Misery or Tradescantia : culture care watering and repotting

Genre Tradescantia has about 75 species. These herbaceous plants commonly called miseries belong to the family of Commelinaceae. They are mainly grown as indoor plants because of their low hardiness. Indeed, they do not support frost because their leaf system is waterlogged. Apart from this, it can be said that a Misery or Tradescantia is easy to grow. Let’s see how to care for this beautiful plant, how often it should be watered and when is the best time to repot it.

Grow Tradescantia or Misery

Very decorative with its elegant variegated or striped leaves with purple reverse which, depending on the variety, can be silver-green, or predominantly pink, cream, yellow or bronze, the species Tradescantia zebrina perfect for beginners wanting to learn how to garden. Installed in a suspension exposed to the light, it sports deep colors with the most beautiful effect and falls nicely. It is also called Pendulous zebrina.

Miseries can produce purplish-pink or white flowers at any time of the year. They are small, less showy than the foliage, and each flower has an extremely short lifespan.

This plant likes to be placed in the light. The brighter the room, the more colorful its foliage. However, it must be protected from direct sunlight in the summer, as they can scorch the leaves and cause the stems to soften. On the substrate side, you can opt for a mixture composed of 70% potting soil for good quality indoor plants and 30% sable of river.

Note that some miseries can absolutely grow without soil but only in water, as is the case with Tradescantia zebrina. All you have to do is take several long stems, remove the leaves at the base for about 25 cm and immerse them in a jar filled with water, which must be renewed regularly because you do not cultivate a Misery in stagnant water.

Sustain a Misery (Tradescantia)

If you want to introduce your children to the cultivation of indoor plants, the Tradescantia is ideal because it does not pose any particular problem. Its growth is rapid, around 25 to 35 cm each year. It even sometimes gives the impression of being able to push endlessly. Its stems easily reach 150 to 200 cm in length.


From the beginning of June until the end of September, a supply ofliquid fertilizer for indoor plants turns out to be essential once or twice a month. The product is to be diluted in the irrigation water and of course we respect the dosages indicated on the bottle. Fertilization helps to preserve the beauty of the evergreen ornamental foliage of the Tradescantia, to restore vigor to the plant and to prolong the duration of its flowering for several months.


Misery pruning is essential, preferably at the end of winter or in spring, to encourage it to form new shoots. We do not hesitate to fold back its stems by about 30% of their length, severe pruning being well tolerated by the Tradescantia. Thus, we allow him to grow and therefore to sport a compact port, which is more decorative. Indeed, if you never prune your Tradescantia, the stems lengthen but are few in number, which gives the plant a very sad look.

It is recommended pinch the ends of the stems throughout the year to encourage Misery to branch out. In addition, for the plant to retain its aesthetic qualities, dry leaves must be regularly removed.


The Tradescantia is interesting because it cuts easily in every season. The method is child’s play since all you have to do is cut a few stems to 10 to 15 cm, remove the leaves from 50% of their length before putting them in a vase. A few days are enough to see roots appear. It is then possible to let the cuttings develop in water or to plant them in a pot of potting soil mixed with sand that is kept slightly moist. To obtain a very bushy plant, the ideal is to transplant ten stems into the same pot.

Cuttings are needed after a few years because old miseries tend to lose their appeal.

Pests and diseases

We know of no enemies. The Tradescantia is not the target of insect pests and resists diseases well. To keep a Misère in good health, it is of course essential to take care of the watering, to install it in a very bright room and to protect it from direct sunlight.

Watering a Tradescantia

The frequency of watering a Misery is assessed according to the season and the ambient temperature. From June to September, it is advisable to keep the substrate cool without drowning the roots. Watering every 5 days on average is satisfactory. As is the case with the vast majority of plants, we water less frequently in winter, about once a week. It is advisable to let the soil dry out slightly between two waterings. Be careful not to deprive the Tradescantia of water for too long, especially if you tend to overheat your home!

The important thing is to promote drainage because a soil that is always soggy favors the rotting of the stems. Above all, do not leave water in the saucer. However, drought inevitably leads to browning of the leaves and if it continues, the plant eventually dies. The right solution to overcome the problems caused by a insufficient hygrometry rate consists of mist the foliage of the Tradescantia with fresh water, which can only do this plant the greatest good if it is grown in a very dry environment.

Repot a Misery

Misère can quickly feel cramped in its pot, which is why it is advisable to repot it around every two yearsor even every year, preferably In early spring. Thus, the old soil is replaced by new, very fertile, mixed with sand. The plant can benefit from a slightly larger pot than the previous one and feel more at ease there. It is important to handle with delicacy when repotting, because its stems break easily.

Purple Misery (Tradescantia pallida), Rio Ephemeral (Tradescantia fluminensis), Silver Misery (Trandescanta sillamontana) are among the species to be associated to obtain a splendide composition splendide. But note that owners of cats and / or dogs must be vigilant because some tradescantias are responsible for allergic reactions in these animals due to their toxicity.

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