The Tradescantia Nanouk is also known as the:
- Nanouk Tradescantia
- Fantasy Venice
- Tradescantia albiflora Nanouk
- Purple Queen Plant
The plant is a cultivar that was developed from two seedlings of the Tradescantia albiflora. This was done in the Netherlands.
And like many beautiful hybrids and cultivars today, the plant was created to produce a compact type of Tradescantia with beautiful flowers.
And what we got is one of the most impressive looking plants in terms of foliage color.
And this is why the Tradescantia Nanouk is very popular online including Instagram.
The plant features green, pink, purple and white leaves. The patterns by which they appear make it stunning. And if you have one, you should definitely propagate it.
How do you care for the Tradescantia Nanouk? Give the plant bright, indirect light to maintain its beautiful colors and allow it to flower. Don’t forget about propagation since you want to reproduce this beauty.
The plant enjoys moderate to warm environments and prefers medium to high humidity. But it will tolerate average room humidity.
Tradescantia Nanouk Plant Care
The Tradescantia Nanouk is a variegated plant which means it thrives on plenty of light. Ideally, keep it somewhere with bright, indirect light. Although, medium light works just as well.
If you want to take it outside for the summer, make sure to keep it under partial shade.
While the plant can tolerate some full sun or direct sunlight, don’t just let it bathe in the intense light immediately.
Instead, you’ll need to gradually get it accustomed to direct sunlight by exposing it a little at a time. Then increasing the duration as the weeks go.
If not, you’ll soon see its leaves get bleached or discolored. In strong light or left for longer durations, the leaves may even get burned.
This will be a wash especially since the plant looks gorgeous.
In most cases, home gardeners will keep it indoors as a houseplant in medium to bright indirect or filtered light.
Good lighting is also important if you want it to flower.
The Tradescantia Nanouk produces small but beautiful white and yellow blooms that look stunning. I for the most part give it plenty of light because I love its leaves.
It is also worth noting to be careful with low light.
Low light will cause the plant’s lovely colors to fade. Additionally, it will get leggy which is not a great look for this houseplant.
Purple Queen Plant Temperature
The Tradescantia Nanouk prefers temperatures between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This puts it around moderate to slightly warm temperatures.
Note that it is only winter hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 through 12.
As such, you can leave it outside from November to March in these locations. If you live below zone 10, it is a good idea to bring the plant indoors once the weather drops near 50 degrees around late fall.
In these regions, the temperature will get too cold for the plant to survive outside.
Thus, it is very important to keep it indoors during winters in a warm spot in your home.
That said, you can just keep the plant inside all year long and you won’t have any issues with it at least as far as temperature goes.
The only thing here is to avoid appliances or areas in your home that can get really hot or really cold quickly.
This includes air conditioners, open windows with cold drafts, ovens, stoves, heaters, radiators and similar appliances.
Purple Queen Plant Humidity
The Tradescantia Nanouk prefers moderate to high humidity, ideally between 40% and 60%. As such, it will grow better if you keep it somewhere humid.
That said, I’ve notice that it has good tolerance to average room humidity.
Therefore, unless your home consistently gets humidity below 30%, the plant won’t have any problems.
In these cases, you won’t need to get or use a humidifier. Of course, you can mist the plant every so often if you wish to increase humidity.
However if you live somewhere with dry air, it is a good idea to regular mist the plant or set up a pebble tray.
The plant is not finicky about humidity so it won’t act up on your like calatheas do.
This makes it easier to take care of for most households.
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How Often to Water Tradescantia Nanouk
Watering is the more challenging part of caring for the Tradescantia Nanouk. That’s because it is susceptible to overwatering.
In general, the plant needs watering about once a week.
However, if it gets really hot, you may need to water 2 or even 3 times a week. This can happen during the hot summers especially if you take the plant outdoors.
Make sure the plant stays hydrated in these situations since it does not like going completely dry.
However, the biggest threat is till overwatering.
As such, it is very important to make sure to wait until the soil slightly dries before you add more water. Ideally, wait until at least the top few inches of soil has dried before you add more water.
There’s no need to be precise here, so don’t worry.
Avoid going to early. But don’t worry about being a little late.
Try to wait until at least the top 2 inches of soil had dried. But you can wait until 3, 4 or 5 inches have dried as well. The plant also won’t mind if you allow half the soil to dry before you water.
In fact, the latter will keep you safer and prevent overwatering more.
When watering, do so directly on the soil and not over the plant. This way, you don’t end up wetting all the leaves.
You can likewise water from below. Bottom watering takes longer. But it is safer in that there’s less likelihood of overwatering.
Just leave the pot in a large bin or container with water for about 10-15 minutes. The soil will absorb the water on its own. Thus, hydrating the roots.
After that, remove the water container and let the soil completely drain. This should take another 12 to 30 minutes depending on how big your plant is.
Tradescantia Nanouk Potting Soil
The Tradescantia Nanouk needs soil with good drainage. It does not like to be overwatered. And it will have problems with waterlogged soil.
Therefore, avoid heavy soil as well as those that tend to retain a lot of water.
The good news is that the plant does not need any special soil.
Instead, you can use high quality potting mix. I also like to add pest moss in it to improve drainage. You can use perlite as well if you want to make the soil lighter.
The key here is to monitor the plant to make sure that the potting soil you use is not holding on to too much water.
If it does, add perlite or peat moss. You can also add compost if you want to give it more organic matter.
In addition to soil with good drainage, make sure to use a pot with drainage holes as well. This is just as important.
If your pot does not have drainage, any water that drains from the soil will get stuck and build up at the bottom of the pot. This will keep the soil wet.
Having holes at the bottom of the pot ensures that water can escape so there’s no excess moisture keeping the soil wet.
Purple Queen Plant Fertilizer
The Tradescantia Nanouk does not need fertilizer. Of course, you can help it out by feeding it.
That said, be careful with over fertilizing the plant.
Excess fertilizer is the only big no-no you don’t want to do with the Tradescantia Nanouk. In fact, it will do just fine without plant food. So, overfeeding is actually the worst offense here.
If it gets too much fertilizer, you’ll see its leaf tips turn brown.
Therefore, if you want to fertilize your Tradescantia Nanouk, use a standard liquid fertilizer. This makes it easier to dilute the dose. Only use half strength.
The plant only needs feeding during spring and summer. Don’t give it nutrients in fall and winter.
And before you do use fertilizer on the plant, always check with the store you get the plant from. Usually, they’ll have a 6-month dose of fertilizer or have applied a slow-release fertilizer on the soil.
As such, you don’t want to double the dose by applying more.
Ask the store if the soil already has fertilizer so you know what to do when you get home with the plant.
Tradescantia Nanouk Flower & Blooming
In addition to the Tradescantia Nanouk’s beautiful purple, green and white leaves, it also produces lovely flowers.
The Tradescantia Nanouk’s flowers are usually white or pink in color. And they can appear any time between spring and early fall.
Make sure to give the plant sufficient light. Ideally, medium to bright indirect light will help it flower.
Many home gardeners will also take it outdoors to the yard or patio during the warmer months because it has a better chance of blooming there.
While the plant is less likely to flower indoors, it may do so during the winter months.
Purple Queen Plant Pruning
The Tradescantia Nanouk is a fast grower. However, it stays fairly compact which makes it easy to maintain at least as far as looks goes.
The plant can grow up to 2 feet long. Its stems will trail down which makes it great for growing in pots or hanging baskets.
Because the plant grows quickly, pruning is needed.
But you only need to do so when the stems get a bit too long for the look you’re going for.
What’s great about this plant is that you can keep it fairly compact in a pot or hang it up and allow its stems to get longer and trail downwards.
The important thing is to make sure that when you prune, sterilize the cutting tool first. This way you don’t introduce any pathogens to the plant.
Additionally, because the plant is beautiful, why not propagate the plant using the pruned stems instead of just throwing them away.
How to Propagate Tradescantia Nanouk
The two most common ways of propagating the Tradescantia Nanouk are through stem cuttings in division.
Purple Queen Plant propagation is fairly simple since both methods are quite straightforward. Although, they work very differently.
Stem cuttings is much simpler to do so it is popular among home gardeners.
But you’ll need to wait for your new purple queen plants to root before they will start developing shoots. This usually means 1-2 months wait at least before you see new shoots and your plant growing.
On the other hand, division takes a bit more work during propagation.
But once you’re done, you have a few semi-grown purple queen plants that not only have roots but also stems and leaves.
That said, both methods work well. So, it is up to you to decide.
Propagating Tradescantia Nanouk from Stem Cuttings
The Tradescantia Nanouk has many stems so you can easily take a few stems and propagate young purple queen plants.
Here’s how to do it.
Take a few healthy stem cuttings. How many you get will depend on how many new plants you want to propagate.
Remove the lower leaves but leave the upper leaves.
Next, you can choose between propagating the cuttings in water or in soil.
If you choose water propagation, place the stem cuttings in a glass container. Submerged the part of the stems but not the entire stem.
Keep the container in bright, indirect light. And change the water before it gets cloudy.
In about 3-4 weeks you should see quite a few roots growing form the stems.
Once the stems reach about an inch or so, you can transfer them from water into potting mix.
To propagate the cuttings in soil, directly plant the cuttings in a pot with fresh potting mix. You can skip the part of the water.
Keep the soil slightly moist but avoid overwatering the soil.
Leave the pot in bright, indirect sunlight.
In about 4 weeks, lightly tug the cuttings to see if they resist you. Ideally, the cuttings should have some resistance and not just come out of the soil.
This will tell you that it is growing some roots which are taking hold of the soil.
Propagating Tradescantia Nanouk by Division
Propagating your purple queen plant by division is quite different from stem cuttings.
Here, you’ll need to carefully unpot the plant and check the root system.
Remove excess dirt and soil so you can see the roots.
Next, decide where you want to separate the root ball. How many divisions will depend on the size of the plant and how many new purple queen plants you want.
Typically, home gardeners will just split the plant into 2 divisions to keep both new plants fairly good sizes.
When deciding, make sure each division has enough roots to support the stems and leaves above it. This way the new plant can survive and thrive instead of struggle.
You can use your hands or a sterile knife to cut the root ball apart.
Then plant each of the divisions into their individual pots. Add fresh potting mix as well.
How to Repot or Transplant Tradescantia Nanouk
Since the Tradescantia Nanouk is a fast grower, it usually needs repotting ever 12 to 18 months.
However, don’t just repot it just because you hit the one year mark. Instead, check whether the plant needs repotting.
Like other houseplants the Tradescantia Nanouk only needs to be repot when it gets root bound. In short, the roots have no more room to grow inside the pot.
Therefore, moving the plant to a bigger pot will allow them to keep growing.
The reason for this is that if you keep moving the plant to a bigger pot when the rotos still have not outgrown their current pot, at some point, you’ll be overpotting the plant.
This means the pot is way too big for the plant.
This increases the risk of overwatering. That’s because when you water soil volume that’s much more than that the plant’s root system, you’ll leave the roots swimming in too much water.
As such, always check the bottom of the pot.
And only repot when you see quite a few roots coming out from the holes at the bottom of the pot.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
The Tradescantia Nanouk is toxic to cats and dogs. It is also toxic to humans.
Note that this is because of its sap. So, it the outer layer of the plant is not broken, it is safe to hold or handle.
But once you cut into the plant like you would when pruning or propagating it, then it releases the sap. The same is true when young children, cats or dogs chew or ingest parts of the plant.
The sap is a skin irritant. Therefore, wear gloves if you’re prone to allergies or have sensitive skin.
If ingested, it can cause irritation, swelling and other side effects in the digestive tract.
Tradescantia Nanouk Problems & Troubleshooting
The Tradescantia Nanouk can experience spider mites, aphids, mealybugs and fungus gnats. These are all bothersome but easily treated if you catch them early.
Avoid letting them grow into an infestation because that’s when they turn into a big problem.
Keeping your plant healthy is the best way to avoid pest issues.
Also cleaning the leaves helps keep bugs away since these insects like dust. Since the plant has lot of leaves, I prefer giving it a shower to get it clean. This also lets it get some moisture in the process.
Overwatering is the one thing you want to avoid because it can lead to a host of different problems. One of which is root rot which can eventually kill your plant.
In addition, too much watering can cause bacterial and fungal infection which can turn the leaves brown or yellow.
Thus, the best way to avoid this is to regularly check the soil.
Never water the plant unless the top few inches of soil has dried out.
If you feel the soil is still wet even days after you watered, you’re likely overwatering or the soil you’re using is not draining enough.
Make sure to immediately address the issue.