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You’ve probably spotted this trendy plant on your Instagram feed. Tradescantia Nanouk (Tradescantia albiflora ‘Nanouk’), also known as Fantasy Venice, is a special type of spiderwort plant that’s become a must-have for plant lovers. Pink, white, purple, and green stripes pattern its lush leaves on upright stems. Under the right conditions, it can grow as a long trailing ivy, and you’ll even find small white and yellow flowers emerging from its pink buds during the growing season.
This plant was specifically designed to be colorful, attractive, and easy to grow. Unlike other plants in the Tradescantia and Zebrina genera, Tradescantia Nanouk is unique in that it’s a patented plant, developed in the Netherlands in 2012. It originated in a program aiming to create a more vigorous, hardy Tradescantia with showier blooms.
- Botanical Name: Tradescantia albiflora ‘Nanouk’
- Common Name: Tradescantia Nanouk, Fantasy Venice
- Plant Type: Perennial, trailing vine
- Mature Size: 3–6 inches high, 12–24 inches long (trailing)
- Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
- Soil Type: Well-draining potting mix, optional vermiculite or peat moss
- Soil pH: 5.0–6.5
- Toxicity: Toxic to cats and dogs
Tradescantia Nanouk grows best in bright, indirect light, so a north- or east-facing window is best. Water your plant when the top inch or so of soil is dry, and take care not to let it completely dry out. North-facing windows will provide less light, so your plant will need less water there than in an east-facing window.
Because Tradescantia Nanouk thrives in a humid environment, it’s a great plant to keep in a bathroom window since the steam from your shower or tub will keep the air moist. You can also create a humid environment by grouping your Tradescantia Nanouk closely with other humidity-loving plants and running a humidifier nearby.
Another option is to create a humidifying tray beneath your plant by placing its pot atop pebbles with added water; take care to keep the bottom of the pot from touching the water. As the water evaporates, it’ll humidify the air around your plant.
Tradescantia Nanouk is such a hardy grower that it doesn’t require fertilizing. If you’d like to fertilize your plant, feed it with a standard houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength every two to four weeks during the spring and summer growing seasons.
Since this species is so vigorous, it’s a good idea to repot your plant once a year or so. Use a container one size larger than the previous pot, and fill it with fresh potting soil. Pinching new growth or cutting back your Tradescantia Nanouk will encourage it to grow fuller and bushier.
When cutting back your Tradescantia Nanouk, save the stem cuttings, and use them to propagate new plants.
Best Growing Conditions for Tradescantia Nanouk
Tradescantia Nanouk grows well in daytime temperatures up to 75 degrees, with night temperatures ideally in the mid-50s.
Use a standard, well-draining houseplant soil when potting your Tradescantia Nanouk. To enhance drainage, it’s a good idea to add a few handfuls of perlite, orchid bark, or coarse sand to the mix. Be sure to use a pot or container with a hole in the bottom and a drainage tray to protect household surfaces.
Under the right conditions, your Tradescantia Nanouk will flower during the growing season (roughly spring through autumn). Its flowers are small and star-shaped and typically have white, yellow, and pink accents.
Tradescantia Nanouk Varieties
The Tradescantia and Zebrina genera include many different variants similar to the Tradescantia Nanouk. Perhaps the most common is the wandering Jew (T. zebrina), a spiderwort often grown indoors and in gardens. Another popular variation is the inchplant (T. cerinthoidebs), earning its name for its tendency to ‘‘inch along’’ as it grows along the ground or trails downward from a hanging planter.
The boat lily (T. spathacea) features similar colors to Tradescantia Nanouk but grows in long pointed leaves from an upward bunch rather than along vine-like stems. Even T. sillamontana, known as cobweb spiderwort and bearing little resemblance to its relatives in the genus, is part of the same family. But, with its fuzzy geometric-shaped leaves and bright purple flowers, you may not recognize it as being related at first glance.
T. fluminensis—sometimes called small-leaf spiderwort and commonly grown indoors or as a ground cover—may be the most similar in appearance to Tradescantia Nanouk. This trailing variant bears the same pink, white, and green colors but typically has white flowers and more prominent green areas on its leaves.
How to Propagate Tradescantia Nanouk
Like its fellow Tradescantia and Zebrina species, Tradescantia Nanouk is very easy to propagate from tip and stem cuttings. Propagating in soil works well, but starting cuttings in water allows you to monitor root growth.
Step 1: Select stems on the mother plant with a few sets of healthy leaves. These cuttings are ideal to grow healthy new plants.
Step 2: With clean, sterilized pruners, make a diagonal cut on the stem near the plant’s base. Snip off the bottom leaves from the cutting, ensuring a few sets of leaves remain.
Step 3: Fill a few jars halfway with water. Place the cuttings in separate jars, and fill them with water just below the leaves. To propagate with soil, simply use a small pot with soil in place of water during this step.
Step 4: Place the cuttings in a warm spot with bright, indirect light but out of direct sunlight. Over the next few weeks, roots should grow from the submerged leaf nodes. Add more water as necessary.
Step 5: When the roots are at least two inches long, the cuttings are ready to plant. To create a full-looking adult plant, fill a pot with soil, and plant four cuttings around the edge of the pot, with a fifth cutting in the center.
Step 6: Care for your new Tradescantia Nanouk as usual.
Common Growing Problems
Although Tradescantia Nanouk was bred to be an easy-growing plant, it’s prone to common growing problems like root rot and loss of leaf color. It’s ideal to water the soil directly so that you avoid getting the area between the leaves wet, which can cause the plant to rot. Be consistent with waterings, ensuring the soil stays moist and doesn't ever become completely dry.
Choose a place with bright, indirect light. Leggy Tradescantia Nanouk plants are likely not receiving enough sun. If your plant is in a north-facing window, try switching it to the east side of your house. A sunny bathroom window is usually a great place to bring unhappy plants back to their lush, healthy state. While this plant can survive with less light, its colors and variegation will fade, and it may grow pale as leaves droop.