Tradescantia Bubblegum, also called Tradescantia Lilac, is a fantastic plant to bring some bright color into your home. With differing hues of pink and magenta, you are bound to appreciate the appearance and lovely texture that this plant can provide.
This article includes:
- What a Tradescantia Bubblegum is and what it looks like
- How to care for it including optimal conditions and how to prune
- Common problems and what you can do about them
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
What is Tradescantia Bubblegum?
Tradescantia Bubblegum is a tricolor Tradescantia cultivar and even though it is often referred to as a Tradescantia Nanouk, it is not the same thing. While they look very similar, a Nanouk is a general stockier and a patented hybrid of T. albiflora.
The Bubblegum variety is also known as Lilac and offers contrasting colorations of pink, magenta, or even light purple. They are bright and fluid for a gorgeous ambiance.
The Tradescantia Bubblegum is quite resilient and hardy, which means it can do well inside as long as you can give it the right amount of light and properly prune it when necessary. They can last years without losing their character and shades of color.
Tradescantias are generally known as Wandering Jew plants because they grow rapidly and seemingly in every direction at random (although some people say that cuttings were given to wandering travelers, which is why that name).
The Bubblegum variety of Tradescantia is no exception and can grow in crazy ways that require pruning more often than other houseplants. Still, they are great and not difficult to care for as long as you know what to do.
Check out this cool video to learn about many other varieties and types of Tradescantia plants:
How to Care for Tradescantia Bubblegum
To keep your Tradescantia Bubblegum healthy and thriving with illuminating colors, you have to know the optimal conditions for it to grow. Things like proper water and sunlight are of course important, but you also need to consider pruning, fertilizing, and humidity.
Let’s check out these factors so that you can keep your plant healthy.
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All Tradescantias are quite resilient and can withstand a wide range of watering and moisture fluctuations, but that doesn’t mean they will be healthy and vibrant unless you give them the proper amount of water.
During warm and hot weather, you will have to water the plant more to keep the soil consistently moist. In the Fall and Winter, it can dry out slightly without any lasting damage. You can even water the plant from the bottom or use a self-watering pot.
The main thing is that you want to avoid flooding the plant at all because it can increase the likelihood of root rot and other moisture-related issues.
Tradescantia Bubblegum needs a lot of indirect sunlight. You always want to avoid any direct sunlight because it can burn the leaves and make them look sickly. It is best to allow it to soak up around 6 hours a day or indirect sunlight. If it doesn’t get enough sunlight, then the colors can fade.
The best location for a Tradescantia Bubblegum plant is near an East or West facing window. This usually offers enough indirect sunlight, but the direct sun is not too harsh because it is during the morning or evening.
Temperature and Humidity
Your Tradescantia Bubblegum houseplant will do best in moderate temperatures, but as a great indoor plant, you can grow it in most climates.
The fastest growth will occur when the temperatures are neither cold nor hot, somewhere between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 24 degrees Celsius) during the day with the cooler edge of that range at night.
You never want to keep the plant outside during cold temperatures or frost because it will damage or kill the leaves and plant.
Tradescantia Bubblegum also likes humidity and will turn brown and crispy if there is not enough moisture in the air. You can spray the leaves or utilize a humidifier to keep the moisture level up in the area around the plant. This is especially useful in winter when the heater dries out a home.
Tradescantia Bubblegum does not need heavy fertilization, but a good feeding schedule can keep it thriving and vibrant.
You can boost growth and enhance fullness by feeding every two months from Spring through Fall (typically April to October). Use 20-5-10 liquid fertilizers and follow the directions.
During warmer weather, Tradescantia Bubblegum can grow as much as an inch per week and the stems can grow extremely long. In fact, stems can grow as much as 6 feet long.
This can create a desirable appearance, but if you want to control the growth then you can pinch the stems to keep them short.
Either way, you will have to prune the plant regularly. Pruning is critical for the plant and can extend the life span and keep it full without too many wandering components. Pruning should focus primarily on the removal of dead leaves and branches.
You can then use these cuttings to propagate new Tradescantia Bubblegum plants. You can find pruning directions below.
How to Prune Tradescantia Bubblegum
Pruning is important because it keeps the Tradescantia Bubblegum plant from growing too leggy. After removing a vine, two will grow in its place and the new dividend growth makes it look more full without going too far in any, or every, direction.
Pruning can keep Tradescantia Bubblegum alive longer, which is important because these types of plants have a shorter life expectancy than other houseplants.
When Tradescantia Bubblegum loses a vine to pruning, it will strive to replace it. Because you want it to fulfill this duty, it is best to prune the plant during the growing season. Also, avoid pruning if you have done so too recently because it can contribute to shock and dormancy.
However, you should remove any yellowing or dying stems and leaves immediately regardless of your pruning schedule.
To prune Tradescantia Bubblegum you have to pinch off the stems directly after a node. To do this, you should avoid using your bare hands because the sap can be an irritant, but you can use your fingers in a gloves hand to pinch them together.
You can also use scissors to cut and pinch the stems. If you use scissors, you will need to cut at a 45-degree angle. This prevents too much secretion of liquid, which can attract pests and make the plant more susceptible to disease.
It is crucial that you leave the node on the limb and cut after it because two stems will grow from it and create a fuller, more luscious Tradescantia Bubblegum plant.
Common Problems with Tradescantia Bubblegum and What to Do
There are some common issues that you may encounter when growing your Tradescantia Bubblegum plant and you will need to know what to do about them when they do arise. Let’s look at some of the most critical issues and the most likely causes that you can address.
Tradescantia Bubblegum plants can grow quite leggy and spread out wide and far instead of remaining compact and full. The vines grow long and the leaves grow more sparsely.
Pruning is a great way to address this issue before it ever arises, but proper lighting is also important. The right type of bright, indirect light will influence pattern, growth, and coloration.
Yellow Leaves and Stems
When leaves turn yellow, then the most likely cause is improper watering. Stems can also turn yellow with improper watering, but can also become yellowed by poor pruning routines.
Tradescantia Bubblegum plants will keep water within the stem systems, which is great for preventing them from getting too dry, even during drought.
Because of this, it is more likely that you are overwatering the plant, not under-watering. Only water the plant when the first inch of soil is completely dry.
Stems Falling Off
Tradescantias of all varieties are vulnerable to stem rot, which can cause the stem to soften around the base of the plant. If branches and stems start falling off, then you may have watered the plant too much and caused rot in the root system.
You always need to prevent watering any parts of the plant and ensure that all the water the plant gets soaks up through the soil. You can also use bottom watering methods to reduce the impact of flooded plant systems.
Too much misting can also contribute to stem-rot and falling stems and leaves.
If the leaves of your Tradescantia Bubblegum are becoming faded and full, then this is almost certainly a lighting issue. This can occur with both too much and too little light.
Make sure that you avoid any direct light, but that the plant gets a lot of indirect light throughout each day. It needs about 5 to 6 hours of indirect light each day to stay healthy, especially during the growing seasons.
Final Thoughts on Tradescantia Bubblegum
Tradescantia Bubblegum houseplants are gorgeous plants that can add a lot to a room. They are not very hard to care for either, but they do require humidity and indirect sunlight as well as water, just like any other plant. Good luck with your vibrant, thriving Tradescantia Bubblegum!