Variegated dragons tail callisia soconuscensis

Variegated dragon’s tail tradescantia and what went wrong from the beginning

Let me begin by saying that I am going to try everything possible to revive these little cuttings that I have got of the variegated dragon’s tail wandering jew house plant. I received it last week and thought potting it up straight away would be the best option. Most of the tradescantia I have got I have potted into soil straight away without feeling the need to propagate in water first.

There is one exception to this which is sillamontana. I have found that this little furry creature of an inch plant doesn’t seem to root as fast as other cultivars. So I have had to root him in water first before potting. But everything else has always been quite resilient and tradescantia are known for their quick rooting systems. However, it appears I may have found a second exception.

Variegated dragon's tail wandering jew house plant cutting
Variegated dragon’s tail wandering jew house plant cutting

When my little cuttings arrived, they were to be fair looking a little limp from their travels but this is nothing out of the ordinary. Sometimes transportation in tradescantia can leave unrooted cuttings looking a little sad. But once they’re potted up or in water they soon revive back to full health. So I thought this one would be no different.

Looking back I do remember propagating my standard dragon’s tail tradescantia in water first but this was because of the sheer amount of plants I had arriving at once. It seemed best for all of them to be placed in water until I could get around to them. And this was only for a day or two. But let’s get back to the job at hand.

Potting up into soil marked a disaster for the variegated dragon’s tail

Knowing that I had time on my hands when these little wonderful cuttings arrived I thought I’d get right onto potting them up in their special compost mix. After a quick water, I thought they’d be well on their way to thriving and growing happily in their new home for me to marvel over for years to come. But it appears they had different ideas.

I noticed after a few days that the lighter cutting of the two was looking a little faded and becoming even more limp. So I moved them away from the brighter light that I had placed them in to see if this is what was doing them harm. But now a few days on you can see that both are looking as sad as each other. And something had to change.

Variegated dragon's tail tradescantia looking limp from recent repotting
Variegated dragon’s tail tradescantia looking limp from recent re-potting

So from the image above it’s clear to see that I have some very unhappy cuttings. Both have faded in colour and the lighter of the two has gone almost transparent in places. So it’s time to pull them up and try water propagation.

What’s going on beneath the surface of the soil

Tradescantia variegated dragon's tail rooting system
Tradescantia variegated dragon’s tail rooting system

I’m not sure if you can tell by the photo but I’ll give you the low down. The variegated dragon’s tail cutting on the left has a small root system starting to form which is awesome news. The little paler cutting on the right, however, has started to rot at the base of the stem so we have some serious reviving to do here. I’m not entirely sure she’s going to make it but it’s time to get them both into water and see if that helps for a few weeks.

If you have any helpful notes then please let me know below. I’m always happy to learn and share ideas on the best way to move forward in these kinds of scenarios. And if it can help others in the future too then even better.

Rotted stem on variegated dragon's tail house plant cutting
The rotted stem on variegated dragon’s tail house plant cutting

Time to clean the roots, cut back the stem, and get some water going to help revive my variegated dragon’s tail tradescantia

I cleaned up the stems in loop warm water. This showed off more of the little root system that was beginning to take place on one cutting but also showed the rot on the other more so. After finding a jar and filling it with water I placed the healthier of the two cuttings into the water. Then with the second, I had to cut off the rotted stem and this left very little left to go into the water. It meant I had to remove another leaf from the plant itself but I have my fingers crossed that it might just bounce back.

Variegated dragon's tail inch plants propagating in water
Variegated dragon’s tail inch plants propagating in water

Looking at the photo again here now though I’m a little unsure if I’m being over-optimistic with the weaker of the stem cuttings surviving. It looks much smaller in person and fragile too. But then these plants do through us surprises so we’ll have to wait and see. I think for now this is the best I can do. And just hope that a miracle does happen. Of course, I’ll keep you posted and up to date too.

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Tradescantia Variegated Dragon’s Tail Dying

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