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Tradescantia Zebrina Propagation: 3 Simple Steps to Succeed

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Tradescantia zebrina propagation is super simple. Also known as Inch Plant, this plant is quick to grow, as well as quick to propagate! All you need are a few cuttings, and you will have a beautiful plant in no time. Keep reading for my illustrated guide showing you exactly how to propagate Tradescantia zebrina in water.


There are 3 simple steps to root this plant in water:

  1. Select & Prepare Your Cuttings Carefully
  2. Place in Water to Root
  3. Plant in Potting Mix

Now let’s get into some details with photos and I will guide you step-by-step:


First, you’ll want to select a few stems to trim so that you can use for propagation. The plant in the photo below had reached the floor, so I simply cut off several stems.

Don’t worry if the stems are long because you can make multiple cuttings from those. Your original plant will grow back, and encourage it to be bushier, so don’t be afraid to make some cuttings!

I didn’t cut the plant all the way back though, but chopped off probably about half the length.

After a good trim, I was left with these cuttings to work with:

Tradescantia zebrina cuttings

If you just decide to snip off shorter cuttings from the ends of each vine, simply keep them about 4-6 inches long or so. I snipped off much longer ones since I wanted more cuttings, so I’m going to go ahead and make multiple cuttings from what I cut off.

Let’s take this single cutting now:

From the cutting above, I’m going to make two separate cuttings out of this one. Watch in the photo below to see how I do this, and I also removed some of the lower leaves because this is the portion that will go into water in the propagation unit.

The roots will grow from the nodes (where the leaf meets the stem) and if you look closely, you can already see where the roots will form.

The node where roots will grow from

You can make your cuttings a little shorter, but this would sometimes make them harder to handle or even harder to stay put in your water propagation vessel. At a minimum, you want at least one node under water, and each cutting should have at least a couple leaves.


Next, I simply placed all my cuttings that I prepared into my propagation unit that I filled with water.

Tradescantia zebrina typically roots very quickly, even in a matter of days. Here are some tips to help ensure success:

  • Place your cuttings in good light. I’m not sure why, but some people take cuttings and place them in dark locations. Place your cuttings wherever you would place a potted plant. Cuttings still need light!
  • Change the water periodically (at least once a week) to keep the water fresh and the cuttings clean. Remove any leaves or stems that may have rotted.
  • Keep an eye on the water level and top it off if necessary as the level goes down due to evaporation. Don’t allow your vessel to go completely dry.
  • Take multiple cuttings if you can! Not all cuttings will necessarily make it, so take several to be safe.
  • Wait until roots are about an inch long or so and then proceed to the next step to pot up into soil. Try not to leave them much longer than that in order to ease the transition.
  • You can take cuttings year-round, but it may be much quicker to do so during the active growing season. Spring and Summer are great times to propagate, but don’t be afraid to try at other times (I do). Many plants readily propagate year-round.

After only 1 day of being in water, roots were already visible. After two days, the roots were already rapidly growing.


I could have planted them right at this point, but I procrastinated and left them for 3 weeks and the roots had gone wild by then.



Lastly, I went ahead and planted into potting mix. I would recommend adding several cuttings in the same pot so that you have a fuller plant.


A plain old all purpose potting will do, but I like to mix about 3 parts of potting mix with 1 part of perlite to get a fluffier mix.

Once your plant is potted up ,I’d recommend regularly using a great all purpose fertilizer like Dyna-Gro Grow. I use this fertilizer on most of my houseplants, and you won’t believe the difference it makes over time!

In no time, you will have a nice full plant.

If you’d like to read about general care for this plant, be sure not to miss my Tradescantia zebrina care post.

Have you tried propagating Tradescantia zebrina? Comment below, I’d love to hear!

Please do me a favor and share this post to social media because it will help me spread the Ohio Tropics houseplant care tips to the masses! Also, check out my shop on Amazon for all your houseplant care needs:


Bethen Campbell

Thursday 23rd of March 2023

I received a plant mixture for Mother’s Day several years ago and due to life, I neglected it and the only surviving plants are these purple/green striped ones and purple fountain grass. The stems have vined out and are hanging over the sides of this pot. Would they be a good candidate for propagating?


Friday 24th of March 2023

I assume the purple/green striped ones are still Tradescantia? If so, yes, you can easily propagate those like I show in my post :-)

Lover and Murderer of Tradescantias

Thursday 14th of July 2022

I’ve successfully rooted tradescantia cuttings many times only to have them suffer once potted in soil. Do you have any recommendations for how big the pot should be in relation to the number of cuttings? And how deep into the pot should the roots be?


Thursday 14th of July 2022

It's better to go smaller than you think for the pot size. They can suffer indoors if your potting mix doesn't dry out quickly enough. Can you tell me how many cuttings vs. size of the pot that you used, and also what kind of potting mix? And what kind of lighting did you have?

Brittany Chapman

Friday 25th of March 2022

I just propagated mine for the very first time! And the roots are growing like crazy! I was so happy! :) I am a beginner with my plants and this plant is one of my all time favorites :) I'd share a photo but I don't see the option to do that :( your plant is absolutely beautiful!


Friday 25th of March 2022

They're so fun to propagate Brittany! Enjoy your plant :-)


Friday 4th of June 2021

Hello! I've been propagating my tradescantia zebrina in water for about 1.5 weeks, and it seems it's starting to turn blue at the fuzzy parts of the roots. I changed out the water today, but I'm unsure if it's mold? Would you know how to deal with this? And if the ones that turned blue can still be potted and grown? Thanks!


Friday 4th of June 2021

Hi Elaine! Hm, I'd have to see a photo to be sure. My inclination though is to say go ahead and pot it up and don't worry about it!