Everything You Need to Know About Growing and Caring for Tradescantia Nanouk Plants at Home

With stunning pink and green leaves, Tradescantia Nanouk has popped up on many plant wish lists. While this plant was once difficult to find, it’s now more widely available. Along with being beautiful, Tradescantia Nanouk is easy to care for at home. As long as you provide the proper environment and care, you can expect to enjoy this gorgeous plant for years to come. Here we’ll take you through the fundaments of growing Tradescantia Nanouk at home, including planting, soil considerations, light requirements, fertilizing, pruning, and propagating. 


How to Grow Tradescantia Nanouk – The Essentials

Botanical Name:Tradescantia albiflora ‘Nanouk’
Also Known As:Fantasy Venice, wandering jew ‘Nanouk’, spiderwort ‘Nanouk’
Growing Difficulty:Easy to moderate
Light Requirements:Five to ten hours of bright, indirect light
Temp & Humidity:Prefers temperatures from 60ºF to 85ºF and moderate humidity
Watering Needs:Water when the top two inches of soil is dry, about once a week in the spring and summer and once every two weeks in the fall and winter
Soil Preferences:Well-draining and well-aerated with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5
Fertilizing:Apply a diluted, balanced fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer
Growth Expectations:Up to six inches tall and two feet long
Toxicity:Toxic to humans and pets

About Tradescantia Nanouk

About Tradescantia Nanouk

Tradescantia ‘Nanouk’ is a variety of the plant Tradescantia albiflora.

Many Tradescantia species look similar, with trailing or climbing stems covered in thin, lanceolate leaves. However, each species and variety is a bit different.

Tradescantia ‘Nanouk’ was created in 2012 when two plant breeders in the Netherlands crossed pollinated two varieties of Tradescantia albiflora. Since then, breeders have propagated these plants through cuttings. In 2018, this plant became a patented variety.

Nanouk is characterized by its strong leaves that remain healthy in a variety of indoor conditions. These are some of my favorite purple houseplants, boasting leaves with light green, dark green, and purple stripes with darker purple undersides.

The plants are compact with stems that may grow up or trail out. Under the right conditions, plants can produce clusters of small pink or white flowers.

Tradescantia ‘Nanouk’, like other types of Tradescantia, is toxic to humans and pets. The plants produce a sap that can irritate the skin as well as internal organs.

With the proper care, Tradescantia ‘Nanouk’ can live for over ten years. If you notice your plant is becoming unhealthy, you can always take a cutting and grow a new plant.


How to Grow Tradescantia Nanouk at Home

How to Grow Tradescantia Nanouk at Home

Growth Expectations

Tradescantia ‘Nanouk’ grows at a fast pace. In a healthy environment, it can grow over a foot each year.

While the plant maxes out at a few inches high, it can trail up to two feet long.

What to Do Before Planting 

Before you add one of these plants to your home or office, you’ll want to ensure you have the proper environment. If you have a dark or cold area, it’s best to choose another plant.

Once you make sure your environment will support this plant, find a good place for it. Since Tradescantia ‘Nanouk’ will trail a few feet, consider planting it in a hanging basket or planter on top of an elevated side table.

What’s the Best Soil Mix?

Tradescantia ‘Nanouk’ needs a well-draining and well-aerated soil mix with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5.

Some suitable pre-mixed potting soils include Fox Farm Happy Frog Potting Soil and Burpee Organic Premium Potting Mix.

If you want to make your own potting mix, combine two parts peat moss, one part perlite, and one part compost. This mix will provide aeration and drainage while also holding nutrients and water.

How to Plant 

The first step of planting your Tradescantia Nanouk is to find a planter with drainage holes. This will allow excess water to escape.

Once you have your planter, you’ll want to fill half your pot with soil mix. Next, add your plant and cover the roots with more soil mix. Make sure only the roots are covered.

After your plant is in place, water well.

Light Preferences

Tradescantia ‘Nanouk’ plants like bright yet indirect light. Six to ten hours of daylight will help them thrive.

Try placing your plant a few feet away from a south-facing or east-facing window. Alternatively, you can place your plant in the center of a bright room.

Direct light can burn your plant’s leaves, causing them to become discolored. Therefore, it’s important to make sure your plants are only receiving indirect light. If you notice the sun is causing your plant to cast a shadow, try placing sheer curtains over your window.

While Tradescantia ‘Nanouk’ prefers at least six hours of light, it can survive with less light. However, if you don’t give your plant enough light, you’ll likely notice color changes. Rather than stunning pink and green variegations, leaves will appear primarily green. 

Temperature & Humidity Preferences

Tradescantia Nanouk prefers temperatures between 60-85ºF. It can tolerate slightly lower temperatures at night.

While these plants like warm temperatures, you should keep them away from heating vents. Additionally, make sure to protect your plant from cold drafts.

Compared to many other types of Tradescantia, Nanouk has thicker leaves. Therefore, it’s not as sensitive to low humidity. Average household humidity is typically fine for these plants.

With that said, you may need to provide an extra boost of humidity during dry winter months. Spritz the air around your plant a few times a week or purchase a humidifier.


How to Care for Tradescantia Nanouk at Home

How to Care for Tradescantia Nanouk at Home

Watering

Tradescantia Nanouk plants like their soil moist but not soaking wet. By choosing the correct potting soil and watering at the right time, you’ll keep your plant happy.

A good guiding principle is to water when the top inch or two of soil is dry. When you water, make sure to thoroughly saturate the soil and empty any water collected in a drainage dish.

Generally, you can expect to water your plant about once a week in the spring through fall and once every two weeks during the winter. However, multiple factors impact how much you’ll need to water.

Plants growing in dry areas will need to be watered more frequently than plants growing in humid areas. Additionally, plants in warm locations will require more water than plants in cooler areas.

These plants aren’t too picky about the type of water, so tap water or rainwater is fine.

Fertilizing

These plants will benefit from regular fertilization during the spring and summer. Aim to fertilize once a month from April through September.

Choose a balanced houseplant fertilizer and dilute it to half the recommended strength.

Pruning

While Tradescantia Nanouk plants tend to have a compact shape, they can develop a trailing habit. If you’d like to keep your plant looking tidy, it’s easy to prune the stems.

To start, you’ll need a sharp and sanitized knife or pair of pruning shears. Once you have these, simply trim each stem to your preferred length. However, you shouldn’t remove more than a third of the plant at once.

Propagating

Tradescantia Nanouk is easy to propagate, much like other types of Tradescantia. The easiest way to propagate is via stem cuttings.

To propagate your plan, follow these steps.

  1. Gather a sharp and sanitized pair of shears and a small cup or vase.
  2. Inspect your plant and find a healthy portion. You don’t want to take an unhealthy plant.
  3. Use your shears to take a cutting that is four to ten inches long.
  4. Remove the leaves from the bottom portion of the cuttings.
  5. Place each cutting in water, so the bottom is submerged. Ensure that no leaves are under the water.
  6. Place the cuttings in an area that is out of direct light. Check the water level every few days and refill the water when necessary.
  7. Once the roots are an inch long, you can repot your cutting in potting soil.

Repotting

Since these plants grow quickly, they need to be repotted relatively frequently. When your plant is young and growing rapidly, expect to repot one to two times a year. As the plants grow older and mature, you’ll only need to repot them once every couple of years.

Before you repot, choose a container an inch or two larger than your plant’s current pot. Make sure the new planter has drainage holes. 

When you repot, you’ll want to remove the root ball from the planter. Brush off excess potting soil and place it in the new container. Fill the container with fresh potting soil to cover the plant’s roots.


Common Tradescantia Nanouk Problems & How to Treat Them

Common Tradescantia Nanouk Problems & How to Treat Them

While it’s relatively easy to care for these plants, you’ll want to keep an eye out for a few common problems.

Yellowing Leaves

If you notice your plant’s leaves are becoming yellow or brown instead of pink and green, you’ll want to check in on your environment. 

The number one cause of yellowing leaves is soil that is too moist. This can be caused by overwatering as well as poorly draining soil. Ensure you’re using a well-draining soil mix and only water when the top few inches are dry.

If soil is moist for an extended period, it can lead to a fungus known as root rot. If roots appear slimy, cut off the infected parts and fill your pot with fresh soil.

Elongated Stems

While Tradescantia Nanouk has a trailing form, it shouldn’t look like it’s reaching for the light. If you notice your plant’s stems appear scraggly, it’s likely the plant isn’t receiving enough light.

Move your plant to an area that receives a bit more light. Remember, you are aiming for six to ten hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day.

Faded Colors

If you purchase a Tradescantia Nanouk, you will probably enjoy its bright, colorful leaves. However, sometimes these colors fade.

Low light levels most often cause dull coloration. Move your plant to an area that receives more light to increase your plant’s colors.

Essential Tools

It’s helpful to have a sharp pair of shears to prune and propagate your plan.


Growing Tradescantia Nanouk FAQs

Yes, Tradescantia ‘Nanouk’ is a great houseplant. This plant was specifically bred to thrive indoors.

Tradescantia ‘Nanouk’ will max out at six inches tall, but it will trail outwards. These plants can produce stems that trail up to two feet.

These plants grow at a moderate to fast rate. Under the proper conditions, Tradescantia ‘Nanouk’ can grow over a foot each year.

While Tradescantia ‘Nanouk’ was once a rare plant, it is now easy to find. However, be aware of look-alikes that are actually different types of Tradescantia.

Yes, Tradescantia ‘Nanouk’ is poisonous to pets, including dogs and cats. Therefore, it’s best to keep these plants out of your pet’s reach.

While these plants can tolerate low light, they won’t thrive. Low light can cause faded colors as well as a scraggly-looking form.


Wrapping Up

Now that you know how to care for Tradescantia Nanouk, you can add one of these stunning plants to your home. If you find you love the Nanouk, consider exploring other Tradescantia species.


Author

Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.

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