Brown leaves on wandering jews are a very common problem. But the good news it that, once you know what’s causing it, it’s easy to fix. In this post I’ll show you how to figure it out and correct it.
One of the most common problems with wandering jew plants (Tradescantia, or inch plant) is brown leaves and how to deal with them.
Beginners often don’t know why it happens, or how to fix it, and it can be extremely frustrating.
This guide will help you deal with wandering jew brown leaves by teaching you to identify the potential causes, and give you the exact details for how to resolve them.
Problem: Wandering Jew Leaves Turning Brown
Browning leaves is one of the most frequent problems people have when it comes to wandering jew plants.
It can happen on all types, whether you have the Tradescantia zebrina, pallida, blossfeldiana, or any of the other varieties.
Sometimes more than one problem can affect them at the same time. But whether it’s one or many, the good news is that finding out the issue(s) will also help you fix it.
Related Post: How To Care For Wandering Jew Plants
Why Are My Wandering Jew Leaves Turning Brown?
All wandering jew owners will most likely encounter brown leaves at some point. Below I’ve listed the potential causes from the most common to the least.
1. Lack Of Humidity
Wandering jew plants prefer high humidity, and not having enough is the number one reason for brown leaves.
This is especially a problem for indoor plants during the winter when the air is dryer than usual.
2. Under Watering
Lack of adequate soil moisture is another very common cause, and often a struggle for many.
When the soil is allowed to dry out too frequently, or remains that way for a long period of time, it can cause the leaves to die.
3. Root Or Stem Rot
On the other hand, one of the symptoms of overwatering a wandering jew is brown leaves.
Too much moisture can lead to root or stem rot, which will ultimately kill the leaves. Soft, soggy stems or yellowing are first indicators to look out for here.
Most Tradescantias prefer indirect bright light indoors, or partial shade outdoors.
So the intense, direct sun can burn the sensitive leaves and cause them to turn brown.
5. Damaged Vines
The vines are delicate and can break easily, especially after moving or disturbing the plant.
When wandering jew stems are damaged, kinked, or broken, the water and nutrients are unable to reach the leaves, which will eventually lead to browning.
6. Old Age
If the oldest bottom leaves are the only ones affected, and you’ve eliminated the other possibilities, it could be a symptom of old age.
Some varieties, notably the Tradescantia tricolor or purple queen, naturally have browning on the lower and most mature stems and leaves.
How To Fix Brown Leaves On Wandering Jew Plants
After you’ve determined what might be causing the brown leaves on your wandering jew, the next step is to fix the problem. Here are my tips on how to remedy each potential cause.
1. Increase Humidity
Check the humidity levels with a monitor to determine if the air is too dry.
Then, remedy it by increasing the moisture in the air with a humidifier, misting, or by setting your plant on a pebble tray.
It’s also helpful to keep them away from sources of hot, dry air, like fireplaces, heating vents, and radiators.
2. Ensure Even Watering
Even, consistent moisture is key to avoiding both under or overwatering. Prevent root and stem rot by never letting the soil become wet or soggy, but also don’t allow it dry out completely.
When the top 1-2” is dry, water deeply to saturate the medium, then drain all excess from the pot. Using a moisture meter is very helpful if you struggle to get it just right.
3. Keep Out Of Direct Sunlight
Avoid brown leaves by keeping your shade-loving Tradescantia out of the direct sun. Move it to a partially shaded area outside, or an indoors space that has bright, indirect light.
If you can’t find an indirect location with enough sun then add a grow light to supplement and prevent legginess.
4. Remove Dead Or Damaged Vines
Pruning is a great way to help with brown wandering jew leaves caused by old age, rot, or damaged stems.
Use sharp, clean precision shears or micro snips to remove any sections that are dead, broken, or rotting.
You can get more detail on how to prune them the right way in my detailed guide here.
Should I Remove Brown Leaves From My Wandering Jew?
Yes, removing the brown leaves is a good way to keep your wandering jew looking its best.
Just be sure to cut them back to the base, rather than pinching them off, to avoid damaging the delicate stems.
Brown leaves are a really common issue for wandering jew plants. With this detailed guide you can recognize and resolve the causes quickly to keep your Tradescantia in its best health.
Maintaining healthy houseplants is key to preventing problems like this. So if you’re ready to learn how to get yours thriving, then you need my Houseplant Care eBook. It will show you all you need to know. Download your copy today!
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Share your fixes for brown wandering jew leaves in the comments below.
Lois Pawuk says
Does misting promote humidity for my wandering Jew?
Amy Andrychowicz says
Yes, misting will definitely help increase the humidity around your wandering jew. Just don’t wet the leaves too much or it could cause mildew issues.