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You’ve probably seen this pretty plant on your Instagram feed. Pink, white, and green stripes on large, lush leaves growing on thick, upright stems. Sometimes, it has cute little white and yellow flowers growing from pink buds.
It’s Tradescantia Nanouk, also known as Fantasy Venice or by its botanical name, Tradescantia albiflora ‘Nanouk’. This special kind of spiderwort was specifically designed to be colorful, attractive, and easy to grow—and it’s the new must-have specimen for the plant obsessed.
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. The plant was part of a program to create a more vigorous, hardy Tradescantia with showier blooms.
Best Growing Conditions for Your Tradescantia Nanouk
Tradescantia Nanouk prefers daytime temperatures up to 75 degrees, with night temperatures ideally in the mid-50s. When picking a spot for your plant, take care to keep it out of reach of pets, as the foliage is toxic to cats and dogs.
Keep your Tradescantia Nanouk in a place with bright, indirect light. While the plant can survive with less light, its colors and variegation will fade, and the plant may grow leggy and etiolated.
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 for drainage.
With the right conditions, your Tradescantia Nanouk will flower during the growing season (roughly spring through autumn). Its flowers are small, white or pink, and star-shaped.
How to Care for Your Tradescantia Nanouk
Water your Tradescantia Nanouk when the top inch or so of soil is dry, but take care not to let the plant completely dry out. 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.
Your Tradescantia Nanouk will grow best in a humid environment. This makes it a great plant to keep in a north-facing or east-facing bathroom window since the warmth and steam from your shower will keep the air moist. You can also create a humid environment for your plant by grouping it closely together with other humidity-loving plants, running a humidifier near the plant, or by putting a humidifying tray beneath your plant.
Simply fill a shallow tray with a layer of pebbles, add water to just below the top of the pebbles, and place the pot on top (take care to keep the bottom of the pot from touching the water). As the water evaporates, it will humidify the air around your plant.
When cutting back your Tradescantia Nanouk, save the stem cuttings and use them to propagate new plants.
Tradescantia Nanouk is such a hardy grower that it doesn’t require fertilizing. If you’d like to fertilize the plant, you can feed it with a standard houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength every other week during the spring and summer.
Since this plant is so vigorous, it’s a good idea to repot it once a year or so. Use a container one size larger than the previous pot and fill it with fresh potting soil. Pinching or cutting back your Tradescantia Nanouk will encourage it to grow fuller and bushier.
How to Propagate Your Tradescantia Nanouk
Like its fellow Tradescantia and Zebrina species, Tradescantia Nanouk is very easy to propagate from tip and stem cuttings. This process can also be done straight in soil or rooting medium, but propagating in water has the advantage of allowing you to see the root growth on the cuttings as it happens.
To propagate this plant in water, you’ll need a healthy mother plant, clean, sharp scissors or pruners, a small, clear glass or jar, and water.
Step 1: Select a few stems on the mother plant with a few sets of healthy leaves. These are the cuttings you’ll take to grow into new plants.
Step 2: With clean, sterilized pruners, make a diagonal cut on the stem near the base of the plant. Snip off the bottom one or two sets of leaves from the cutting, ensuring that there are still a few sets of leaves left.
Step 3: Fill the jar part way up with water, enough to cover the bottom leaf nodes (the spot where the leaves you just removed once were). Place the cuttings in the jar so that the leaf nodes are submerged.
Step 4: Place the cuttings in a warm spot with bright, indirect light but out of direct sunlight. Over the next few weeks, you should see roots growing from the submerged leaf nodes. Monitor the water level of the jars and add more as necessary.
Step 5: When the roots are at least two inches long, the cuttings are ready to pot up. 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.