All You Need to Know about Purple Heart ‘Tradescantia pallida’

The Purple Heart plant, scientifically known as Tradescantia pallida, is a popular ornamental plant valued for its vibrant purple foliage. It is native to the Gulf Coast region of eastern Mexico. It is also found in some parts of Central America.

The Purple Heart plant is a trailing perennial that typically grows up to 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) in height. It has succulent stems and elongated, lance-shaped leaves. The leaves are a deep purple color, which is the plant’s main characteristic and source of its common name.

How to grow and take care of Purple Heart Tradescantia pallida?

Purple Heart Tradescantia pallida is a popular and easy-to-grow plant that can add color and beauty to your indoor or outdoor space. Here are some tips on how to grow and take care of Purple Heart Tradescantia pallida:

  1. Light: Purple Heart Tradescantia pallida prefers bright, indirect light, but can also tolerate partial shade. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can cause the leaves to burn.
  2. Water: Water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot. In general, it’s better to underwater than overwater.
  3. Soil: Purple Heart Tradescantia pallida prefers well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. A mix of potting soil and perlite or sand can be a good option.
  4. Temperature and Humidity: This plant prefers temperatures between 60-85°F (15-29°C) and moderate humidity levels. Avoid placing it in a drafty area or near a heating or cooling vent.
  5. Fertilizer: You can fertilize your Purple Heart Tradescantia pallida once a month during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced fertilizer. Avoid fertilizing during the winter months.
  6. Pruning: To encourage bushy growth, pinch back the tips of the stems. You can also remove any yellow or dead leaves to promote new growth.
  7. Propagation: Purple Heart Tradescantia pallida is easy to propagate through stem cuttings. Simply take a cutting from a healthy stem, remove the bottom leaves, and place it in water or soil to root.

Overall, Purple Heart Tradescantia pallida is a low-maintenance plant that can thrive with minimal care. With the right conditions and care, it can grow quickly and provide a beautiful splash of color to your space.

What is the lifespan of Tradescantia pallida?

Tradescantia pallida is a perennial plant, which means it can live for about 7 years with the proper care. In its native habitat, it can grow as a ground cover or a trailing plant that can reach up to 1-2 feet in height and width.

As a houseplant, Tradescantia pallida can also live for several years with proper care, and it may even produce more vibrant foliage as it ages. However, the lifespan of a houseplant can be influenced by various factors such as growing conditions, pests, diseases, and the quality of care provided.

In general, with proper care, a Tradescantia pallida plant can live for several years and can even be propagated to create new plants.

How to water it?

Proper watering is crucial for the health and well-being of Tradescantia pallida. Here are some tips on how to water this plant:

  1. Check the soil moisture: Before watering the plant, check the moisture level of the soil. Stick your finger into the soil up to your first knuckle. If the soil feels dry at this depth, it’s time to water.
  2. Water thoroughly: When you water, make sure to water thoroughly, so that the water reaches the roots of the plant. Allow the water to drain out of the bottom of the pot and discard any excess water.
  3. Avoid overwatering: Overwatering can be a common problem with Tradescantia pallida, as it is susceptible to root rot. To prevent this, make sure the soil is well-draining and avoid leaving the plant sitting in standing water.
  4. Frequency: The frequency of watering depends on various factors such as the size of the pot, the type of soil, humidity levels, and the temperature. As a general rule, it’s better to underwater than overwater, so allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again.
  5. Adjust watering schedule: Adjust your watering schedule based on the environmental conditions and the needs of the plant. For example, during the hot summer months, you may need to water more frequently, while during the cooler winter months, you may need to water less often.

By following these watering tips, you can ensure that your Tradescantia pallida plant receives the right amount of water to thrive and stay healthy.

How to prune it?

Pruning Tradescantia pallida can help promote bushy growth and prevent the plant from becoming leggy or straggly. Here are some tips on how to prune this plant:

  1. Pinch back the tips: To encourage branching and bushy growth, pinch back the tips of the stems using your fingers or sharp, clean scissors. Pinching should be done just above a node or where the leaves emerge from the stem.
  2. Remove dead or yellow leaves: Remove any dead, yellow or damaged leaves with sharp, clean scissors or pruning shears. This will help prevent the plant from wasting energy on leaves that are no longer productive and can also reduce the risk of pests or diseases.
  3. Cut back leggy stems: If your Tradescantia pallida has become leggy, with long stems and few leaves, you can cut back the stems by up to one-third of their length. Make the cut just above a node or where the leaves emerge from the stem.
  4. Propagate cuttings: You can use the cuttings you take from pruning to propagate new plants. Simply dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone powder and place it in a pot filled with moist, well-draining soil.

By pruning your Tradescantia pallida regularly, you can encourage healthy growth, maintain an attractive shape, and propagate new plants.

How big does Tradescantia pallida grow?

Tradescantia pallida is a relatively small plant that can grow up to 1-2 feet in height and width. As a houseplant, it can be grown in a pot and can reach a maximum height of 1-2 feet, depending on the size of the pot and the growing conditions.

When grown outdoors in warm climates, Tradescantia pallida can also be used as a ground cover or trailing plant and can spread up to several feet wide. In its natural habitat, it can grow up to 3 feet tall and wide.

The size of the plant can also vary depending on the growing conditions, such as the amount of light, water, and nutrients it receives. Regular pruning can help control the size of the plant and promote bushy growth.

Which soil is the best for growing it?

Tradescantia pallida prefers well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Here are some tips on choosing the best soil for growing Tradescantia pallida:

  1. Use a well-draining soil: Tradescantia pallida prefers soil that drains well, so it’s important to choose a soil mix that allows water to pass through quickly. A mix of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite is ideal.
  2. Add organic matter: Adding organic matter to the soil can improve its structure and nutrient content. You can add compost, well-rotted manure, or leaf mold to the soil mix before planting.
  3. Choose a slightly acidic soil: Tradescantia pallida prefers a slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. You can use a pH testing kit to check the acidity of the soil and adjust it if necessary.
  4. Avoid heavy soils: Heavy soils can hold too much water, leading to root rot and other problems. Avoid using soils that are heavy in clay or that don’t drain well.
  5. Use a container with drainage holes: If you’re growing Tradescantia pallida in a container, make sure it has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. This will prevent water from pooling in the bottom of the pot and causing root rot.

By choosing the right soil mix for your Tradescantia pallida plant, you can help ensure that it has the right balance of nutrients, drainage, and acidity to thrive and grow well.

Where can I buy it?

Tradescantia pallida is a popular houseplant and is widely available for purchase at garden centers, nurseries, and online plant stores. Here are some places where you can buy Tradescantia pallida:

  1. Local garden centers and nurseries: Check your local garden centers and nurseries for Tradescantia pallida. They may have a variety of sizes and cultivars to choose from.
  2. Online plant stores: There are many online plant stores that specialize in indoor plants, and they often have a wide variety of Tradescantia pallida for sale. Some popular online plant stores include The Sill, Bloomscape, and Etsy.
  3. Plant swaps and sales: Check local plant swaps and sales in your area, where you can often find unique and rare varieties of plants, including Tradescantia pallida.
  4. Social media plant groups: Join plant groups on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. These groups often have members who are willing to sell or trade plants, including Tradescantia pallida.

When purchasing Tradescantia pallida, make sure to choose a healthy plant with no signs of pests or diseases. Check the soil moisture, and make sure the pot has adequate drainage. With proper care, your Tradescantia pallida plant will thrive and add beauty to your home.


In this post, we discussed the Tradescantia pallida plant and how to grow and care for it. We covered topics such as the ideal growing conditions, watering and fertilizing requirements, pruning techniques, and the best soil mix to use. We also discussed where to buy Tradescantia pallida, including local nurseries, online plant stores, plant swaps and sales, and social media plant groups. Overall, Tradescantia pallida is an easy-to-care-for plant that can add beauty to any indoor or outdoor space.

Have a nice day!

Ari Iniesta

Ari Iniesta

Total posts created: 199
Hello fellow succulent enthusiast! My name is Ari Iniesta, and I'm a succulent enthusiast. I was born and raised in a small town in southern Spain, where the warm climate and dry conditions allowed me to develop a love for plants that are able to thrive in harsh environments. As I got older, my interest in succulents only grew stronger. I began to study horticulture and botany, and I even started my own collection of rare and exotic succulents from around the world.

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