How Do You Take Care of a Tradescantia Bubblegum Plant?

The Tradescantia Bubblegum plant, scientifically known as Tradescantia zebrina, is a popular houseplant that is widely recognized for its striking foliage. This plant is also known as Inchplant or Wandering Jew and is native to Mexico and Central America. The most distinctive feature of the Tradescantia Bubblegum plant is its beautiful leaves that come in various shades of pink, purple, and white.

The leaves have a glossy texture, and they grow on long, thin stems that can trail up to 3 feet long. The Tradescantia Bubblegum plant is a low-maintenance plant that can thrive for years in any home with proper care. It prefers bright indirect light and requires moderate watering. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it’s essential to let the soil dry out between watering. With the right care, this plant can add a pop of color and vibrancy to any room. Here is a complete guide on how to grow happy, healthy Tradescantia Bubblegum plants.

Light Requirements

The Tradescantia Bubblegum thrives in bright, indirect light. Place it near an east or west-facing window where it will get 4-6 hours of sunlight daily. Direct southern light may scorch the leaves. Supplement with a grow light if you don’t have an ideal window. Avoid direct sunlight as it will fade the beautiful colors.

Signs your plant needs more light:

  • Leaves pointing upwards
  • Long gaps between leaves
  • Smaller leaves
  • Faded color

Too much light will cause:

  • Sunburnt leaves
  • Crispy brown edges

The perfect amount of light keeps stems compact and leaves vivid. Adjust the plant as needed until you find the sweet spot.

Watering Your Plant

Tradescantia Bubblegum enjoys moist soil but hates being waterlogged—only water when the top few inches of soil feel dry. Use your finger to test the soil moisture before watering.

In the summer, it may need water every 5-7 days. In the cooler winter months, allow the soil to dry out more between waterings. Leaving it too wet will cause root rot.

Signs it needs water:

  • Soil is dry
  • Leaves start to droop
  • Leaves feel soft or limp

Signs of overwatering:

  • Wet, muddy soil
  • Mushy stems
  • Yellow leaves
  • Root rot

When watering, pour room-temperature water until it runs from the drainage holes. Allow excess water to drain thoroughly. Never let it sit in a soggy mix.

In addition to watering when dry, Tradescantia benefits from regular humidity. Mist the leaves every few days or place the pot on a pebble tray.

Ideal Temperature

Ideal Temperature

The Tradescantia Bubblegum thrives in average home temperatures between 60-80°F. Please keep it away from hot and cold drafts. Avoid exposing it to temperatures below 50°F or above 90°F.

Signs it is too cold:

  • Purplish undersides of leaves
  • Slow growth
  • Leaf drop

If temperatures soar above 90°F, watch for:

  • Wilting
  • Crispy, dry leaves
  • Leaf scorch

Temperatures that are too cold or too hot will stress the plant. Keep the Tradescantia Bubblegum in its preferred temperature range for the best growth and brightest color.


The Tradescantia Bubblegum appreciates average household humidity but also tolerates drier indoor air. Ideal humidity is 40-50%.

Low humidity can cause:

  • Dry, crispy leaf tips
  • Curled under leaves

To boost moisture, mist the leaves every few days or use a pebble tray. Avoid misting late in the day, as wet foliage at night can cause disease. A humidifier in the room will also help.


Use a well-draining potting mix for your Tradescantia Bubblegum. A quality all-purpose blend works well.

You can also make your mix with:

  • Two parts potting soil
  • 1 part perlite or coarse sand for drainage
  • 1 part peat moss to retain moisture

Avoid regular garden soil as it stays too wet. Ensure the pot has drainage holes, and use a container with a drainage saucer to prevent soggy soil.


Feed the Tradescantia Bubblegum monthly in spring and summer with a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength. This provides nutrients for growth and flowering. Discontinue fertilizer in fall and winter when growth naturally slows.

If using granulated or slow-release fertilizer, follow label instructions. Avoid over-fertilizing as it can burn the roots.

Signs your plant needs fertilizer:

  • Slow growth
  • Pale leaves
  • Small leaves and sparse foliage


Prune back overgrown Tradescantia stems to keep it bushy. Use clean shears to trim stems just above a node or leaf. You can root-pruned tip cuttings in water to propagate new plants.

Remove any dead or damaged leaves and stems as needed to maintain an attractive appearance. Pruning keeps growth compact and your plant looking its best.


The Tradescantia Bubblegum propagates easily from stem tip cuttings. Just clip off a healthy stem a few inches below a node. Remove the bottom leaves and place the cut end in water. Roots will sprout in a few weeks.

Once rooted, plant the cutting in a potting mix. Keep it moist until established. Pinch off the tip to encourage bushiness. Take cuttings any time to make more Tradescantia plants.

You can also divide an overcrowded plant. Carefully separate it into smaller sections, making sure each has roots. Replant them individually and keep them well watered.

Common Problems

Tradescantia Bubblegum is quite hardy but can develop issues if care is not ideal.

Common problems include:

Leggy growth – Caused by insufficient light. Move to a brighter location or add supplemental lighting.

Leaf drop – Due to overwatering, underwatering, or temperature extremes. Adjust care accordingly.

Root rot – Stems turn mushy, and the plant collapses. Water less frequently and use fast-draining soil. Discard diseased plants.

Pests – Spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids may appear. Treat with horticultural oil or insecticidal soap spray. Quarantine infested plants.

Leaf spots – Fungal or bacterial diseases cause unsightly spots. Improve air circulation and avoid wet foliage. Remove affected leaves promptly.

With proper growing conditions and attentive care, you can avoid most issues and enjoy a gorgeous Tradescantia Bubblegum for years.

Tips for Success

Tips for Bubblegum Plant Success

Follow these tips to keep your Tradescantia Bubblegum looking fabulous:

  • Give it bright, indirect sunlight 4-6 hours daily
  • Water when the top few inches of soil are dry
  • Use room temperature water and never overwater
  • Keep temps between 60-80°F and avoid drafts
  • Boost humidity with misting or a pebble tray
  • Use well-draining potting mix
  • Fertilize monthly in spring and summer
  • Prune overgrown stems to keep them compact
  • Propagate new plants from cuttings
  • Watch for pests and treat them promptly
  • Avoid wet foliage and improve air circulation
  • Remove dead leaves/stems and spent flowers

Final Thoughts

With its colorful foliage, the Tradescantia Bubblegum makes a lively addition to any indoor plant collection. While it requires bright light and moderately moist soil, it is relatively unfussy once you get conditions right for your climate and home. To keep it looking fabulous, provide plenty of indirect sunlight, allow the soil to dry between waterings, fertilize monthly during the growing season, and prune to maintain its shape. Avoid temperature extremes and drafts. With proper care, the Tradescantia Bubblegum will thrive for many years, sharing its stunning pink-and-green leaves to brighten your space.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much light does it need?

Tradescantia Bubblegum thrives in bright, indirect light. 4-6 hours of sunlight daily from an east or west window is ideal. The direct southern sun will scorch the leaves.

What’s the best way to water this plant?

Water thoroughly when the top few inches of soil become dry. Always check the soil before watering and avoid letting it sit in soggy soil. Allow excess water to drain fully from the pot’s holes.

Should I mist my Tradescantia Bubblegum?

Light misting every few days helps increase humidity around the plant. Avoid getting the leaves too wet or misting late in the day when moisture won’t evaporate.

How often does it need to be fertilized?

Feed monthly with a diluted balanced houseplant fertilizer in spring and summer to support growth and blooms. Don’t fertilize in fall and winter when plants are dormant.

What temperature does Tradescantia Bubblegum prefer?

It does best with average household temperatures between 60-80°F. Avoid exposing it to cold/hot drafts or temps above 90°F or below 50°F.

Why are my plant’s leaves turning brown?

Brown, crispy leaves are often caused by too much direct sun, underwatering, overwatering, low humidity, or temperature extremes. Adjust its care accordingly.

Bruce Curtis

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