Tradescantia navicularis (Chain Plant) Indoor Care, Propagation and Problems with Solutions


Chain Plant, Tradescantia navicularis

Botanical name: Tradescantia navicularis
synonm: Callisia navicularis
Family: Commelinaceae
Common names: Chain Plant, Widow's Tears Plant, Day Flower

Description

Tradescantia navicularis commonly called Chain Plant, Widow's Tears Plant or Day Flower has two types of stems which exhibit different growth habits.

Some stems are short, grow upright and bear tight overlapping leaves while others spread along the ground and bear more open leaves.

Tradescantia navicularis also referred to as Callisia navicularis bears fleshy stems which are tightly clasped by thick waxy lance-shaped leaves. The leaves are bronze-green with purple streaked undersides.

Bright pink flowers arise from the spreading stems. The flowers open in the morning and close in late afternoon, lasting only one day and hence the common, 'Day Flower'.

Toxicity

Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) is mildly toxic to humans and pets.

If ingested, the plant sap can cause burning in the mouth, tongue and throat. The sap may also cause skin irritation in sensitive skin; always wear gloves when handling the Window's Tears.

Where to Buy

Chain Plant is readily available online at Etsy. Buy Chain Plant from Etsy.

Chain Plant, Tradescantia navicularis

Tradescantia navicularis Care Indoors

Tradescantia navicularis (Chain Plant) prefers bright, indirect light, average warmth away from drafts and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with fortnightly feeding during the growing season. It has no need for high humidity.

Tradescantia navicularis requires repotting only when extremely pot-bound as it grows best when slightly root-bound.

Regular pruning is needed to keep it neat, to reduce pest and disease infestations, to encourage a bushy growth and to rejuvenate growth. Read on for more on the best growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Watering

Water Chain Plant thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to maintain the soil moderately moist.

Lessen watering during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Ascertain that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease and death of the plant.

Light Requirements

Chain Plant grows best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves.

Regularly rotate the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for even growth.

Instal grow lights where the natural lighting is not adequate to promote healthy growth and prevent leggy growth.

Temperature and Humidity

Average warmth with a minimum 130C is ideal for Chain Plant. A room temperature that is comfortable for you is ideal for this plant.

Keep the Widow's Tears Plant away from drafts as they can cause leaf drop and reduced growth.

Chain Plant has no need for high humidity. Moderate (average) air humidity is ideal for this plant.

However, if the indoor temperatures are too high, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Fertilizer

Feed Chain Plant with a balanced, liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks during the growing period for a lush growth.

Do not feed the Day Flower during the cold season as the growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn.

Repotting

Repot Chain Plant during the growing season only when the plant has become extremely pot-bound as it grows best when slightly root-bound.

Use a pot one size larger than the current one and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy to prevent infestation by root-rot disease.

Potting Mix

The best potting mix for Chain Plant should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Most cactus and succulents potting mixes like these quality cactus and succulents mix available on Etsy are ideal for Tradescantia navicularis.

Pruning

Pruning Chain Plant involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain the plant neat and tidy as well as minimize pest and disease infestations.

To control the growth and encourage bushyness, pinch the growing tips. Cut back leggy stems at the beginning of the growing season to rejuvenate growth.

Propagation

Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) can be propagated during the growing period by plant divison or from stem-cuttings.

How to propagate Chain Plant by plant division

Water the Chain Plant thoroughly at least 1 day before to make it easier to divide and also hasten establishment. A well hydrated plant suffers less shock and takes a shorter time to take root.

Take the plant out of its pot and carefully divide it into sections. Ensure each sections has adequate roots and at least one set of leaves.

Select a 6 or 8 in. pot and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.

Fill the pot with cactus and succulents soil and make a hole in the center of the pot. Ensure that the hole is slightly wider than the root base of the section.

Place the section in the previously made hole and lightly firm the soil around the base while taking care not to bury it too deep; maintain the section at the same soil level it was in the previous pot.

Water the soil thoroughly and place the set up in a well-lit, warm place until the new Day Flower is well established after which you can begin routine care.

How to propagate Chain Plant from stem cuttings

The stem cuttings root easily so there is no need for rooting hormone. Take a stem cutting from a healthy Chain Plant of about 4-6 in. and ensure it bears at least two sets of leaves.

Allow some time for the formation of a protective callus tissue over the cuts of the cuttings to prevent rotting.

Fill a rooting container with cactus and succulents soil to a depth of about 4 in. Lightly moisten the soil.

With a pencil or similar object make a hole that is wider than the diameter of the cutting. Carefully insert the cutting in the hole made previously to a depth of about 3 in.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist through out until new growth emerges.

Allow the new Chain Plant to be well established before transplanting to individual pots after which you can begin routine care.

Chain Plant, Tradescantia navicularis

Tradescantia navicularis Problems

Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) growing problems include plant death, yellow leaves, leaf drop, leggy growth, loss of leaf color, shrivelled leaf tips, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.

Dropping leaves

Chain Plant will readily drop its leaves if the light is inadequate (too little) as it grows best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight.

Ensure to place the Window's Tears Plant in a brightly lit place while protecting it from direct hot sunshine to avoid scorching of the leaves or instal a grow light where the natural light is not sufficient for the plant.

Leggy growth (elongated stems)

There are three possible causes of leggy growth in Chain Plant. One possible cause of leggy growth is too little light.

Move the Day Flower to a brighter spot where it will receive bright, indirect light or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate.

The second cause of leggy growth in Window's Tears Plant is underwatering resulting too little moisture in the soil and thus the plant does not get enough water and nutrients necessary for growth.

Water the Tradescantia navicularis thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to maintain the soil moderately moist.

Reduce watering in the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

The third cause of leggy growth in Chain Plant is inadequate feeding (underfeeding). Feed it every 2 weeks with a balanced, liquid fertilizer to promote healthy growth.

Loss of leaf color

Loss of leaf color in Chain Plant is caused by inadequate light (too little light).

Move the Day Flower to a brighter spot as it grows best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunshine or instal a grow light if there isn't adequate light in the home.

Limp stems, yellow leaves

Limp stems and yellow leaves in Chain Plant are due to underwatering resulting in too little moisture in the soil.

As such there is not enough water in the soil for the plant to take up. The stems become limp and the leaves begin to die.

Water the Window's Tears Plant thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to maintain the soil moderately moist.

Cut down on watering in the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Plant dying

Chain Plant dying is caused by root-rot disease which is brought about by soggy soil due to poor drainage.

Make sure that the soil is free-draining and that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

Also, decrease watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time, therefore, the plant does not require a lot of water for growth. Read more on how to treat root-rot in houseplants.

Diseases

The other ccommon disease in Chain Plant is leaf spot disease. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat the plant appropriately for the disease. Read more on how to treat leaf spot in houseplants.

Pests

Common pests in Chain Plant are Aphids, Mealy Bugs and Scale Insects. Isolate the affected plant and treat appropriately. Read on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.

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