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The Tradescantia Nanouk is an absolutely gorgeous plant known for its bright green, purple/pink, fuzzy-ish leaves. I’ve been caring for one for about six months now, and I’ve seen them grow a lot in popularity in general. Today we’ll discuss Tradescantia Nanouk care and propagation for anyone who owns this cool plant or wants to add one to their collection.
While different types of Tradescantia are native to parts of North, Central, and South America, the Nanouk is actually a cultivar developed in the Netherlands. The Nanouk is a patented plant, a product of a breeding program intended to “create new compact Tradescantia plants with attractive flower coloration and good performance.”
The Nanouk has amazing bright green and purple/pink, slightly fuzzy leaves. Little pinkish-white flowers can also appear. They can be grown both indoors and outdoors, but today I’ll be talking about them as a houseplant.
You might find some listings online describing them as “rare.” Perhaps they’re harder to find in some areas, but I’ve actually seen them around a lot. In general, be careful when people describe plants as rare. I’m not saying this is always the case, but sometimes sellers use that tactic to drive up the prices of their plants.
Where Can I Find a Tradescantia Nanouk?
Normally, I recommend some of my favorite online plant shops along with checking your local garden center. However, while I did say that I wouldn’t classify these plants as rare, they’re not as common as other Tradescantias and I think your best bet for finding one at a reasonable price would be on Etsy.
There are some available on Amazon, but just be careful. As I type this I’m seeing a couple of listings for crazy prices (50-60 dollars). Bottom line: just please don’t spend all of your hard-earned money buying a plant listed as “rare” unless it’s something you really want and are comfortable with.
How do you care for a Tradescantia Nanouk?
Bright, indirect light is best for the Tradescantia Nanouk, however, I am growing mine in low light. With lower light, the bright colors will also fade a little, so keep that in mind. For a helpful guide on understanding the natural light in your home, check out my recent post on this!
Why is my Tradescantia leggy?
On the topic of light, a common reason for leggy plants is lack of light. You can see the significant difference between the first and second picture in this post (which was when I first got it and what it looks like now). When I first got my plant it was super compact and now it’s leggy. If you don’t like this look, try adding more light. I recently moved mine under a grow light and it’s doing a little better. If you need help choosing a grow light, take a lot at my post for more information on understanding grow lights and recommendations for the best grow lights.
You can also pinch off the leggy growth to encourage new growth, or stick the cuttings right back into the pot and allow them to root. See my pruning section further down for directions on how to pinch your plant.
Regardless, understand that Tradescantias have a tendency to grow leggy anyway and will definitely continue to grow this way with a lack of adequate light. If you’re interested in the Nanouk but you have low light, I’d still definitely give this a try. Just have realistic expectations!
I’m sure some people disagree, but I personally like the look of a more wonky, twisty Tradescantia Nanouk that happens with leggy growth, so I rarely cut mine back. Note to all new plant parents: It’s OK if your plant doesn’t look like a perfect, “Instagram-worthy” plant. As long as it’s healthy overall and you’re happy with it, that’s what matters!
Tradescantia Nanouk does well with average watering, but keep in mind they don’t like to completely dry out. Water about once a week or so, or when the top inch of the soil is dry. Be careful not to overwater them. I’m more conservative with mine since I have it in low light.
Try not to get water in the crevices of the leaves either, which can cause rot. Since the leaves of this plant are more rigid, this can happen a lot. Just take a tissue or paper towel and gently dab out the crevices. My post on when and how to water your plants has other helpful watering tips for you.
Extra humidity is very helpful to the Tradescantia Nanouk. It’s easy to create humidity for your houseplants. Check out my post on this for easy methods!
This plant doesn’t need to be fertilized to grow successfully, and I haven’t fertilized mine, but maybe next year I’ll try. If you’d like to fertilize yours, you can use a general indoor plant fertilizer diluted by half its strength. Fertilize every two to four weeks in the spring and summer.
In the right conditions, this plant can grow pretty fast. It will most likely need to be repotted once a year in a pot that’s the next size up from its current pot. Always make sure your pot has a drainage hole.
As mentioned earlier, if your plant is growing leggy, you can pinch it back regularly to encourage bushier and fuller growth. You can “pinch” a plant by literally pinching, or using clean plant shears, to cut off a stem right above a leaf node. This directs the plant to grow new stems from that node.
And, as with any plant, remove any dead or dying leaves once they are able to be gently plucked away from your plant.
Tradescantia Nanouk Propagation
Tradescantia Nanouk propagation is pretty easy! Use a pair of clean plant shears to cut below a node on a stem that has a few leaves. Remove any of the lower-most leaves to leave a few inches of bare stem. Place the cutting in a jar of tepid water so that at least one node—or a few if possible—is below the surface.
Put the jar somewhere that receives bright, indirect light. After about a week you should see tiny roots sprouting. Replace the water once a week or so, when it looks like it’s getting grimy, and top it off when the water level gets lower. Within a few weeks, your cutting should be ready to transfer into its permanent pot.
Is Tradescantia Nanouk Toxic to Cats and Dogs?
Yes, Tradescantias are toxic to cats and dogs, so keep them out of your furry friends’ reach.
How fast does Tradescantia Nanouk grow?
I have heard some people say that this plant grows so fast you might need to repot it multiple times in one year. These plants are definitely fast growers, but you probably won’t need to repot yours so often unless you have it in absolutely perfect growing conditions and you’re fertilizing it regularly.