How to Care for Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) Indoors

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Chain Plant, Tradescantia navicularis

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

Chain Plant Description

Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) also called Widow's Tears or Day Flower has two type of stems which exhibit different growth habits where 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 called 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'.

Buy beautiful and healthy Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) from Etsy.

Chain Plant, Tradescantia navicularis

Photo Credit: World of Succulents

Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) Care Indoors

Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) grows best under bright, indirect light and consistently moist soil. It has no need for high humidity and it prefers warm room temperatures.

The best soil for growing Chain Plant is free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Read on for more on the best growing conditions for Chain Plant.

Chain Plant Light Requirements

Chain Plant grows best in bright, indirect light. It can also grow under a grow light if you do not have adequate light in your home.

Keep your Chain Plant away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves. Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to water Chain Plant

Water Chain Plant thoroughly during the growing season and maintain the soil moist at all times. Reduce watering your Chain Plant during the cold weather to keep the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal. Read more on how to water houseplants.

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


Temperature for Chain Plant

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

Protect the plant from draughts as they can cause leaf drop. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Chain Plant

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

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

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Chain Plant

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

Withhold feeding for your Chain Plant during the cold season as the growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to repot Chain Plant

Repot Chain Plant during the growing season only when the plant has become pot-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 as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of your plant.

Soil for Chain Plant

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

Mostcactus and succulents potting mixes are ideal for Chain Plant. Buy quality cactus and succulents soil for your Chain Plant from Etsy.

How to Prune Chain Plant

Pruning your Chain Plant involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain the plant neat and tidy.

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

Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) 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 your 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 out your Chain Plant from 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 Chain Plant section.

Place the Chain Plant 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 plant is well established after which you can begin routine care.

How to propagate Chain Plant from stem cuttings

Chain Plant 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 Chain Plant cuttings to prevent rotting.

Fill your 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 Chain Plant cutting. Carefully insert the Chain Plant 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

Photo Credit: World of Succulents

Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) Problems Indoors

Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) problems indoors are caused by cultural faults like improper watering, improper feeding and inadequate light. Read on for remedies and solutions to these problems.

Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) loss of leaf color

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

Move the Chain Plant to a brighter spot, as it grows best in bright, indirect light but away from direct sunshine or instal a grow light if you do not have adequate light in your home. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) dropping leaves

Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) will readily drop its leaves if the light is inadequate (too little).

Ensure to place your Chain Plant in a brightly lit place while protecting it from direct hot sunshine to avoid scorching of the leaves or instal a grow light if you do not have adequate light in your home.

Chain Plant leggy growth (elongated stems)

There are three possible causes of leggy growth in Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis). One possible cause of leggy growth in your Chain Plant is too little light.

Move the plant to a brighter spot as it needs bright, indirect light to thrive or instal a grow light if you do not have adequate light in your home.

The second cause of leggy growth in your Chain 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 plant thoroughly to maintain the soil moist at all times during the growing season. Reduce watering in the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

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

Chain Plant limp stems, yellow leaves

Limp stems and yellow leaves in Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) are due to underwatering.

Water the plant thoroughly to maintain the soil moist at all times during the growing season. Reduce watering in the cold season and never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) dying

Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) dying is caused by root-rot disease which is brought about by soggy soil.

Ensure that the soil is free-draining and that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy. Also, reduce watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and thus the plant does not require a lot of water.

Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) diseases

Common diseases in Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) are root-rot disease and leaf spot. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat the plant appropriately for the disease.

Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) pests

Common pests in Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) are Mealy Bugs, Aphids and Scale Insects. Isolate the affected plant and treat appropriately. Mist the leaves regularly to reduce infestation by these pests.

Is Chain Plant (Tradescantia navicularis) toxic?

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

If Chain Plant is 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 Chain Plant.

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