Pruning: How to Care for Your Tradescantia Bubblegum
Compared with other Tradescantia varieties, the Bubblegum/Lilac stands apart with its more-compact growth pattern and bright pink leaves! Aside from the differences in appearance, the Bubblegum requires similar care to other plants in this genus. Pruning must become an essential part of your Tradescantia care routine!
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Include Pruning in your Tradescantia’s Care
Why is pruning such an important step? Tradescantia naturally will become leggy over time. After removing part of a vine, two will grow in its place. This new growth will contribute to a full, more compact plant.
Additionally, Tradescantias have a short life expectancy when compared to other houseplants. The original plant will only survive one to two years. Pruning allows you to propagate your cuttings, making your overall Tradescantia last longer.
What Season Should I Prune My Tradescantia?
When a Tradescantia senses that part of its vine has been removed, it will start expending the energy necessary to replace it, making the ideal time to prune your plant is during its growing season. Trimming too much of your plant during dormancy can lead to shock, which is detrimental to its health.
However, there are times it may be necessary to do a light pruning of your Tradescantia during dormancy to keep up with its basic care. During your routine, if you notice a yellowing stem, you should remove it. Doing so helps your plant to focus its energy on maintaining its overall health during the winter.
How Do I Prune My Plant?
Prune your Tradescantia by “pinching” off stems directly after a node. You can do this by literally pinching with your fingers or using a pair of clean scissors to cut. It is imperative that you leave the node on the limb you are pruning. As noted, two stems will grow out of the remaining node.
If you choose to use scissors, cut the stem at a 45° angle: like the stems on florist-cut flowers. Doing this will prevent the branch from secreting liquid, making your plant vulnerable to pests and disease.
How Frequently Should I Be Pruning my Tradescantia?
If it is the growing season, you can keep pruning your Tradescantia Bubblegum freely as part of your regular care routine. These plants are fast growers, giving you plenty of opportunities to shape-up your plant however you prefer.
If you plan on cutting a substantial amount of your plant, you must time it properly. The spring season is an excellent opportunity to check on your plant’s health and possibly repot your Tradescantia. However, repotting causes stress for your plant, as does substantial pruning. Either delay repotting or wait to prune until after your plant has had sufficient time to properly root in its new pot.
If you find yourself pruning your Tradescantia frequently in every season because it is experiencing issues, you may need to reevaluate the care it is receiving. Below are a few diagnostics:
Why is My Tradescantia Leggy?
Often, when a Tradescantia Bubblegum is first purchased, it is small and compact. As time goes by, however, the vines grow longer, and the leaves may seem sparse. How can you stop this from happening?
While pruning does contribute to a fuller plant, keeping it that way requires the proper growing conditions. Proper lighting influences its growth pattern and coloration. Tradescantia Bubblegum’s need plenty of bright, indirect light. As a rule, the more indirect light, the better with these plants. Avoid hours of direct sunlight, as this will burn the leaves.
Why is My Plant Turning Yellow?
Pruning also enters the care routine when there are damaged stems on your Tradescantia. If you are regularly trimming yellow branches of your plant, you need to reexamine your watering routine.
Tradescantia Bubblegum’s store water in their hardy stems, which makes them drought tolerant. Yellowing can be a sign that you are overwatering your plant. You should only water your Tradescantia Bubblegum when the first inch of the soil is bone-dry.
Why Are My Tradescantia’s Stems Falling off on Their Own?
This problem is also connected to your watering habits. Tradescantias are susceptible to stem-rot, which will cause the stem to become soft from the plant’s base. If a long branch falls off, it still may have some healthy leaves at its end and segments that can you can propagate.
How do you prevent stem-rot? Water your Tradescantia’s soil only. If your plant is full, and this seems unachievable, use bottom watering methods. Simply set your well-draining pot in a bowl of water for twenty minutes, and then remove. Your plant will soak up all the needed moisture.
Additionally, while Tradescantias do enjoy humidity, do not mist them. Heavy misting will contribute to stem-rot. Employ another method to give your plant its needed humidity, like a humidifier.
What Should I Do with All These Cuttings?
As stated, Tradescantias are unique in the houseplant world because of their relatively short lifespan. Propagation is the only way to renew and refresh your plant, making it last for years. That means it is essential to put the cuttings you take off your Tradescantia Bubblegum to great use.
After cutting or pinching the stem, pluck the leaves off the next node, and place the limb in a glass of water. Each node will grow roots. As fast growers, this process only takes a few weeks. Afterward, these rooted propagations will be ready to replant in the main pot or start fresh as its own plant. Remember, when planting water-propagations, it is essential to place them in moist, freshly watered soil to avoid shock.
Tradescantia cuttings can also be propagated in the soil, as long as it’s moist. Simply remove the first set of leaves, exposing a node, and place the stem directly in the dirt.
By using these methods and making pruning a regular part of your Tradescantia Bubblegum’s care routine, you will ensure that you have a full, lush plant that lasts for years!