Close up of aphids on pringlei house plant

An overdue addition to the tradescantia family home

Last year I got myself a single cutting of the tinantia pringlei tradescantia and I don’t know what I have been doing wrong. She’s almost died a handful of times but managed to re-sprout from somewhere else, only to be unhappy and wilt again. This is her current state after over six months! It is just embarrassing to see her still single-stemmed, and unhappy.

Pringlei tradescantia wandering jew single stem rooted
Pringlei tradescantia cutting from last year

So as you can see I’ve struggled to keep her happy. She had plenty of water, then less water. Full sun and then part sun, and even full shade. She’s been potted and then re-potted. And I really don’t know how to get her to thrive. Therefore, I ordered myself an established whole plant of pringlei to see if I can keep one happy that has already had the best life possible to continue doing so. But I knew it was too good to be true!

Pringlei inch plant dry and wilting
Pringlei inch plant is still unhappy but with a new shoot coming through

Delivery of whole rooted pringlei inch plant

Now most of the plants and cuttings that I get are from Facebook or Etsy UK, and it’s never certain what condition they will arrive in. So I take the chance as we all do, and mostly they turn out perfectly healthy and ready to grow. But occasionally they just don’t.

When my new tinantia pringlei arrived I was over the moon. She looked at quick glance healthy and I had no reason for concern. I was away with work for a few days after her arrival, so I left her still in the packaging on my kitchen worktop so it would receive light while I was away. I thought this would be fine as it wasn’t too hot and it seemed well packaged.

Three days later I return home and am ready to pot her up when I notice something. Something bad that sent me into a wild panic for the rest of my house plants.

Green fly (aphids) making a city on my spiderwort

I saw them sitting there, and then I saw one or two moving and I knew it was green fly. I’m not talking just one or two that had started to grow, but an army of them making a city on the tinantia pringlei that I so desperately wanted to be ok. I picked up the parcel and took it as far away from my houseplants as possible… impossible in a house like mine. Then I began checking the rest of my kitchen plants for signs that the green fly had begun extending their empire.

Green fly on the tradescantia pringlei
Green fly on the tradescantia pringlei

With luck, I came across no other infestations and so turned my attention back to the package now sat at my front door. I didn’t even have time for too many photos, I just wanted to clear them out as quickly as possible.

Neem oil and the fight back

Neem oil is my little go-to for a lot of problems with house plants. I love it because it is organic and natural for plants. Therefore I know I am not putting chemicals on my plants that don’t need them. And bugs hate the stuff. It has an active ingredient that repels and kills bugs including aphids (greenflies), and reduces their ability to reproduce and feed.

Neem oil, natural and organic aphid bug killer for my tradescantia
Neem oil, natural and organic aphid bug killer for my tradescantia

So this was the perfect time to find my little bottle and get it on the pringlei as quickly as possible. But first thing was first, and that’s making the mixture up. As you can see I have used a fair bit of the oil in the past, but I’ve had this bottle of neem oil for years and years.

I get tepid warm water in a little tupperware and then add a teaspoon of washing-up liquid and about half a teaspoon of neem oil. I mix this into the water and then I’m all set to go.

Neem oil mix for killing off aphids
Neem oil mix for killing off aphids

With a cotton pad or bud, it’s time to get the plant soaked in this mixture. You need to make sure you cover the leaves on the top and underside, as well as the stems and I even pour a little of the mixture into the soil near the roots to make sure everything is covered. The solution will coat the leaves and you can gently wipe off any aphids while cleaning the house plant up too. It’s important to cover all surfaces as this gives you the best outcome for the complete removal of the green fly in question.

Now I know that tradescantia hate their leaves staying wet, so when I was finished with the cleanup, I left the plant in the patio doorway so the breeze could help dry the leaves off afterward.

Close up of green fly on the pringlei tradescantia ready to be cleaned off
Close up of green fly on the pringlei tradescantia ready to be cleaned off

Potted up pringlei to make easier to clean out of the packaging from the delivery
Potted up pringlei to make it easier to clean out of the packaging from the delivery

The end result from the neem oil treatment

It took me around 45 minutes to clean all the leaves and stems of the tinantia pringlei. And she looked a little sad afterward. It’s now been over twenty-four hours and she seems to be bouncing back a little.

Tinantia pringlei tradescantia potted and looking healthier
Tinantia pringlei tradescantia potted and looking healthier

I didn’t water it when I first potted it up because of the small watering of neem oil into the soil. But I will give it another day or two and then give her a good water to kick start the growth. Sometimes plants need a second treatment of neem oil solution to really clear out the bug infestation, but I’m hoping from being so thorough that the one will be enough for this tradescantia.

I will have to keep you updated on how she is doing, and if I am able to keep her happy. But in the meantime, if you have any tips to help out, then they’d be muchly appreciated to help her thrive in her new home.

Thank you for visiting Tradescantia Family UK
Tinantia Pringlei Tradescantia Aphid / Green Fly Ridden

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