Wandering Jew plants are unique plants among the creeping plant species. While growing and caring for this plant is relatively easy, making it look how you want can be challeginging, especially if you want it to be full and bushy.
Here’s how to make a wandering Jew more bushy:
- Pinch off the stems.
- Take cuttings and put them in the same container.
- Give the plant more sunlight.
- Repot the plant.
- Remove dried-out or discolored leaves.
- Avoid overwatering.
- Fertilize the plant properly.
The rest of this article will go over how you can make your wandering Jew plant bushier in greater detail.
1. Pinch off the Stems
One of the best features of the wandering Jew plant is its fast-growing nature. However, with fast growth comes long tendrils and, frequently, legginess. Leggy plants tend to be less bushy, which isn’t what most prefer out of their wandering Jew.
A great way to make a wandering Jew bushier is to pinch off the stems—or, in other words, prune the plant. As wandering Jews tend to trail, pinching off the long tendrils to a more manageable size will produce a bushier look.
When you prune a stem, it will likely produce two or more new stems. Pinching the stems will encourage more growth in your plant, which will also contribute to making it bushier.
Simply pinch off the leggy stems just below a leaf node to promote more growth.
What To Do With the Pinched-Off Stems
After you prune your wandering Jew, you’ll have some cuttings left over, but don’t throw them away! You can use these cuttings to create more wandering Jew plants.
Here are a few ideas of what to do with your pinched-off stems:
- Give the cuttings away to a friend. If you have other plant-lover friends, you could gift them your cuttings so they can grow their own wandering Jews. Who doesn’t love a free plant?
- Grow more wandering Jew plants yourself. Creating more wandering Jews from cuttings will allow you to grow your plant collection.
- Add the cuttings to your compost. If you don’t need any more plants or don’t have plant-loving friends, adding the wandering Jew to your compost gives the pinched-off stems some purpose.
2. Take Cuttings and Put Them in the Same Container
Another way to make your wandering Jew bushier is to pinch the stems and add them back into the same container.
You can pinch off or prune the plant and propagate it in water beforehand. Wandering Jews propagate wonderfully in water and can even live in water for a long time.
However, if you go with this method, it’s essential to ensure that the wandering Jew plant is healthy and the cutting taken from the plant is also healthy. Adding a diseased or dying plant cutting back to the same container won’t give your plant the bushy look you crave. In fact, it could harm the plant instead.
If you decide to use this method, I recommend regularly pinching the plant to promote new growth. Planting new cuttings and pinching leggy stems will result in a full, bushy plant.
How To Propagate a Wandering Jew in Water
Propagating a wandering Jew plant in water is easy. If you want to add another cutting to your plant’s pot to make it bushier, this method will give you new plants in no time.
To propagate a wandering Jew in water, follow these steps:
- Take a cutting from an existing plant. Ensure the cutting is healthy and the leaves aren’t dried or discolored.
- Fill a container with water. The container size doesn’t matter, as you’re only using it until the cutting begins to root.
- Place the cutting in the water. No leaves should be left in the water, as they can rot.
- Wait 1-2 weeks. Wandering Jew cuttings will typically begin to root in water within a week.
- Once the roots are a few inches long, move them to the soil. Plant the cutting with its roots in the soil together with the existing wandering Jew and let it grow!
3. Give the Plant More Sunlight
One of the main reasons for a wandering Jew plant to be leggy is insufficient sunlight. A leggy plant isn’t always a bad thing, as vine-like plants only show that the plant is continuing to grow. However, if a plant is leggy due to lack of sunlight, then it’s a problem.
If your wandering Jew looks weak, limp, and the leaves are losing their color, it probably needs more light. Wandering Jews are supposed to be thick-stemmed. If the stems are short but they’re still leggy, you know you have a more severe problem.
Your wandering Jew needs adequate light to grow, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. Although wandering Jews prefer bright, indirect light, they can stand a few hours a day of direct sunlight.
Unfortunately, giving your wandering Jew the proper sunlight can be tedious, as they’re relatively picky. However, they still grow well even with a bit of neglect!
Do Wandering Jew Plants Like Sun or Shade?
Wandering Jew plants like the shade. While they can still grow in direct light, direct light can burn their leaves. Indirect sunlight or deep shade is ideal for them to grow properly.
Since wandering Jews do best in the shade, many people prefer to have them as houseplants, as finding the perfect shady area outdoors can be a bit tricky.
4. Repot the Plant
Repotting your wandering Jew plant in a bigger pot and better soil can do wonders. If you want your plant to be bushier, it might need more room to grow or better quality soil.
Although wandering Jews like to be root bound, which means they don’t need repotting often or even at all. However, repotting can make a difference in the overall look of the plant. If your wandering Jew is currently in a small pot, putting it in a bigger pot will give it more room to grow.
I recommend potting a wandering Jew in a pot that’s at least 10-12 inches (25-30 cm) wide. This will give it enough room to branch out for a bushier look without letting it grow to the point where it becomes unmanageable.
Giving your wandering Jew suitable soil is also important. A standard houseplant potting mix, such as the Miracle-Gro Houseplant Potting Mix from Amazon.com, will work fine. This mix is recommended for wandering Jews in particular, as it contains all of the essential nutrients that will allow it to thrive into a bushier plant.
5. Remove Dried Out or Discolored Leaves
Dried out or discolored leaves aren’t doing your wandering Jew plant any favors. While you might want your plant to be bushier, these leaves only take up space where other, healthier leaves could grow. Pinching these leaves off is essential.
By removing unhealthy leaves, you’re giving the plant space to branch out more, which will make the plant bushier. Additionally, removing discolored or dried-out leaves will significantly improve the plant’s appearance.
6. Avoid Overwatering
As with sunlight, wandering Jews can be picky when it comes to watering. It’s easy for the soil to become waterlogged, and waterlogged soil can quickly cause root and stem rot.
Overwatered wandering Jews can result in a leggy, non-bushy appearance. It’s best to only water them when the soil is partially dry.
A good rule of thumb is to water your wandering Jew plant thoroughly and allow the top 3 inches (7.6 cm) to dry before watering it again. If you’re not sure, stick your finger into the soil. If the soil feels dry, water it. If it’s still moist, there’s no need for watering yet.
7. Fertilize the Plant Properly
Although wandering Jews don’t necessarily need to be fertilized, they can benefit from it, especially if you’re trying to make it more bushy.
Fertilization during the growing seasons (spring and summer) can promote new growth. If you try fertilizing in the fall or winter, you’ll notice that the new growth is weak and leggy, which is the opposite of what you need if you want a bushier plant.
You can give your plant fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season. The best fertilizer for a wandering Jew is 10-10-10 fertilizer. I recommend The Andersons PGF Balanced 10-10-10 Fertilizer from Amazon.com. It’s a professional-grade fertilizer that will immediately give your plant the nutrients it needs.
However, if your plant seems to be doing well and you just want it to be bushier, I recommend using other methods, such as pruning, before adding fertilizer. Too much fertilizer can harm the plant, so be cautious.
Wandering Jews are beautiful to look at and easy to care for. While some wandering Jews are long and vine-y, others are short and bushy. If you want a short and bushy wandering Jew plant, it will need a bit more care.
The best way to make a wandering Jew bushier is to pinch the stems to promote more growth. Making sure your plant gets the right amount of sunlight and water, is in the correct pot, and is appropriately fertilized will also help.