Tradescantia is considered one of the easiest indoor plants to grow. Their fast growth and sufficient variety allow them to never go out of style. But they are far from tolerant of any conditions. If you violate the basic requirements for lighting or watering, Tradescantia will unpleasantly surprise you with a quick loss of decorativeness. But curvature, exposure of shoots and a stunted appearance in Tradescantia can cause other reasons. In order not to lose the plant, you will have to carefully analyze all aspects of care. And act quickly.
Deformation of indoor tradescantia – problems and solutions. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Maja Dumat
1. Pests of tradescantia
On Tradescantia with its succulent shoots, the appearance of pests, even at the initial stage, usually manifests itself in rather vivid symptoms – discoloration, the appearance of spots, leaf death. And bright deformation of the shoots. The plant loses its decorative effect literally before our eyes.
The most dangerous pests that most affect the appearance of tradescantia are:
- scythe (most often they hide on the shoots between the leaves, manifest themselves in growth arrest, accelerated wilting, deformation of young shoots and leaves);
- aphid (in Tradescantia, it mainly affects young leaves and is accompanied by the appearance of sticky secretions, on which a sooty fungus settles);
If traces of any pests are noticed, it is worth starting to fight them as early as possible. Scabbards, mealybugs can be removed from the leaves and shoots with a cotton pad soaked in soapy water or alcohol, but the plants will still have to be treated with insecticides and their analogues. A simple soap solution on tradescantia is ineffective, and it often causes no less damage to the appearance of plants, leaving stains.
You can try to deal with pests with infusion of garlic, dandelion or feverfew. If these measures are ineffective, it is better to quickly start treatment with insecticides – “Aktellik”, “Karbofos”, “Fufanon”, etc.
2. If no trimming is done
Tradescantia is aging rapidly. Control and trimming will only benefit them. If the plant deforms, stretches, releases too long lashes, becomes bare at the base of the shoots, then it’s time to remember that you can pinch and shorten the shoots whenever you want. Or to rejuvenate the plant: if the Tradescantia is older than 2 years, in early spring it is worth planning a radical pruning to short stumps to renew the crown.
3. Lack of space
Even the most compact types of Tradescantia are growing and rather bulky plants. They need to allocate enough space. And if you put the bushes close to glass or a wall, and even more so – to other plants, their appearance may suffer.
Firstly, leaves and twigs are easily injured and break. And secondly, if Tradescantia has nowhere to grow, it bends, withers, looks neglected. That is why Tradescantia is best grown in hanging containers or pots, placed on stands or furniture, where the shoots can spread out and grow freely.
The deformation of plants from lack of space is also associated with another important factor: in cramped conditions, air cannot circulate freely, and the lighting will become so uneven that individual parts of the bush can begin to develop in different ways.
It is not difficult to avoid problems: when placing Tradescantia, make sure that not a single leaf rests on anything, create a kind of “air cushion” around the bushes, at least with 5-10 centimeters of free space on all sides.
4. Change of location
Moving, changing rooms is rare for Tradescantia without leaving a trace. They do not really like tradescantia and turning relative to the light. Their painful condition may be associated with a sharp shift in relation to the window or frequent rearrangements from place to place. It is better to mark the pot so that you can track the position in relation to the light source and soften the transitions.
Read also our article Legendary Rheo – Coated Tradescantia.
5. A little world
Tradescantia, especially the familiar rheo, is often ranked among the most hardy plants that can grow in any conditions. But it is worth taking a closer look at Tradescantia to understand that they cannot be shade-tolerant.
Tradescantia – plants with a predominantly “colored” or variegated color. And for them, one should always remember the rule of greater light-lovingness than that of green-leaved plants. Variegated tradescantia lose their colors and patterns even in light shading. Therefore, if you really want them to decorate the house, and not remain inconspicuous “lashes” in the background, you should consider them light-loving cultures and not move away from the window, if possible, placing them on the eastern and western windowsills (or nearby). The direct sun leaves burns on the greenery, but the lighting should be as bright as possible.
Most often, tradescantia are deformed, lose their shape, and stretch out in winter. During a period of rest and reduced daylight hours, they need to be moved to the most illuminated places in the house. Or start lighting it up if there is simply nowhere to move the plant.
6. Extreme temperatures
One of the undoubted advantages of all types and varieties of Tradescantia is the ability to grow equally well both in warm living rooms and in cool rooms. They adapt so well to different temperature conditions that the wrong temperatures are almost impossible for them.
The only factor that can lead to severe deformation and damage to the bushes is a drop in temperature significantly below 10 degrees Celsius. In all other cases, even in the heat, severe wilting by temperatures is rarely provoked.
7. Problems with watering
This charming plant loves to keep the soil evenly moist. And watering for any tradescantia should be regular and appropriate to its needs. Complete drying of the substrate affects the leaves; Tradescantia ages faster. And waterlogging and wetting during watering lead to the rapid spread of rot.
To achieve the ideal, it is enough to water the plant when 3-5 cm of soil dries up from above, carefully – so that drops of water do not fall on the leaves. And do not forget to drain the water from the trays no later than 5 minutes later. In winter, watering needs to be adjusted depending on the temperature and the rate of drying of the soil, drying the substrate twice as much.
8. Lack of spraying in the heat
Despite its good adaptability to temperatures, in the heat – in summer and when the heating devices are operating – Tradescantia will not give up frequent spraying. But in any of the seasons, all species prefer a humidity of about 60-70%, which is easier to maintain using a pallet with wet pebbles or sphagnum. Tradescantia signals themselves that it is necessary to start to additionally moisturize the plant and compensate for uncomfortable factors – with the drying tips of the leaves.
9. Tradescantia waste away if they have little air
It is no coincidence that Tradescantia is so fond of using it in urban landscaping. In the open air, they grow several times more active and look brighter. And even indoor beauties for the summer are best moved to the terraces, garden or balcony. Or at least keep it at a constantly ajar window. If the plant lacks fresh air, no need to be surprised at the faded appearance and accelerated aging.
Read also our article Purple Tradescantia, or Setkresia – bright and unpretentious.
10. Incorrect feeding
With an excess of fertilizers, especially nitrogen, tradescantia “grow fat”, grow rapidly, stretch, lose color, and with insufficient feeding, they stretch, turn pale, grow curved, shrink and branch poorly. In feeding these plants it is worth adhering to the “golden mean”. And exactly follow the basic requirements for tradescantia:
Apply top dressing only from March to September, if the plants develop in autumn and winter – reducing them to 1 top dressing every 1,5 months;
Use the standard frequency once every 1 weeks;
Choose a fertilizer with a reduced amount of nitrogen, increased amount of potassium and phosphorus, with a good composition of trace elements.
11. Problems with soil or container
If the elementary requirements of tradescantia for planting and transplanting are met, difficulties are unlikely to arise. These hardy plants wither and deform when:
- with an extreme outgrowth of the size of its pot, when the plant is not transplanted for a long time even after the roots appear in the drainage holes;
- if there are no drainage holes in the pot or you forgot to lay drainage at the bottom;
- when using very poor, heavy, clayey soil (tradescantia will do almost any light universal soil for indoor plants, as long as it is loose enough);
- if the bushes were planted in very large pots with an excess of free soil;
- landing in containers that are too deep (the diameter should exceed the height, and not vice versa);
- if the bushes were deeply buried during transplantation.
Even if the Tradescantia was badly damaged, there were several pathetic thin shoots left from the bushes, you should not despair. After trimming damaged parts, Tradescantia can be easily restored with good care. And they grow surprisingly fast. And with the help of stem cuttings rooted in water or sand, it is easy to grow new bushes to replace old ones.