 2016, FlyPoison from Rock Hill, SC (Zone 7a) wrote:

RoundUp or several applications of white vinegar persistently applied will eradicate this plant for any that have had trouble extirpating it.

On Sep 13, 2015, siege2055 from Stilwell, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is hardy here in zone 7a, and has for the last four years came back. While digging in the same area after winter to plant something else, I would find little rooted stem sections below the surface from the previous year, with maybe one or two nodes that did not freeze, and from these they will grow again. I also had success overwintering this before I knew it would survive here, by putting large un rooted stem cuttings in a paper bag, and placing in the crawlspace of my house till spring, then re rooting them.

On Aug 5, 2015, darlingnikki76 from Lithonia, GA wrote:

I don't care about the plant being invasive, that was the point of the purchase. Even though the plant tag said "annual" I knew it would come back year after year. It is surrounding my mailbox and has a plastic border AND river rock border. However, I wish the tag had mentioned the allergy alert. My face and tongue was on fire for 2 days after planting this beast and I had no idea why until I googled every plant I planted that day. Thanx for the info Daves Garden.

I even used gardening gloves. I'll never touch it again lol But it is beautiful. Once it fills out, I'll remove the Sedum 'Dazzleberry' SunSparkler and plant it in the river rock borders.

On Jul 17, 2014, JerusalemCherry from Dunellen, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:

Great as a annual landscape plant in NJ, turns very purple in full sun. Also, they have a new variety called "Ocampo White". Same as the purple one except it's green with only light purple accents. Looks awesome next to the standard purple Wandering Jew.

On Oct 12, 2013, burien_gardener from Burien (SW Seattle), WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I secured a variegated form of Purple Heart/Queen/etc. Lovely rose-pink against the deep purple.

Great way to get rid of it if you find yourself personally threatened by it: Bring to Seattle for the slugs to eat, and leave out in winter rain to drown and rot. It may be temperature hardy in Seattle, but slugs and 30 in of rain will do it in.

On Jun 21, 2013, alclubb from Flower Mound, TX wrote:

I have had this plant in all of my yards for over 40 years. I would not call it invasive. I've had dwarf bamboo and mint that are invasive. This lovely plant spreads easily, but can be kept under control. It breaks very easily and that is all that is necessary. I am currently rooting it in different places in my shade garden, but it really prefers more sun. However, it makes a fantastic contrast with lime green or silvery plants. Try it with Japanese Painted Ferns. It is stunning mixed with moneywort also. I love this plant and probably will never have a garden that doesn't have it somewhere. It is maintenance free.

On Jun 20, 2013, txnuby from Rockport, TX wrote:

Hi. It is like this I think the plant is very pretty but I am allergic to it! I bought a house and it was growing everywhere!
So I asked a friend how to kill it. She said save all your pickle juice and boil it then pour boiling pickle juice on it! Pretty drastic and cruel but I tried it and it worked. But as things go more grew up in different places. It is pretty so now all I do is avoid it or wear gloves, long sleeves and wash immediately after working around it in yard. I also wash gloves and clothes separately and run washer through with empty load to clean washer! GRR It is a plant and does give oxygen to air so why not. Yes invasive, but so are many others, you just have to be the adult and keep them under control.

On Jul 2, 2012, cball from Garland, TX wrote:

I love the beautiful color of this plant and it is very easy to grow and propagate. I have shared with all my neighbors. I admit that I did go overboard in planting it. I decided to get rid of it in one area and could not dig it up in my clay soil. Spraying it also did not work. I was successful in getting rid of it in the one area by breaking it off at ground level every few days. It could not photo synthesize andwith no light, ran out of energy. This is the best way to get rid of it in an area where you don't want it. I suppose covering it with black plastic would also work. Almost everyone in the neighborhood has it now thanks to me. It is so eye catching! Love it!

On May 8, 2012, cloud92012 from Leeds,
United Kingdom wrote:

My experience with this beautiful and mesmirising plant starts in the Disney Epcot Centre Florida,September 2011.I was visiting the park when and had just exited an attraction when I noticed the eye catching ,unusual purple plant in full bloom with its beautiful flowers. At the time,back home is was in the process of building a terrarium for a gecko native to tropical areas of the world and wanted to create a rainforest type environment with live plants,so immediatly, I decided I wanted this plant. The problem I had was I was several thousand miles from home and would need to get it through US border control. I took a small cuttinf with a couple of leaves, and carried it around in a half filled bottle of water untill I got back to our villa, at which time, I kept it alive on a dish of wate. read more r for the remaining time of our holiday. When it was time to leave for the airport, I carefully placed the cutting in the pocket of my swimming shorts and tried my best to carefully pack it into my case. I was unaware at this stage what the plant was, and was skeptical as to whether it would even survive the journey accross the atlantic in the sub zero temperatures of an aeroplane cargo hold and even if it did, whether or not it would take root. Well, it did, and the formidable US customs did not spot it. When I got home, I planted it with root hormone, cut off all leaves but one and now 9 months on it has grown into a beautiful thriving plant, potted on my window cill. It will eventually be a central piece of my terrarium once I get round to finishing it. Just wonder when I will see the first flowers? Any ideas? Also leaves are hairy.. Is this normal?

On Apr 5, 2012, tracyb433 from Winter Haven, FL wrote:

I'm gonna give it a neutral cause you can't blame the plant for being a survivor. I have had it in the past and it does spread like wildfire where ever it lands. Doesn't need attention and I have had neighbors knock on the door wanting some. It does great in hot sun, where it gets it most vrbrant color, and drought tolerant here in central Florida. Have stayed away from it for over 25 years, but mother recently past and I found a piece growing in some dirt from another plant I took from mom's. Now the problem, do I keep it knowing it has a wild side? It is just a 8 inch stem at this point and I put it in a hanging basket, but I also know if the stems break off it will root where it lands. Hate throwing perfectly good plants away.

On Mar 20, 2012, NYCtropics from New York, NY wrote:

Beautiful plant that grows vigorously during the summer months. And the best part is that its hardy in NYC! Maybe this winter wasnt a great test to find out it's true hardiness in NYC because it was a very mild winter, but Im still really impressed that it survived and is coming back from the ground now on the first day of Spring. Its in a very warm area of the yard where the ground does not freeze at all during mild winters like this one.
Great dieback perennial for at least zone 8a and up, possibly a good perennial in zone 7 as well, epecially during mild winters.

On Jun 23, 2011, nhhsgal from Glennville, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant was one that had apparently died off during a series of major changes in my husband's household. I had no idea what it was, but transplanted it into a larger pot just to see what would happen since I do not have a green thumb. I actually planted it into 2 pots, which remained outdoors from the time of transplantation late last fall. We were pleasantly surprised to see them poking through the soil in the pots this spring. They seem to be quite healthy, with a nice medium-dark purple color and the tiny pink flowers that show up each morning.

I found this site while doing some research on the plants to help decide where to move the pots to. My sister-in-law is a Master Gardener, who was able to identify the plants just from my description of them, and gave me th. read more e name. I have learned a lot about the plant from reading the many postings here, and hope to be able to help others looking for information on it.

I cautioned my husband that if he breaks off any stems as he passes by the plants, he should stick them back into the soil in the pot so that it doesn't just take root where it drops. I look forward to expanding these plants and finding potential new locations for it around the house and yard.

On May 2, 2011, chrshnn from Austell, GA wrote:

Bought home 4 years ago and had no idea plant was in yard. It showed up 2nd year between two crepe myrtles and is now at max a 2 foot wide ball of happy pink flowers on a mound of purple. I have had no problems with it being invasive and until coming to this site, I had thought it was mounding and didn't know it would spread. Very pleased with it.

On Mar 23, 2011, luis_pr from Hurst, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

Good for areas where it can grow and grow and basically take over everything. Not recommended though too invasive in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. Will crowd out small shrubs nearby.

On Mar 21, 2011, phase2682 from Roseville, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

The good thing about T. pallida is that it is hard to kill, the bad thing is it is hard to kill. A great plant in the right spot. It provides a great contrast color for me in a planter that tends to stay wet due to poor drainage. The cement sidewalk along the planter edge has kept it in check as well as the winter freeze back. Every spring I prune it back to the ground and it responds with beautiful new growth.

On Mar 21, 2011, Omoloya from Hamilton Township, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have an indoor plant that looks like this plant, but its leaves are furry. is it another variety of tradescantia?

On Sep 13, 2010, Susan_Chicago from Chicago, IL wrote:

First saw these plants as spectacular, almost unbelievably dense and beautiful ground covers along the perimeters of the old airport in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico in 1968. (That is also when many windmills could be seen there.) It took me years to track down what I'd seen, but finally I located a plant in a greenhouse . about 1974 or '75. Have taken cuttings from it ever since and LOVE this original plant, which I treat as a venerable friend. My Purple Heart plants come inside for Chicago winters, in pots, and dry back to almost nothing with minimal watering and low sunlight on indoor windowsills. Then, wham-o, the plants reemerge and thrive every summer on my deck, complete with those lovely pink flowers. I've had pots or hanging baskets indoors and outdoors for many, many years and have g. read more iven away more plants and cuttings than I can count. All it takes to start a new stalk is to poke a pencil into the soil and then slip a cutting (or break-off) into the tunnel. I have no idea about the "invasive" qualities some people here complain about: My experiences have been all good. Long live the Purple Heart/Purple Queen!!

On May 24, 2010, the_naturalist from Monrovia, CA wrote:

Tough and beautiful, just cover part of a stem with an attached leaf node with dirt and it will root--keep it moist til it is strong if you want faster growth. Easy to keep under control, too--no shears needed, just break it apart by hand. Very drought-resistant, no pests, any light. Only way to kill it is to dig up the fat, fleshy roots.

On May 24, 2010, elliotsdottir from Belmont, MA (Zone 6b) wrote:

This is an incredibly invasive, unremovable weed! It has popped up repeatedly in big clumps hundreds of feet from where it first appeared, withstands any amount of abuse and now my neighbors have it. It seems especially bad this year after a record rainfall in March/April. If anyone knows how to get rid of it, I'd appreciate an answer. Location: Belmont, Mass. zone 6b.

On May 24, 2010, jazzy1okc from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

Although when I bought it I was told this plantcould only be grown as a houseplant here, it is now scattered all about my zone 7 garden and has been reliably returning for about seven years. I worried it would not survive our recent cold, wet, and icy winter, but it has. I love its dark purple trailing habit and the way its color and texture spark the texture and color of plants with magenta, pink, yellow, light green, white and even silver foliage or blooms. It grows well and looks great with Mediterranean herbs, cone flowers, yarrow, ornamental grasses, sedum, and ice plant in full sun "hot" beds. Here, any plant that thrives in clay loam, extreme heat, high winds, hail, as well as the radiated heat from brick and cement, is a miracle worker! It does put down deep roots, but where I. read more don't want it, I simply dig it up.

On May 1, 2010, lupus55 from Adelaide,
Australia wrote:

It grows well in Adelaide (The Capital city of South Australia).

On Apr 18, 2010, bridgeinclover from Clover, SC wrote:

I planted these last spring and they were gorgeous! The area I planted in gets only morning sun and they still did great. The died off in the winter. I am wondering when (or IF) they will bounce back. No sign of them yet and it's already mid April! :(

On Feb 28, 2010, ladybug_pc from Adairsville, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I have not found this plant to be invasive in my area. I use it as a border around the front of my flower beds. It fills in nicely each summer and dies back to the ground in winter. It has not popped up anywhere else in my flower bed. My husband likes the fact that he can just run the lawnmower right up against the edge of the plant when he mows and it doesn't seem to mind. I have not tried to remove this plant, so I don't know how difficult that would be.

On Jul 26, 2009, PKayW from Pearl Beach,
Australia wrote:

This plant is incredibly invasive: nearly as bad as a cultivar as its relative Tradescantia fluminensis, a declared weed, which smothers all other ground plants. Why not try the Australian blue Wandering Jew, Commelina cyanea, a native Australian plant, common from Victoria to Queensland, instead?

On Apr 25, 2009, GardenQuilts from Easton, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

This plant is great for summer hanging baskets/winter houseplants in northern regions. It is a bright purple outside, but fades to green and purple inside. It is very easy to increase by cuttings. I bring it inside with my other temperate plants in cool weather. It looks nice companion planted with taller plants.

On Apr 4, 2009, flchick13 from Sarasota, FL wrote:

We have just planted Purple Queens across our front yard as a ground covering. The yard does not get much sun and is in partial to full shade all day. We placed them about 2 feet apart per the instructions from the staff at the nursery where we bought them. Does anyone know about how long it will take for the plants to spread out into the surrounding empty space if they are all about 2 feet apart now?

On Feb 16, 2009, HollyErin from Memphis, TN wrote:

This plant is the best trading plant ever. My neighbor has a large plot of purple heart growing in her yard. that plot has provided 4 other houses all the purple heart we can stand.

I have it planted all around a large river birch tree in the front yard, along with some small azelas. It grows fast, blooms constantly and gives the baby wrens and starlings a place to "hide" in my yard.

I am hoping that it will come back with a vengence this year, and every year from now on. I adore this plant - the perfect amount of purple in the middle of a green yard!

On Aug 27, 2008, Sandcruiser from Playa Tamarindo,
Costa Rica wrote:

grows well in pots or in the ground. Tolerates full Costa Rica sun and does ok in shadier areas as well (some direct sun). Easy to propagate, great for filling border areas. Good color contrast during the wet season when flowers aren't as common in the garden.

On Apr 16, 2008, cactusman102 from Lawrence, KS wrote:

All three plantsoverwintered a brutal winter in Lawrence, KS (zone 6A) The plants were mulched about 4" and planted along a hot south facing wall.

On Dec 18, 2007, mommie from Weslaco, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant is very beautiful & versatile. I just love it!! I have it growing on the West side of my house & on the North side. I do believe it will grow well anywhere If precautions are taken in cold areas. I grow it in the ground in clay soil & it thrives.It looks especially nice growing in a ring around a large tree. It is lovely in a hanging basket. It grows like a weed,so be diligent. Prune often if you don't want a yard full of it. When you look at those dark purple leaves & the lovely pink blossoms you know how wonderful Mother Nature is.

On Dec 17, 2007, apple20 from Jeffersonville, IN wrote:

I found this plant growing in front of an empty home in Tucson, so I got a piece of it and brought it home. Some 15 or so years later, both the plant and I have moved to Indiana. It stays outdoors until first frost when I bring it in to my grooming shop. It stays in the back room with little water and indirect light until spring. I have given this plant to at least 20 customers and I've even seen it in a few nurseries in the last 2 years. You can't kill this stuff! I love it. I have broken a piece off when moving the pot only to find the broken piece had rooted itself where it lay on the ground. I've not tried planting it in the ground. Afraid our cold winters would kill it. Glad it finally has a name! I never knew what to call it.

On Dec 14, 2007, gray_53 from Mcdonough, GA wrote:

It can be invasive, but no plant can take over any area unless you neglect said plant for at least a month or two. I have seen masses of it that look good, but my neighbor's is rather scraggly. I only have one pot of it, and it survives the winter, though the foliage dies and comes back every year. The occasional flowers are sooooo beautiful!! Anyone can grow this plant in virtually any condition if they water it once a month. I am pretty sure that sun keeps the leaves purple.

On Nov 4, 2007, DeeSpyker from New Market, MD (Zone 6a) wrote:

I love this beautiful plant. It blooms pretty dainty flowers but is so pretty and showy on it's own with purple stems and leaves. My daughter bought a new house and the previous owners had this out back in a pot. I took a clipping to see if I could get it to grow. We thought the potted plants were being sold with the house but much to our dismay, they took them all. So my clipping is the last of the bunch. I'm hoping to create several potted plants with it and give them back to my daughter. I have the clipping rooting in a clear purple vase (how appropriate!) that I had sitting around (please see pics). It started to root almost overnight. We live in Northern Maryland and have no idea how this plant will weather. I'll let you know. Wish me luck!

On Oct 14, 2007, Perenniallady from Otterville, ON (Zone 5b) wrote:

I like this perennial even though it likes to spread.It is quite beautiful when it grows in a clump and along a fence.

On Sep 20, 2007, Kittylover from Carrollton, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Purple Heart, Purple Queen, Wandering Jew 'Purewell Giant' Tradescantia pallida is the upright deep purple purple heart - beautiful mounding plant- will spread from a small plant to a big bush - I tried some of this variety of purple heart- It did not compare - more of a weed -stems laying on top of one another in a tangled mess and the color is more a muted burgundy - no wonder there are so many mixed reviews on purple heart

On Jun 27, 2007, Dedda from Petersburg, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Invasive like a nosy neighbor. Bought house 4 yrs. ago, it was all over the flower bed, took me weeks to pull and dig out. so I thought.. it keeps coming back, like door to door sales people,like horor movie sequels, like grab grass. should be called Purple Pestia

On Jun 10, 2007, rjones8194 from Independence, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant will survive under the worst conditions imaginable. I had one pot of it and tossed it out on the back part of my property (on dry, packed bare ground) last year and the thing is still holding on. We were in the middle of a severe drought at the time. Going to go get rid of it tomorrow. I didn't know it would take over. It's used as a landscaping plant in my area.

On Apr 3, 2007, ga_peach from Jefferson, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I live in Jefferson, GA (pretty far NE near SC) and I love it. I planted it last year thinking it would only be an annual here. I almost killed it 3 times in my attempt to learn to garden. I moved it 3 times. It look the beating and this year is coming back beautifully. I love the "electric purple" color. I haven't found it invasive so far but that may be because I seem to be at the cusp of its survival zones. Also, kind of tropical looking to me.

On Feb 24, 2007, beerhog from Paris, AR (Zone 7a) wrote:

It dies to the ground here but comes back every year. Have not had many problems with it. Several times during the season, I just rip it out and it comes roaring back. Can not beat it for the purple color.

On Jan 28, 2007, ansonfan from Polkton, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

I have this plant growing at an east facing wall and it does well here and keeps its purple color with just the morning sun dies back in winter but comes back in spring. I cut several branches off before the freeze gets it and bring it inside. I put them in a large vase and they bloom all the way through the holidays. The blooms are beautiful up close.

On Jan 1, 2007, 1cros3nails4gvn from Bluffton, SC (Zone 9a) wrote:

adds intersesting color in the winter here, at least most of the winter. sometimes it dies back, but it hasnt this year

On Dec 28, 2006, brimcgin from Stockton, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Overall a great plant. Easy to grow but as others have said can be invasive. Leave them in containers. I was told it is also called Moses in a cradle.

On Nov 29, 2006, bloomheaven from Southern,
United States wrote:

I agree with the other comments of this plant being highly invasive. My grandmother put it in all of her flower beds and it has just grown like wildfire. I think she found it easy to root so she put it everywhere, I have yet to get it all out. It breaks easily at the joints when pulling it making it almost impossible to get to the bottom of it.

On Sep 10, 2006, tengum from De Pere, WI wrote:

I bought a pre-planted hanging basket from our local nursery and the purple heart was the center plant. The rest of the plants died, but I pulled the basket in th house for the winter and though "what the heck" I'll see if it'll grow in the house over the winter, and it did!! Now, it's growing like crazy, long, long vines, and I want to cut it and put it in some additional pots. So, now I just need to figure out where exactly to cut it and what to do next (put it in water to root, put it directly in another pot, etc) so I can move it over to new pots. I know everyone is claiming that it's so 'easy', but I do NOT have a green thumb, so I'm a little scared. Hopefully I'll be able to find some tips (with pictures) on how to do it.

On Jul 24, 2006, edreaadams from Lucerne Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Would have given it a positive experience, but since moving to the desert, with very very cold winters, I've had to keep this beautiful plant in a pot and bring inside every year. I would like to eventually try a mass planting outdoors underneath my eucalyptus tree.

Very easy to grow, and if a piece breaks off, just stick it in the ground and it will continue growing. In the extreme heat under the sun, the purple leaves will grow thicker and shorter, and have sort of a purple shimmer on them. Just beautiful!

On Jun 28, 2006, lizbob33908 from Fort Myers, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

This plant is awesome if you want something to just take hold and grow, cover, fill an area, etc. Not good if you try xeriscaping with it. I have new buds popping up on the other side of my house and in the grass. How it got there? Don't know. It's difficult to keep up with, especially in the rainy season. Make sure you pick up every little piece of clipping and throw in a container because I think that's how it started in the grass!

On Jun 26, 2006, WillowWasp from Jones Creek, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I use this plant as a filler in the garden and inside. It will do well inside and out and I have used it in centerpeices for the table. It is an all around beauty and is sooo useful.

On May 27, 2006, DonnaA2Z from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is a very hardy plant. Will grow and grow and grow. However, it will easily take over areas and grow out of hand. Getting rid of it in an area can be difficult as you have to clean out all of the roots. and there are a lot.

I grew it as ground cover, but it quickly grew to be 24" high easy. Needs little if any care at all.

Consider growing it in containers unless you want areas dedicated to this plant.

On May 18, 2006, NiGHTS from Los Gatos, CA wrote:

This is by far one of my favorite plants. The purple color is amazing. I have found that if you take clippings and leave them in water for a few weeks, the leaves sometimes actually turn from purple to green! Once planted, the new leaves will gradually get back to purple over time. It's impressive to have one with leaves of both colors simultaneously.

Purple Heart is ideal for containers, or as a houseplant. Propegation by clippings is extremely easy. From my original plant, I now have countless more, and that's only from the shoots that I accidentally break off. If I wanted to take clippings, I could populate the entire neighborhood with this beauty.

Really, my only complaint with this plant is that the stems are fragile and break quite easily so don'. read more t expect to be able to train it up a trellis or even a stake.

On Apr 24, 2006, appaloosa from Elgin, TX wrote:

For those that are having trouble getting rid of this stuff because it's taking over, my only suggestion is to get out the tiller (and I mean the big one)!

On Apr 22, 2006, FlipTX from Pasadena, TX wrote:

I can't imagine a more carefree plant. About fifteen years ago, a friend found a broken piece outside a restaurant, took it home, planted it, and it took off. A few years later, she gave me a piece and I stuck it into a shady spot outside my front door, along with Elephant's Ears and some big rocks to border it all. In twelve years, I've perhaps fertilized this spot six times and watered it bimonthly during the warmer months. Some years it dies back quite a bit but always comes back in Spring.

On Apr 21, 2006, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have to agree w/ dgarza.
Mine popped back up yesterday here in Cincinnati.
This is the second year running w/ no extra care or mulching.
The Zone rating is too high to my mind.

On Apr 21, 2006, elorasmom from Princeton, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I absolutely LOVE this plant!! You can rustle it by breaking off a small piece of an actively growing plant and just sticking it in the ground. How easy is that. No hormone, root starter, etc.

Looks so pretty under a palm tree!!

Yes, it does die down to the ground in our cold weather (zone 8a) but it comes back in the spring. It is a little slow coming up so be patient!!

On Apr 14, 2006, dgarza from Cincinnati, OH wrote:

This keeps coming back in zone 6a, usually late May or June.

On Mar 22, 2006, nessiegirl from novi, MI (Zone 6a) wrote:

In zone 6a I have this as a house plant in a hanging basket. I love it. It roots easily. Although it has indeed gotten very leggy (i probably need to repot).
But even so it still throws flowers every year all summer long.
After reading this I am going to try planting some outside and see what happens. (with the global warming and such it will prob do fine. sigh.)

On Mar 1, 2006, tajataja from Hull,Ga, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I have this plant under my trees, and it grows like a weed!
Thought I lost them with the last frost of the season, all the leaves were black! But its back, just can't kill them.
I love the colors and the little flowers..And of course soooo easy to grow.

On Feb 24, 2006, greenthumbelina from Casselberry, FL wrote:

I absolutely LOVE this plant. This grows wonderfully around the mature trees in my front yard, creating beautiful color when all else had failed. Easy to grow and nicely fills in bare spots with it's bright purple color. Since it also grows well in water, I like to cut pieces and place in vases indoors. A+

On Dec 11, 2005, CastIronPlant22 from Lompoc, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I love this plant. It is planted outside, in full sun, and in the winter it gets about 28 degrees and this hasn't froze. In the summer its always like a little bush and never seems to trail out. It gets BIG leaves after about a year planted in the ground and the color just draws your eye. I love this plant!

On Nov 24, 2005, CaptainMidnight from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

When all else would fail in the poor soil and full shade under my oak, this plant took root and still produced those lovely little flowers. It is prolific, but I wouldn't consider it invasive. Relatively easy to control, hard to kill. In fact it seems to thrive on neglect. Provides good contrast with the aloe nearby. I liked the point someone made about it being a good "kid's starter plant". I haven't tried that, but it makes perfect sense.

On Oct 29, 2005, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

Some purple hearts are much more purple than others. And i believe they are the same plant.The best glow purple. bait for slugs/snails since this plant is a slug/snail delicacy.

On Aug 11, 2005, Rhinoky from Louisville, KY wrote:

I have had this wonderful plant growing outside for the last two years in Louisville KY. 70% of it dies back to the ground but its has come back in the spring. Only winter protection is covering the plants with a clear plastic drop cloth elevated above the plants.

On Jun 4, 2005, cissyb from Woodbine, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I've found this plant extremely easy to grow. I didn't know it could be rooted in water but will give it a try. I have it planted around an above ground pond in semi shade and it's growing in leaps and bounds, flowering like crazy and keeping that beautiful dark purple color. It dies back during the winter here in SE Georgia but continues to come back year after year.

On Jun 3, 2005, nathalyn from Knoxville, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

I planted this last summer thinking that it would be an annual in my zone. It was grown in full sun, with no mulching during the winter months. However, it has returned and is very robust.

On May 6, 2005, Cesca_B from Henderson, KY wrote:

I'm not sure why, as my area is Very Zone 6, however, I had these guys (called perennial when I picked them up) come back this year. They were covered in mulch, certainly, but if they're only hardy to zone 8, I have super Purple Hearts.

On Apr 29, 2005, bayouposte from Bossier City, LA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Last year I saw a huge mound of this planted with 'Margarita' sweet potato vine, and the combination was stunning. I've since planted with Creeping Jenny and hope it will give a similar appearance. Will also combine with the sweet potato vine this year. the chartreuse and purple makes such a fun statement.

On Dec 2, 2004, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) wrote:

I think it serves a purpose as "filler" for difficult places or for those interested in low maintenance plants. I would describe it as invasive, thank goodness I have it in pots. Constantly pulling the excess growth, I finally learned to put them in pots and pass them on at plant swaps. Curious how there's ALWAYS somebody wanting this stuff.

On Aug 1, 2004, deborahgrand from Baton Rouge, LA wrote:

Excellent grower in Louisiana. It survives EVERYTHING and spreads well

On Jul 23, 2004, searels from Chatsworth, GA wrote:

I love this plant, first seen around someones mailbox, and had to have some myself. Now that I have it, I wasn't sure what to do to take cuttings and replant in other areas. Now that I have joined this site, I find that it's very simple! Thanks so much for the tips and this great site! I now know what I can plant on a very steep hillside in which I have tried several plants, which died almost as soon as I put them in the ground. I have notice that the ones I've seen in this area, during winter, most cover it with pine needle mulch. This should keep the roots from freezing I guess.

On Jul 5, 2004, chula from Portland, OR wrote:

In the north of Mexico this plant is called "pollo morado" or "purple chicken". This wonderful herb is very adept at curing the cankersores caused by the various herpes viruses. A tea made from its leaves can be used to gargle, and the placement of lightly boiled leaves directly on a cankersore is also very effective. Several applications are required throughout the day but the results are very swift (2 days).

On Jun 12, 2004, thymeagain from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

I traveled with this from CA to OK as a houseplant. I have planted it outside as a border and it is doing quite well so far. Was interested to find out that it will come back from the root next spring if I do not take cuttings inside this fall. By the way, I have known this plant by the name "Moses in the Basket". This name is probably due to the small pink blooms in the notch of the leaves.

On May 25, 2004, Kelli from L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This is a pretty trouble-free plant. I can see how it could be invasive but mine are in a location where they won't get far. It can also be grown as a hanging basket plant but should be trimmed back once or twice a year when they get leggy.

On May 23, 2004, jessburt from Victoria, TX wrote:

I have inherited this plant when I bought our house and I can't plant anything in my flower beds because it has taken over. I am trying to eradicate it from my flower bed, but have had no luck. Please let me know how to successfully remove it.

On May 9, 2004, tillandsia from Merritt Island, FL wrote:

I grew up with this hardy plant on the coast of Central Florida. It is a wonderful ground cover that will tolerate salt in the air and poor soil. If left to itself it will follow the contour of the area in which it is growing and looks great in drifts and mounds. It is an excellent contrasting plant for shrubs with purple, pink or burgundy flowers and lends itself well to planters, also. Control is the operative word here as with any ground cover but one must also remember, "right plant for the right place." So plan well when using it.

On Apr 14, 2004, Maudie from Harvest, AL wrote:

I like these plants because they are so easily grown and carefree.
They come back every year and the vivid color purple is a lovely
contrast to variegated plants.
They are useful as a groundcover
to provide color to an area in contrast to green or variegated plants as well. I do not consider these plants invasive--
just useful and pretty.

On Apr 13, 2004, Lanan from Hawkinsville, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

LOVE IT! I have rooted many cuttings by just sticking them in the ground. This plant grows fast in areas I can get nothing else to grow in. Looks lovely in a hanging basket also! Will grow anywhere!

On Oct 11, 2003, aking1a from Baton Rouge, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

As with all good groundcovers, this plant spreads quickly. It adds a great deal of color under, and at the base of large trees, where little else will grow. It also does very well on steep slopes in rather unfertile soil. In 8b, it does die off somewhat in winter but bounces back quickly in spring. Invasive? Yes - but that's what you want groundcovers to do. I have it in deep shade, part shade and sun. It does well in all of them.

On Oct 10, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

For 18 years I have found it impossible to dig this plant up from amongst my other plants. I have not been able to kill it with pesticides. My dogs' urine - which seems to kill everthing else - just sets it back for awhile.

Its roots grow deep. When attempting to dig it up, the stems break so easily that there are tiny pieces left in the ground which sprout and grow right back. It is a beautiful plant if it is growing where it can not take over other plantings. My mistake was planting it in the ground.

On Sep 7, 2003, outdoorlover from Enid, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

I first grew it in Austin, Texas (zone 8) and then I moved to northern Oklahoma (zone 6)and transplanted it up here unfortunately, I transplanted it in too many locations in our yard. It dies back after the first freeze and then begins coming up around May. It is very invasive and I would not plant it near any other plants, and only if not much else will grow there. It will grow in west sun or full shade. It does not need extra water and it can even root iself from discarded prunings. The folage on my purple hearts is green instead of maroon, and very beautiful, as well as are the flowers. I have also tried to get rid of it in some areas of our yard. We have tried Roundup, a poison ivy killer, and digging it up, but nothing has worked yet. I wonder if putting black plastic over i. read more t would work. That might be my next angle of attack. Unfortunately, it has grown up around other plants I want to keep, and there is a race to see which plant wins out.

On Aug 17, 2003, xyris from Sebring, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Mostly a comment on my statement that it has been hardy for me the last two winters outdoors in Bremerton, Washington . at 48 degrees north! It dies back to the ground there in winter, but sends up new shoots when it finally warms up in spring. If we were to get a colder winter than the last two, the roots may freeze and the plant would likely die. I overwinter it both in pots under my deck and in the ground, with the pots doing a bit better.

Oh, it is very successful, but easy to control, in my other garden, in Sebring, Florida.

On Jun 6, 2003, GBlankenship from Florence, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

When looking for the "out-of-the-ordinary" ground cover, this plant seemed a likely candidate. Our garden soil has been well tilled, rich in organic matter, and watered regularly. Purple Queen, as shown in my photo, emerges in early spring from dormant root stock, to immediately begin flowering in late spring. Propagation involves rhizome "runners" branching out from the established rootings. Creating successful generations from cuttings and seeding is unknown by this gardner, but propagation from rhizome extensions appears to work quite well.

If well-watered, it can stand a bit more sun, but its hardiness for drought must include more shade than sun.

On May 28, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This is VERY invasive. I have nightmares keeping this plant on its own pot, but itґs hard to hold it. Good for coverages, but takes the space from surrounding plants

On May 28, 2003, jlirola from Columbia, SC wrote:

I am successfully growing it in a damp, shady garden with hostas and elephant ears. I love the purple contrast to the chartruse hostas. I am taking some cuttings to keep plenty of it around and add it to my hanging baskets. I have also put this in a very dry, clay based garden that is also mostly shade in front of my office (just a few blocks away) and it is doing very well!

On Apr 20, 2003, Stonebec from Fort Worth, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

This is a great plant. Works well in water, in the ground or in hanging baskets. Good space filler. Little pink flowers on stem ends are pretty with the contrast to dark purple. My son had some accidentally broken off a hanging basket and it rooted in the ground underneath the basket! Good to start kids off with because it is pretty, so easy, already growing, and almost impossible to kill. Not winter hardy but comes back shortly after last frost. Drought tolerant and looks striking against light colored bushes or foliage. It can get leggy if not allowed to sprawl.

I love this plant. Cuttings put in a vase of water look lovely almost up until the time they root. Nothing could be easier to grow. During winter, I do multiple cuttings and put them in anything that will hold water. They produce long, gentle roots. When spring comes, simply dig them in.
They produce long 'stems' that are a rich purple color. The flowers are almost incidental.

Best done in masses, i.e., not a single, specimen plant.
I put rooted cuttings under a tree, where they were the delight of the neighborhood. Also in a large outdoor pot, where they ran out of room and started growing up the trunk of the potted tree.

I've never seen bugs or any kind of viral problem at all. Best decribed as a trailing, spreading, ground cover, they will. read more out-distance vinca minor or ivy any day, in terms of growth. Give them room to spread. Space about 5-6" apart.

On Aug 31, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Easy to grow - started with cuttings which easily rooted in water (they did take a while, but they didn't rot despite the amount of time) and once potted up, they did great, even when neglected and not watered. Makes a nice groundcover under trees where the soil is pretty dry.

On Aug 31, 2002, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a close relative to Purple Heart, the more familiar Setcreasea. This one doesn't get anywhere near as purple as Purple Heart.

In my zone 8b garden, this will freeze to the ground, but come back from the roots the next year. It's in a rather sheltered spot.

I love the way it fills in bare spots quickly and roots so easily!

This plant is also known as Wandering Jew. It lasts forever too, in the right conditions. Over 30 years ago, my grandfather planted one in the yard that I eventually grew up with. It's still there.

On Aug 25, 2001, BotanyBob from Thousand Oaks, CA wrote:

In Southern California this plant does not overwinter so well in the cooler areas and does not bloom in the winters. If experiencing temps below freezing, most of the plant will 'melt', but usually recovers in the spring. Hard frosts will usually kill it.

It is incredibly easy to grow from a cutting, requiring little more than cutting off a piece and shoving it in the ground. Well draining soil is helpful. It is a very drought tolerant plant.

Watering Tradescantia Purpurea

It is best to water your Tradescantia Purpurea plants thoroughly. You can apply the ‘soak and dry’ technique and rewater the plant when you notice that the top 1 inch (2.5cm) of soil is dry.

Like most plants, Tradescantia Purpurea needs to be watered more frequently in summer, and less in winter with the growth process is paused.

Wilted and limp stems that have an unusual and unhealthy aspect can be a sign of root rot. Brown leaf tips, on the other hand, indicate that the plant isn’t getting enough humidity.

Watch the video: Watch Me Propagate: 18 Easy Houseplants You Can Grow for Free!

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