Why is my wandering jew plant leggy?

Why is my wandering jew plant leggy? This can be caused by a variety of factors, including too little light, too much water, or improper fertilizer. They can also occur if the plant is grown in too small of a pot. Knowing the causes of this problem is the first step in preventing it.

Your Wandering Jew plant may be leggy due to insufficient light. The plant stretches out in search of light, causing it to become tall and spindly. Consider moving the plant to a brighter location or supplementing with artificial light. Regular pruning can also help promote a fuller, bushier plant.

In this article, we will discuss all causes of leggy wandering jew plants:

Why is my wandering jew plant leggy?

Insufficient Light

Poor Wandering Jew plant care can cause a variety of issues, including a leggy wanderingjew plant. When it is not given enough sunlight, the stems become stretched and weak as the plant tries to reach for more light. The leaves can also be sparse and pale from lack of proper lighting.

To prevent this from occurring, it is best to provide Wandering Jew plants with at least four hours of direct morning sunlight and some occasional indirect light during the day. If grown indoors, a south-facing window will usually provide adequate amounts of light and warmth for the plant. Placing supplemental lights above the plant can also help encourage better growth and fullness of foliage.


One of the most common causes of leggy growth in wandering jew plant (Tradescantia zebrina) is overwatering. This is especially true when a plant has been grown indoors in a pot. While this vibrant houseplant is well-adapted to moist conditions, it’s important to make sure the soil isn’t consistently wet, as this encourages weak, shallow root systems and creates additional stress on the plant.

If you believe over watering may be causing your wandering jew plant to become leggy, try applying these steps:

  • Check your potting mix for drainage. If possible, switch to one that contains perlite or sand for improved air circulation around the roots.
  • Soak your potting mix once and allow it to dry completely between waterings.
  • Weaken fertilizer solutions – if you have been using a liquid fertilizer, dilute its strength until plants are more responive.
  • If possible, repot your wandering jew children into terracotta pots or cork baskets as both materials encourage better drainage than plastic containers do.
  • If watering on a regular basis doesn’t resolve the problem consider checking other environmental issues such as temperature or light exposure that could be causing additional stress on the plant.

Too Much Fertilizer

Using too much fertilizer or using a fertilizer with too high of a nitrogen content can cause leggy wandering jew plants. To avoid this, follow the fertilizer’s recommended application rate and use a balanced fertilizer, such as one with an equal proportion of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Light is also essential for vigorous growth of wandering jew plants. This is because lack of adequate bright light will make the plant reach out towards its limited light source, causing it to become leggy. As a result, place your wandering jew plant in an area with plenty of sunlight or near a fluorescent light to ensure it gets enough for growth.

How to Fix Leggy Wandering Jew Plants

Leggy wandering jew plants can be unsightly and unappealing to look at. The good news is that they can be easily fixed with simple steps. Knowing the reasons behind why your wandering jew plant is leggy is the first step to fixing the problem. This section will go over the most common causes of leggy wandering jew plants, and how to fix them.

Increase Light Exposure

Leggy wandering Jew plants can be caused by a number of factors, including lack of light exposure. These trailing plants are characterized by weak, spindly stems and foliage that is less dense than normal. To address this issue, you’ll need to make sure your wandering Jew plant is getting enough light.

The amount of light your plant needs will depend on where it has been placed. If it’s in an area with low-level lighting, consider moving the plant or adding extra lighting to provide brighter conditions. Plants placed outdoors will require more direct sunlight compared to indoor plants which benefit from reflected light and shaded areas.

When adjusting the light exposure for your leggy wandering Jew plant remember that too much bright light may cause the leaves to become pale or yellowed, so monitor your plant for any signs of stress or over-exposure. Try to maintain consistent levels of indirect sunlight with full sun for a few hours for best results.

Adjust Watering Schedule

Leggy Wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina) plants tend to become sparse and spindly with long stems if they do not receive an adequate amount of moisture. To help restore your plant’s lush appearance, water it more frequently. Be sure not to over-water: soak the soil until the water is slowly draining from the bottom of the pot, then let it dry out completely before re-watering. Additionally, misting as often as possible encourages new growth and helps prevent an overly leggy plant.

For additional care tips, consider providing bright indirect light and maintaining temperatures between 65 – 85°F (18 – 29°C). Additionally, you can supplement growth by using an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer that includes macronutrients like nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K). The two numbers on a fertilizer package (10-10-10 or 20-20-20) represent their respective N-P-K content. Try fertilizing your wandering jew every other month in the spring and summer for best results.

Reduce Fertilizer Amounts

Wandering Jew plants, which are also known as Tradescantia spathacea or Rhoeo spathacea, are incredibly resilient plants that can survive a wide range of conditions—including the often-fatal issue of having leggy growth. Being leggy is a sign that your Wandering Jew plant needs help, and reducing the amount of fertilizer you give it can actually make a big difference in its appearance.

If your plant appears to have elongated stems and internodes, or too much space between leaves, it’s likely due to over-fertilizing, since this can cause severe stretching. In general, reduce or eliminate fertilizer during the wintertime and then feed the Wandering Jew with liquid fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength every 2-4 weeks during the summer or growing season. This will give your plant all the nutrients it needs without causing legginess.

Additionally, ensure your Wandering Jew gets plenty of bright indirect light for at least 6 hours daily and keep its soil slightly moist but not soggy by watering when just one inch below the surface has dried out; this will help encourage more compact growth. If needed prune branches to knock back legginess and promote new growth from below.

How to Prevent Leggy Wandering Jew Plants

The wandering jew plant is known for its vibrant foliage and easy-to-grow nature. However, it can become leggy if it’s not given the right care. Leggy wandering jew plants have long stems and lack in foliage. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent legginess, such as providing the right amount of light, regular pruning, and proper water and fertilizer.

Let’s look at all the steps involved in preventing leggy wandering jew plants:

Provide Appropriate Light Levels

Wandering Jew plants need access to medium to high levels of indirect light in order to thrive. Areas of your home with south or east facing windowsills may be ideal, but direct sunlight should be avoided. Too much light can lead to over-expansion, however, not enough light can cause legginess. If the lower leaves of your plant are excessively long, it is a sign that the plant is searching for light or could be growing too quickly as a result of inadequate pruning and maintenance.

The best way to ensure that you provide the right level of lighting is by utilizing a combination of natural sunlight and artificial lighting when necessary. For natural sunlight, position your trailing varieties in a spot that receives filtered or dappled shade. If possible, keep them away from a window where direct sun could damage their delicate foliage and potentially lead to brown patches or leaf burn. For artificial light sources (such as grow lamps), use these on cloudy days or in the early evening when natural sunlight is minimal but still needed in order for growth maintenance and health production.

Water Regularly and Sparingly

Water should be an essential part of a Wandering Jew plant’s care regimen. Keep the soil moist, but not overwatered. These succulents are prone to root rot if soil is too wet or too dry, so utilize a regular watering schedule and make sure to check the moisture levels in the soil before each watering.

Additionally, be sure that your plant has plenty of air circulation and appropriate exposure to light – ideally in indirect sunlight for up to 4 hours per day. If your plant experiences too much exposure to sunlight it will become leggy due to a lack of support from new shoots and stems growing taller in search for more shade.

When your Wandering Jew blooms (which is rare), sensitive white flowers may appear near its apex during spring or early summer months.

Use Fertilizer Sparingly

An important factor in preventing a leggy Wandering Jew plant is using fertilizer sparingly. Whilst it is important to feed your Wandering Jew, it is necessary to do this carefully. Over nourished plants can become spindly, with long, weak stems that are unable to support the abundant foliage they have produced.

When feeding your Wandering Jew, wait until the soil has dried out and then apply no more than half of the recommended amount of fertilizer. If you want to err on the side of caution you can opt for an organic liquid fertiliser or a slow release fertiliser which will provide a more consistent and even nutrition around each of your plant’s roots over time.

You should also ensure that you monitor the light levels of your environment as this can also have an impact on your Wandering Jews’ growth rate. Where possible, position your Wandering Jew near or directly in front of a source of natural light which will help it stay healthy and avoid becoming leggy.


Ultimately, it’s important to remember that leggy growth is normal for a wandering jew plant, and it can be remedied with several simple strategies. Providing adequate light and humidity, as well as regular repotting, can help to keep your wandering jew healthy and low-growing. With the right care, you should be able to keep your wandering jew looking lush and vibrant.

Summary of Causes and Solutions

Leggy wandering jew plants are the result of a few factors, including inadequate sunlight, improper fertilizing and irregular watering. Each factor can be corrected or improved to help your plant regain its condition.

Sunlight is essential for healthy outdoor or indoor wandering jew plants. Outdoors, ensure that the plant receives at least 8 hours of direct light per day when possible and move it indoors if necessary to avoid harsh sunlight during summer months. For indoor plants, place them in a spot where they’ll receive plenty of natural light through a window or use artificial lighting instead.

Inadequate fertilizing can also lead to legginess with wanderingjew plants. Repotting with fresh soil and using the correct fertilizer can restore the health of these plants quickly. If you’re not sure what fertilizer to use for your plant species, contact your local nursery for advice or follow the instructions provided on the fertilizer package.

Finally, pay close attention to watering schedules for your wanderingjew plants – this will help prevent both over-watering and under-watering issues that can lead to ‘legginess’. Water your indoor rosette pothos well once it’s established but never let it sit in water as this can cause root rot. Water outdoor plants as needed – usually 1-2 times each week depending on environmental factors like temperature and sun exposure levels.

By taking action on all three fronts – sunlight, fertilizing correctly and regularly watering better – you should begin to see an improvement in the condition of your wandering jew plant shortly before it becomes happy and full again!

Tips for Keeping Wandering Jew Plants Healthy

As a houseplant, wandering jew plants should thrive in bright indirect light and prefer warm temperatures. They may sprawl as they grow, but by giving them support to climb or by pruning regularly, you can help keep the plant healthy and well-shaped.

Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other diseases that could harm your wandering jew plant. When watering, use tepid water and take care not to get the leaves wet as this may cause leaf spot disease or other diseases that can disfigure your plant’s leaves.

To keep your wandering jew vibrant and healthy looking, give it regular doses of fertilizer every two weeks during its active growing season; either using a liquid fertilizer at 1/4 of their recommended strength or a slow-release granule fertilizer about every 2 months. If you want to encourage more blooms during flowering season, provides your plants with phosphorus-rich fertilizer (a “blooming formula”). Poor flowering is usually due to a deficiency in mineral elements such as potassium while too much nitrogen will produce lush foliage with few flowers.

If you notice any pests whatsoever on your wandering jew—even if it looks like white cottony fuzz—you should treat it immediately with an insecticide labeled safe for houseplants before an infestation occurs. Pests such as aphids & mealybugs can attack wandering jews and make them look unhealthy very quickly if left untreated for any amount of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is my wandering jew plant leggy?

A: The most common reason for leggy wandering jew plants is insufficient light. Make sure it is getting enough bright, indirect light.

Q: Should I prune my leggy wandering jew plant?

A: Yes, pruning can help promote fuller growth and reduce legginess. Cut back the stems to just above a leaf node.

Q: How often should I water my wandering jew plant?

A: Water your wandering jew when the top 1-2 inches of soil feels dry to the touch.

Q: Does my wandering jew need fertilizer?

A: Yes, fertilize your wandering jew once a month during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer.

Q: Can I propagate my wandering jew plant?

A: Yes, wandering jew plants are easy to propagate through stem cuttings. Simply cut a 3-4 inch stem with several leaves, remove the bottom leaves, and place in water until roots form.






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