Why is My Wandering Jew Plant Leggy?

It’s a bit of a sting to see your normally thick and sprawling walking jew (Zebrina tradescantia) become sluggish. The result is that your plant will appear sluggish, spindly and ugly. Let’s find out the reason the wandering Jew is sagging and how to correct it.

Because of a lack of lighting due to a lack of light, a Wandering Jew’s growth can be unbalanced. Pruning and proper lighting should be utilized to rectify the growth that is leggy. Repotting your leggy-inch plants with a new growing medium and the right size pot will also aid in its growth. To keep your plant looking bushy you can pinch it every now and again.

What Does Leggy Wandering Jew Mean?

Leggy jews are usually an indication that something is not right with the growing conditions. It’s a clear indication the plant doesn’t get enough sunlight.

Healthy wandering Jews are believed to have a body that is full strong, and lush. It is a beautiful deep purple and dark green leaves that are large and lush. It is also perky.

It will develop sparsely, unevenly and leggy if it is not given adequate light.

The leaves are usually smaller, more scraggly, and hard to come by. The leaves are also marked by the long interodes.

The reason is that your jew’s wandering devotes the most of its energy seeking the light that is desperately needed.

The side that faces towards the source of light will become stretched and stretched, while other sides will exhibit little or any expansion.

Certain leaves that are shaded might also lose their beautiful purple hue. The stems could be slender, weak, and spindly when it tries to lean toward an light source.

wandering jew plant close up leaves

In the winter’s dark months, floppy or leggy growth is typical. This is the time of year when the days are shorter, and the evenings are longer.

It’s the same when you place your jew-walker in a dark corner , or in a room that has an obstruction window.

It is important to note that a jew who is leggy could also be a sign of excessive nitrogen due to fertilizer application.

It is typically due to the use of too much nitrogen fertilizer with high levels in the beginning of spring. Stress on the temperature and a small pot size could cause the same result.

Causes of Leggy Wandering Jew

[1] Lack of Light

The main reason for the leggy wandering Jew is inadequate or improper lighting. The weak, spindly and leggy growth is a typical issue for plants with low light and the jew that wanders is not an exception.

In order to efficiently perform photosynthesis the plant needs a adequate amount of light. Also it makes use of light to produce sugars and the energy it needs to expand.

If there’s a shortage of illumination, your jew enters the survival mode. In the end, it is likely to devote a significant part of its energy seeking out the illumination.

This is the reason why the internodes are lengthened so that the leaves can move close to light sources.

The leggy growth is the evident in winter months when the days of sunshine are cut short. It is also the time that your wandering Jew is in hibernation.

The plant’s issues with light levels don’t end there. It is also possible to supply your jew’s wandering the water that it needs.

Since it slows growth the loss and use of moisture is reduced. The mixing will take longer to dry.

Unfortunately you, the wandering Jew is not a fan of sitting in “wet feet.” Because roots rot is present below soil’s level, the lower and older leaves are likely to lose variegation and start to turn yellow.

If you find squishy, brown, or black roots, you need to act!

Other signs of a the jew who is lost in light are:

  • Stunted growth is usually observed from the side that is towards the source of light.
  • Leaning toward the source of light
  • The loss of variegation gives the leaves a washed or bleached appearance
  • The foliage is becoming yellow
  • Lower leaves are lost

(Source: North Carolina State University)

How to Fix

The most effective way to address this issue is to move the plant in a more bright spot. The wandering jew is a plant that thrives in both indirect and direct sunlight. However, direct sunlight can cause scorching and burn your plant.

[2] Wrong Pot Size

Also, wandering jews can be aggressive, particularly when they are properly fed and illuminated.

If the growth appears leggy and is with roots pushing into the bottom of the pot and overflow the pot.

The leggy growth of your plant indicates that it requires more assistance and resources. Be aware that if you let it to wander, the Jew could transform into an invasive plant.

A plant that is growing fast can rapidly deplete the resources of the medium of growth, leading to an appearance of leggy.

How to Fix

Planting your wandering jew each 18 to 36 months a great guideline.

You may want to consider switching to a bigger pot if you have outgrown the container it is currently in. It must be at least two inches larger than the one you currently have. It is best to do this in the springtime right before the growth increase.

[3] Excessive Fertilizer

Wandering jew plants, as the majority of plants that are native to tropical climates, can grow rapidly. They tend to slow down in winter months, and then increase again in the spring.

The problem is caused by feeding excessive fertilizer, especially nitrogen-rich fertilizers.

As spring begins to arrive your jew’s wandering will begin to grow rapidly. The head begins to grow. could lead to more green growth.

The growth of your plant’s leaves might not be able maintain the growth which can result in a sagging appearance.

Leggy growth is a problem due to excessive nitrogen-rich fertilizers is one of quality over quantity.

Instead of producing strong stems the plant will create long, spindly stems at a faster rate. This will not benefit the wandering Jew in the long run.

How to Fix

Despite its rapid growth, the wandering jew plant will not require a lot of fertilizer.

Every four to six weeks, an all-purpose, water-soluble fertilizer for houseplants (Check the most current cost at Amazon right here) will suffice. Be sure to dilute the fertilizer by half of the strength stated in the package.

[4] Temperature Stress

The high temperatures, as well as excessive fertilizer use, can stimulate your jew plant to develop quicker. This can lead to the development of spindly, long stems.

The growth of the foliage will take a lot of chance to keep up with the pace, which will result in a sloppy growth.

How to Fix

It is most likely to happen indoors in the event that central heating has been turned running at all the way. This means that it is recommended to move your plant away from fireplaces, radiators heaters, heating vents and heaters.

How to Fix Leggy Wandering Jew

How to Prune Wandering Jew

If you are a vigorous grower the jew plant may become too leggy If not controlled. It is essential to trim branches that are sagging. This will cause the plant to get bigger larger, fuller and wider.

Here’s how you can trim the wandering jew

  1. Make sure your pruning shears are cleaned and disinfected. Make sure they are soaked in kitchen disinfectant that is undiluted for about 5 minutes. You can also make yourself by mixing 1 part bleach and 9 parts of water.
  2. Begin by cutting off the most common most likely culprits. They include leaves that are discolored weak stems, leggy stems, as well as those with dead or yellowed leaves.
  3. Also, trim off or pinch thin, weak growths as well as dead leaves
  4. Remove flowers that are not being used to ensure that the energy is directed towards growth and seed production
  5. If you’d like to keep your wandering jews thick, broad, and compact, you might want to trim out the spindly long tendrils as well.
  6. If the stems are 6-8 inches, a drastic pruning is required. It is possible to trim the entire wandering jew plant by about 25 percent. This will give it an even more sturdy and lush appearance.
  7. Remove the materials that have been pruned at the base on the plants. They can be tucked away and dispose of them in a proper manner. You can also throw them into your compost.
  8. I like to get rid of the growths that are leggy and put them aside to be cut. This saves me a good amount of time when it comes to extending and propagating my collection.

Pinching Wandering Jew

The act of grabbing your jew plant’s wandering branches as you prune them can encourage branches. This will give them a larger smaller, compact, and more bushy appearance. The stems should be pushed back by at least one-quarter while doing this.

Each time you trim a stem the plant will likely grow 2 new branches. This growth reciprocation will give your jew’s wandering a complete appearance.

Can I Cut The Top Off My Wandering Jew?

It is okay to trim off the upper part of your jew who is wandering. It is fast growing and has larger, more beautiful leaves and sturdy stems.

When the stems are 6-8 inches long You must trim off at minimum 25. The stems can be used to help propagate the plant (more on this later).

Repotting Using Right Soil

In some cases, imbalances in nutrients can cause slow growth. It’s possible that the growth medium is not the right type or is no longer fertile or deficient in certain nutrients.

Therefore it is recommended to repot your jew who wanders around with the right mix of potting.

For your benefit, wandering jews aren’t too fussy about soil. They’ll do well in general-purpose commercial pot mix. But, the mix must be able to drain, since root rot can occur when the soil is wet.

You can consider adding equal parts of peat moss, sand vermiculite or perlite to increase drainage. It is also possible to add organic matter. My experience suggests substituting coco coir can be beneficial.

Using Suitable Pot Size

Due to their heavy growth Jew plants that wander around can be rooted-bound. This means that you have to swap out containers to make room for bigger pots.

Pick a pot that has about 1 centimeter in “breathing” space for your wandering jew’s roots when selecting the next pot.

It should be one inch or two larger than the container you used previously in general. It’s best to err in the direction of caution rather than end up with an unsuitable container for the plant you want to grow in.

The pot must be draining well. At a minimum there should be a drainage hole in the bottom.

Provide Enough Light

Your jew who wanders around should be sitting in the front of a window facing east whenever feasible. This will allow you to enjoy the gentle morning sun in this manner. Be sure to stay clear of the scorching, hot afternoon sun.

But, since winter days aren’t long and short, it is recommended to place it in an east-facing window to ensure that it will get sun all day.

Make sure that it’s at minimum a few feet of the windows. A sheer curtain could be used to shield your plants.

If the natural light isn’t enough for the winter months the next option is to put in the use of grow light.

LED lights are my choice since they’re energy efficient and provide brilliant light. Additionally, you can place your wandering Jew practically anywhere in your home!

Maintain Low Temperature Around Your Leggy Wandering Jew

Your jew plant’s wandering Jew will appreciate a warmer, but not too hot and humid environment. Keep temperatures between 65 and 75 degF (18-24degC). The heater should be kept from radiators, heated mats and any other source of warmth.


It is easy to propagate your wandering jew by using the stem cut obtained by fixing your leggy development. Here’s how:

  1. Make stem cuttings at least 1 inch in length. Each cut should contain at minimum 1 leaf (preferably two leaves). Cuts should lie placed just beneath the point of node.
  2. Place the cut with a new potting mix , cut-side down. It is possible to apply a rooting hormone on the cut area however it’s not required.
  3. Make sure to water the cuttings frequently
  4. The roots will begin to grow within a couple of weeks.
  5. Alternately, you can place the stem cut in the jar of water. Transplant when the roots begin to grow.
  6. Repot the seedling in an additional permanent pot when the roots are one 1 inch (3cm) length. A 2-inch pot that has drainage holes of 1 or more is the best choice.

Why Is My Wandering Jew Growing Straight Up?

The wandering jew may develop straight due to a variety of reasons.

  • Insufficient lighting is particularly the case when the space is not well-lit lighting fixtures that are placed on the ceiling the only option. The plant is expanding upwards to search for light.
  • Leggy upward growth can be caused by an excessive thirst
  • The humidity is low – You’ll probably notice this in winter, during the time that your HVAC system is in operation.


Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)