tradescantia quadricolor

The plan that I intend to test out with my quadricolor

Today I am trialing a very interesting plan of mine to see what happens with regard to my tradescantia quadricolor and cutting it back. I have read all sorts of reports saying that you should never cut a house plant back by more than 20% of its overall size. If you do you can stress the plant out too much and it will decline in health and die off altogether.

But, here’s the interesting part, tradescantia aren’t like other house plants. They’re resilient and hardy. They have the power to almost die off entirely through frost, over-watering, under-watering, too much sun, etc. But they always seem to bounce back. Which is where my test comes in.

I am cutting back my tradescantia quadricolor right back to the bare shoot to see if it will indeed die off or remarkably thrive into a new little plant all over again.

The inch plant in question

The tradescantia plant that I am cutting right back is the quadricolor below. It has five healthy stem shoots which have been growing well for the last few months.

I am using the new cutting scissors from the miniature house plant tool kit that I got. These are perfect for getting into the tight stems between others for pruning back dead or damaged leaves too. They are very sharp therefore there is little damage done to the stems on cutting as well, making them a great little cutting tool to have.

So let’s get down to business and start this test destruction on the inch plant here.

Goodbye spiderwort quadricolor, hopefully only temporarily

The chopping has begun and it’s a great time to get rid of any unhappy-looking leaves while I’m at it. There are only a couple, but it’s worth making sure that each cutting is healthy and so the removal of these dead or dying leaves is needed.

And just like that they’re all off and this is what I’m left with in my plant pot.

As you can see on the left image I have the five cuttings taken from the quadricolor plant, and on the right, the rooted stems that are left. I wanted to make this experiment as interesting as possible, so I made sure that there are no leaves left on the test plant. This way it will be great to keep an eye on what really happens and I’ll be able to see if the shoots die off too.

Re-potting the cuttings from the test

With the five cuttings that I have taken from the trial here, I am potting them back up with another tradescantia quadricolor house plant that I have. I am using another tool from the little tool kit that I have got, and this is a simple device that makes holes in the soil. It may sound basic but I’ve spent the last year or so using the handle of a teaspoon to make holes in the soil. And although this works, it can be quite messy and inconsistent. The new tool, however, I am very happy with and it does the job really well. You can choose between the thinner or thicker end depending on how large you need the hole in your soil too.

I tend to cut or pull off the bottom leaf from each stem cutting before I pot it up. This is because from past experience I’ve found that if the lower leaf sits too close to the soil mix after being watered it can rot and die off. Therefore, I tend to take the lower leaf off so that this doesn’t happen, and it means I can push the stem cutting further into the soil too for increased rooting chances. This is just my personal preference but I’ve found it to work quite well on all the potting up that I’ve done.

The end result of the first part of the trial

So as you’ll be able to see below, I now have one very full healthy-looking tradescantia quadricolor. And one very sad-looking empty pot of soil with a few green shoots.

One healthy quadricolor tradescantia plant, and one not so happy.
One healthy quadricolor tradescantia plant, and one not so happy.

And so the trial now begins properly. I have watered the new cuttings in their soil mix to allow roots to begin to form quickly, but I haven’t watered the soil with the empty cuttings. This is because they are already rooted, and to be honest, the soil is still pretty damp from their previous watering session.

I have placed both plants in bright indirect sunlight and will now keep an eye on what is left of the stems on the trial plant. I will be sure to keep you updated on how this experiment goes either way so that you all know if this can be done or not. I’m certainly intrigued to see which way this goes and hopefully, it won’t be too long a wait to see a transformation into a new beautiful plant…fingers are crossed.

The following next few months

So here’s the update after a few months, and it makes for quite a good read if I say so myself. The reviving quadricolor tradescantia.

Thank you for visiting Tradescantia Family UK
Cutting Back My Quadricolor Tradescantia To See What Happens

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