Live to Plant

Creeping Jew Plant Roots and Stems:
an In-depth Look

Updated: July 13, 2022


The Creeping Jew plant, also known as Tradescantia zebrina, is a popular houseplant due to its ease of care and attractive appearance. However, many people are unaware of the fascinating structure of its roots and stems. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the anatomy of the Creeping Jew plant’s roots and stems.


The Creeping Jew plant has a shallow root system that can spread quickly, making it an excellent groundcover. The roots are thin and fibrous, growing close to the surface of the soil. They are usually white or light brown in color.

One interesting feature of the Creeping Jew plant’s roots is their ability to store water. This is because the plant is native to tropical regions where rainfall can be unpredictable. The roots absorb water when it is available and store it for later use during dry periods.

Another unique characteristic of the Creeping Jew plant’s roots is their ability to form adventitious roots. These are roots that grow from stems or leaves instead of from the main root system. Adventitious roots help the plant anchor itself to surfaces such as walls or trees.


The stems of the Creeping Jew plant are thin and wiry, with a zigzag shape. They can grow up to two feet long and produce small, triangular leaves that are green on top and purple underneath. The stems are typically green in color but can also be purple or silver depending on the variety.

One interesting feature of the Creeping Jew plant’s stems is their ability to produce nodes. Nodes are points on the stem where leaves, branches, or roots can grow. This allows the plant to grow horizontally along a surface rather than just vertically.

Another unique characteristic of the Creeping Jew plant’s stems is their ability to produce a hormone called auxin. Auxin is responsible for many aspects of plant growth and development, including the formation of roots and shoots. In the Creeping Jew plant, auxin helps the stems grow in a zigzag pattern and encourages the formation of adventitious roots.


How often should I water my Creeping Jew plant?

The Creeping Jew plant prefers moist soil but can tolerate periods of dryness. Water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

How often should I fertilize my Creeping Jew plant?

Fertilize your Creeping Jew plant once a month during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced fertilizer.

Can I propagate my Creeping Jew plant from cuttings?

Yes, the Creeping Jew plant is easy to propagate from stem cuttings. Simply cut a stem that is at least four inches long and has several leaves, remove the lower leaves, and place the cutting in water or soil. The cutting should start to root within a few weeks.

Is the Creeping Jew plant poisonous?

The Creeping Jew plant is considered mildly toxic to humans and pets. It can cause skin irritation and gastrointestinal upset if ingested. Keep the plant out of reach of children and pets.


The Creeping Jew plant’s roots and stems are fascinating structures that contribute to its unique appearance and ease of care. Understanding how these structures function can help you care for your plant more effectively and appreciate its beauty even more.