Tradescantia Nanouk Care: Growing The Nanouk Wandering Jew

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Tradescantia Nanouk® (trad-es-KAN-tee-uh NAN-uhk) is also known as Fantasy Venice and Tradescantia albiflora ‘Nanouk’ (al-BIH-flor-uh). 

This Nanouk Tradescantia plant is a new cultivar developed by cross-pollinating two selected seedlings of Tradescantia albiflora. It is a patented plant with the United States Patent number PP29711.

Tradescantia Nanouk wandering JewPin

“Nanouk” has a few other common names, such as Nanouk tradescantia, Fantasy Venice, Wandering Jew, Spiderwort, and Tradescantia bubblegum.

This trendy plant was developed in the Netherlands in 2012 through a planned breeding program focused on creating a more compact type of Tradescantia with impressive flowers and highly dependable performance.

Although Tradescantia plants originated in Mexico, South America, and Central America, it can truly be said that this plant originated in Sappemeer, The Netherlands.

All Tradescantia plants are herbaceous perennials and are members of the plant family Commelinaceae (ko-mel-ih-NAY-see-eye).

“Summary of Invention” For Tradescantia Nanouk® as filed with the US Patent Office on March 28, 2017

The following traits have been repeatedly observed and are determined to be the unique characteristics of ‘Nanouk.’ These characteristics, in combination, distinguish ‘Nanouk’ as a new and distinct Tradescantia plant:

  • Compact and upright to broadly spreading plant habit.
  • Strong and healthy leaves.
  • Light purple, green, and greyed green-colored leaves.
  • Good interiorscape performance.

Plants of the new Tradescantia and the parent selections differ primarily in leaf color, as plants of the parent selections have white and green-colored leaves.

Plants of the new Tradescantia can be compared to plants of the Tradescantia spathacea ‘Tricolor,’ not patented. In side-by-side comparisons, plants of the new Tradescantia and ‘Tricolor’ differ primarily in leaf shape as plants of new Tradescantia have shorter and more rounded leaves than plants of ‘Tricolor.’

Plants of the new Tradescantia can also be compared to plants of the Tradescantia albiflora ‘Albovittata,’ not patented. 

Nanouk Plant Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Syngonium podophyllum
  • Common Name(s): Nanouk Plant, Arrowhead Plant
  • Synonyms: N/A
  • Family & Origin: Araceae family, native to Mexico, tropical rainforests of Central and South America
  • Growability: Easy to grow
  • Grow Zone: USDA zones 10-12
  • Size: Grows up to 2-3′ feet tall and wide
  • Flowering: Rarely flowers indoors
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Humidity: Prefers high humidity, mist regularly
  • Temperature: Keep in temperatures between 55-75°F
  • Soil: Well-draining soil
  • Water: Water when the top inch of soil is dry, do not overwater
  • Fertilizer: Fertilize once a month during growing season with a balanced fertilizer
  • Pests & Diseases: Susceptible to spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. Can also be affected by root rot if overwatered.
  • Propagation: Propagated through stem cuttings in water or soil
  • Plant Uses: Great for adding greenery to indoor spaces, can also be used in terrariums or as a hanging plant.

In side-by-side comparisons, plants of the new Tradescantia and ‘Albovittata’ differ primarily in leaf color, as plants of ‘Albovittata’ have white and green-colored leaves. [source]

Tradescantia Nanouk Care

Size and Growth

Nanouk Tradescantia has a very compact and upright growth habit and spreads freely. It is considered a fast grower. The plant typically reaches a height and width of just under three-and-a-half inches.

The plants’ stems are thick, and the leaves are smooth on the top and a bit furry on the underside. Green, pink, and white stripes on large, lush leaves with cute little white and yellow flowers that grow from pink buds.  

The variegated leaves of Tradescantia Nanouk are impressively healthy, strong, and rather plump. Leaf coloration is quite lovely in shades of green, light purple, grayish green, pink, and cream.

Flowering and Fragrance

Flowers may be either pink or white and appear continuously throughout the plant’s growing season, which is spring through early autumn. 

When kept indoors, Tradescantia Nanouk may also bloom through the winter months.

Nanouk Plant Care: Light & Temperature

Tradescantia albiflora ‘Nanouk’ does well in bright indirect sunlight or in full sun. Indirect bright light leads to greater flower production. Too little light will cause the foliage to fade.

Some direct sun is beneficial, but make sure not to overdo it since the leaves can get bleached or sunburned from too much direct sunlight.

Vibrant pink and green potted plant on table.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @plantgazing

If you want to increase the humidity, we suggest you mist it often, place it near a humidifier, or use a pebble tray.

The ideal daytime temperature for the Nanouk Tradescantia cultivar is between 55° and 75° degrees Fahrenheit. Outdoors, this Tradescantia is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 10 through 12.

Watering and Feeding

Overwatering is far more problematic than underwatering. Allow the soil to become almost dry, and then water thoroughly.

Generally speaking, Tradescantia Nanouk will do well with weekly watering. Never allow the plant to stand in water.

Tradescantia nanouk requires a moderate amount of water when planted in potting mix with good drainage. Allow the water to drain freely out a drainage hole, and then return the plant to its home! 

Hand holding vibrant striped houseplant leaves.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @gardencenterzonasul

As with most Tradescantia, this cultivar does not really need fertilizer. Over-feeding can lead to brown leaf tips. 

If you do want to fertilize your plant, give it a half-strength solution of a good quality liquid houseplant fertilizer.

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Alternately, give the plant a top dressing of vermicompost first thing in the spring.

Soil and Transplanting

Good drainage is a must. If your soil tends to be a bit heavy, add some perlite or coarse sand to lighten it up.

When potting your Tradescantia Nanouk, it’s important to use a standard well-draining houseplant soil mixed with coarse sand, orchid bark, or perlite. 

Nanouk Tradescantia does well in any high-quality potting soil mix or container mix when kept as a potted plant. 

You can improve the quality of the soil by adding organic matter such as compost, mulch, or peat moss.

Hand holding striped pink plant.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @ourplantylifeinboston

Don’t worry if you have to do a bit of root ripping. Then plant each in separate small pots using well-draining soil. 

You can also check if the roots are poking out of the bottom of the container. This is a sign that you should repot your plant. 

Repotting is crucial for plant health because the old, oxygen-deprived, compacted soil is removed in this process.  

When kept outdoors as a landscape plant, all of these caveats apply. Be sure that your soil is amended properly so that it supplies nourishment, holds the right amount of moisture, and allows excess moisture to drain away.

Grooming and Maintenance

Even though Tradescantia Nanouk is bred to be compact, it still has some of its cousins’ sprawling and wandering habits. Keep the plant pinched back to encourage bushier growth.

Light pruning of dead and damaged foliage is recommended, and though fertilizing is not necessary, if you’d like to give your plants a boost, then it’s best to fertilize them in spring and summer.

Pinching new growth or cutting back your Tradescantia Nanouk will encourage it to grow fuller and bushier.  The leaves will also be a bit smaller, with much more green and less variegation.  

If your plant begins to sprawl and looks a little bit thin at the top, trim off leggy cuttings and poke them into the soil in the center of the pot. They will quickly take root and fill out your plant.

Tradescantia Nanouk Propagation

As with all Tradescantia, propagation is a breeze. Just trim off cuttings and start them in soil or in water.

Taking Stem Cuttings – Propagating Tradescantia

Tradescantia Nanouk Pests or Diseases

Excessive watering is the main problem for all Tradescantia. Too much water can cause root rot and fungal infections. This may lead to trouble with fungus gnats.

Anytime your Tradescantia Nanouk plant seems to be less than healthy and happy, the first thing you should do is check to see if the soil is soggy. If it is, allow the plant to dry out completely before watering again.

Trim away any stems and/or leaves that seem to be damaged or rotten. You may also wish to take healthy cuttings at this time just in case root rot causes the demise of your main plant.

On the flip side, if you allow your Tradescantia Nanouk plant becomes too dry, you may experience trouble with spider mites. 

These can be avoided by maintaining a correct watering schedule and by increasing humidity levels around your plants.

You can do this by misting and/or placing your plants on a pebble tray with a bit of water. Be sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the pot. It is intended to evaporate around the plants and increase humidity.

Spider mite infestation can be addressed by giving your plant a vigorous shower with fresh water. 

Follow up by misting the plant with a 50-50 solution of water and isopropyl alcohol. You may need to repeat the misting several times to kill off all the spider mites and their eggs.

Is Nanouk Considered Toxic or Poisonous to People, Kids, and Pets?

The sap of all Tradescantia can be irritating to the skin and may cause gastric distress if ingested. Wear gloves when handling your plant and/or wash up immediately after you finish trimming.

​Related: Have you ever wondered: Is Wandering Jew Poisonous?

Keep pets away from Tradescantia plants, as the sap can cause stomach upset if ingested and may cause dermatitis if it comes in contact with the animal’s skin.

Is Nanouk Considered Invasive?

Tradescantia of all sorts are considered invasive plants in the state of Florida. This type of plant naturalizes and spreads easily in any tropical environment.

Suggested Tradescantia Nanouk Uses

Tradescantia Nanouk can be used as a groundcover in tropical areas, but it was really developed to be kept as a houseplant. 

It’s pretty colors and hardy leaves make it a good choice as a tabletop or desktop plant.

Another popular variation is the inch plant (T. cerinthoides), earning its name for its tendency to ‘‘inch along’’ as it grows along the ground or trails downward from a hanging planter. 

It can do well in hanging baskets as it creates a fuller and more controlled appearance than other types of Tradescantia.

This pretty, colorful plant also does very well in mixed planters. The Tradescantia Nanouk plant is a perfect addition to any houseplant collection.

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