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Gardening with George Weigel

Answers to your gardening questions and other tips by George Weigel.

Last Build Date: Sat, 27 May 2017 13:07:04 UTC

Copyright: Copyright 2017

You won't find a more colorful vine than this old-timer: George's Plant Pick of the Week

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 13:00:46 UTC


This week's plant pick is an old-fashioned, purple-and-silvery annual vine called wandering jew.

Here's PennLive garden writer George Weigel's Plant Pick of the Week for this week:

* Common name: Wandering jew

* Botanical name: Tradescantia zebrina

* What it is: An old-fashioned tender vine - usually grown as a houseplant - that's not as well known as it used to be, despite its ease of care. Plants grow in a trailing habit and produce colorful leaves that are a blend of green, purple and creamy-silver.

* Size: Trails 2 to 3 feet in a single season with a mounding height of under 1 foot.

* Where to use: Usually used in a hanging basket as a colorful trailer - either by itself or draping down one side. Also works in a big pot or even as a shady groundcover planted in summer in the shade. Prefers shade or at least afternoon shade with morning sun; leaves will bleach in direct sun.

* Care: Wandering jew (occasionally called the "inch plant") isn't frost-hardy, so grow it outside in summer but move back inside by late September. Overly long "arms" can be cut back any time. Tip cuttings from these cutbacks root easily in soil to create new plants. If you don't plan to keep it, yank and compost when frost kills the plant in fall. Occasional balanced granular fertilizer is helpful but usually not necessary. Check pots daily for moisture and add water if soil is dry, usually every day or two in hot weather.

* Great partner: Showy enough to fill a pot or basket alone but also looks nice paired with purple browallia or white euphorbia. In the ground, grow at the base of white hydrangeas.

See George's Plant Profiles for more on hundreds of past plant picks of the week.

George's 170 most recommended plants for Pennsylvania gardens are profiled in his "Pennsylvania Getting Started Garden Guide" book. 

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