Tradescantia Nanouk Care Guide & Growing Tips

tradescantia nanouk

Tradescantia Nanouk (also known as Fantasy Venice, Spiderwort Nanouk, Tradescantia albiflora ‘Nanouk) makes a unique and gorgeous addition to any home. 

The Nanouk is an easy-to-grow houseplant with green, pink/purple, and white stripes on large, lush leaves. When given proper care, this plant will produce cute white and yellow flowers from pink buds. 

Pronounced (trad-es-KAN-tee-uh NAN-uhk)

A grower created the Pink Tradescantia Nanouk in Norway specifically to be a vibrant and easy to grow indoor plant. Nanouk is a patented plant that was explicitly designed to be colorful, attractive, and easy to grow.

So, how do you care for a Tradescantia Nanouk?

Tradescantia Nanouk Care

Here are the basic steps to caring for your Pink Tradescantia, which we will go over in much more detail in this article.

  • Soil: Well draining potting soil
  • Pot: Grows quickly, repot often, pot with good drainage
  • Light: Bright, indirect sunlight
  • Water: When you Nanouk when the top inch of the soil is dry.
  • Humidity: Prefers humidity but does OK without. Normal household temperatures are fine.
  • Pruning: No pruning is necessary except to remove any old or damaged leaves.


The best soil for Nanouk is a well-draining houseplant soil mixed with coarse sand, orchid bark, or perlite.

Use a balanced houseplant fertilizer.

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Because the Tradescantia Nanouk is a trailing plant, it will look great in a hanging pot or a small pot on a shelf or table where it can trail—trailing means that this plant grows horizontally (out), not vertically (up). Use a pot with adequate drainage holes that won’t collect excess water.

Does Tradescantia Nanouk like to be root bound? No. It would be best if you repotted your Nanouk when it is root-bound.

One of the signs that you need to repot your plant is if the roots circle the bottom of the pot or grow out of the drainage holes.

To check the roots, gently lift your plant out of the pot.  If the whole root ball and the soil lift out together, your plant probably has more roots than soil – indicating that it is time for a bigger pot.

When it is time to repot your Tradescantia Pink Nanouk, you will want to choose a pot that is at least double the size of the root ball.

tradescantia nanouk in pot
Tradescantia Nanouk in
A Cute Pot

How to Repot Tradescantia Nanouk

Nanouk is a fast grower! You will likely need to repot it multiple times during the growing season. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Water your plant the day before you plan to repot. Watering minimizes stress.
  2. Remove your plant from its container and remove all soil from the roots.
  3. Fill your new pot halfway with potting mix and any extras you want to add, such as perlite.
  4. Put the plant in the new pot.
  5. Fill the remaining space with your potting mix.
  6. Gently press around the stems to support the plant.
  7. Water thoroughly.

Sun/Light Requirements

How much sun does a Tradescantia Nanouk need? Your Nanouk plant prefers bright, indirect light. Bright light means the colors will be more vibrant, and flowers are more likely to grow.

This plant can survive in lower light, but you will lose some of the beautiful colors. Never place your Tradescantia in full sun.

Pro Tip: If the colors in your pink Tradescantia are fading, it’s getting too little sun.

How to Water Tradescantia Nanouk

Water your Tradescantia Nanouk when the top inch of soil is dry. Overwatering is really bad for this pink Tradescantia, so better to water by feel than on a set schedule.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy.

During Spring and Summer, you might only need to water your plant every two to three weeks. Your Nanouk needs less water in the fall and winter but may need extra humidity (see below).

As you’re watering, try not to get water on the leaves. If you leave water sitting on the leaves of this plant, you may cause the leaves to rot.  Use a paper towel to plant any water off of the leaves. To avoid getting water on the leaves, try using a long spout watering can or watering your plant from the bottom.

Long Spout Watering Can


Does Tradescantia Nanouk like humidity? Your Nanouk is a tropical plant, and all tropical plants benefit from humidity. However, the Nanouk was developed to be a hardy plant with thick leaves, so adding extra moisture is a want and not a need.

Your Tradescantia Nanouk will be more robust and more colorful in a more humid environment.

Should I mist my Tradescantia Nanouk? Misting is one way plant owners try to add humidity to their plants. Nanouk leaves don’t do well with water on them. We do not recommend misting your Nanouk.

If you want to give your plants the extra humidity to help them thrive, then it is better to use a humidifier.

We have two fantastic articles detailing humidifiers for plants:

Best Humidifier for Plants
How to Use a Humidifier for Plants

Pro Tip: An inexpensive hygrometer is a wise investment in testing the humidity level in your home and adjusting it accordingly for your plants. 


Pruning your Tradescantia Nanouk is only necessary when it’s time to remove old, damaged leaves or cut back leggy growth. If your Nanouk’s stems start to get long and skinny, then you can pinch them back. Pinching them back will help your plant to develop side shoots and grow thicker and bushier.

How to Prune Tradescantia Nanouk

To prune your Nanouk, you can pinch new growth or cut back its branches. Regular pruning will make it grow denser and bushier.

Always use clean hands to pinch or sharp, sterilized garden cutters to cut. Always cut just above the node.

showing where to find a plant node
Example of a leaf node. When pruning your Nanouk, cut just above the node.

Size and Growth Rate

The leaves of the Tradescantia Nanouk are small, elongated, and lance-shaped, with a pointed tip. They are typically around 2-3 inches long and 1 inch wide, and grow in a rosette formation from the stem.

The leaves are a beautiful shade of green with a silvery-pink hue, which gives them a unique and eye-catching appearance. The undersides of the leaves are a deep purple color, which adds to the plant’s overall beauty.

Tradescantia Nanouk leaves are soft (almost fuzzy-ish leaves), fleshy, and slightly succulent to the touch, with a slightly glossy texture.

How to Solve Common Tradescantia Nanouk Issues

Overwatering is the most common cause of issues in the Nanouk and can lead to fungal infections and root rot. Other issues include:

Brown Leaves

Brown leaves and crispy leaf edges on the Tradescantia Nanouk are caused by underwatering, air that is too dry, or too much direct light. If the leaves are turning brown and also feel soft and mushy, then you probably have a case of root rot.

brown spots on tradescantia nanouk leaf
Brown Spots on Tradescantia Nanouk

Leaf Rot

Watering your Pink Tradescantia from above might cause leaf rot if the water gets trapped in leaves while you are watering.

To prevent this you can:

  1. Move the leaves to the side as you water.
  2. Use a long spout watering can
  3. Water from the bottom

Spider Mites

Spider mites might bother your Tradescantia Nanouk when your watering schedule isn’t quite right and your plant is getting too dry.

If your Tradescantia Nanouk is infested, give your plant a shower with fresh water. Mist it with a 50/50 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water. You may have to mist several times to kill off all the mites and their eggs.

Spider mites can destroy a plant. They usually live under leaves where they spin white, silky webs for protection. The most common sign of an infestation is spider webbing.

The mites are difficult to see with the naked eye because they are so small. If you suspect that your plant has them, hold a piece of paper under the leaves of the plant and shake them gently. If it is spider mites, specks will fall on the paper that looks similar to pepper.

Related Post: Soil Mites vs. Aphids

Why is My Tradescantia Nanouk Leggy?

If your Nanouk isn’t getting enough light, it will become leggy. Legginess means the branches stretch out with fewer leaves on them. Try moving your plant to better light or adding a grow light near our plant.

Why is My Tradescantia Nanouk Turning Green?

If your Nanouk is reverting – meaning the white and pink/purple is fading back to green –  your plant needs more sun. Sunlight will bring back the variegation (multiple colors and patterns) to your plant.

My Tradescantia Nanouk is Drooping

First, take a look at your plant and decide if it’s dropping or trailing. Tradescantia is a trailing plant, which means they have long, trailing stems. If your Nanouk is hanging over the side of the pot, it might just be trailing and not drooping.

Take a look at the leaves. If they look unhealthy, you may need to adjust the care you’re giving your plant.

If you’re not a fan of the “drooping” look, you can prune your Nanouk to make it look bushier. Pinch off any leggy growth to encourage new growth in that area. Pinching means to your fingers (and fingernails if you have them) to pinch off the tender, new growth at the end of the stem.

Questions and Answers: Tradescantia Nanouk

Why Is My Nanouk Dying?

The most common way people kill their Nanouk is consistently overwatering. Overwatering is very bad for most houseplants. Consistent overwatering will cause root rot, which essentially suffocates the roots and kills the plant.

If your Nanouk shows signs of slow growth, mushy stems, and wilting, yellow, distorted leaves, you probably have root rot.

Try this:
Take your plant out of the pot.
Wash away all the old soil.
Cut away all the rotten and damaged roots.
Place your Tradescantia in fresh, well-draining soil.
Give it bright, indirect light, and some humidity.

The above steps will give you a chance to save your plant.
Prevent future root rot by using well-draining soil and watering your plant only when the top inch of the soil is dry.

Is Tradescantia Nanouk a Succulent?

No, a succulent is any plant that stores water in juicy leaves, stems, or roots in order to withstand periodic drought. Although it’s not a succulent, Tradescantia Nanouk stems can hold a fair amount of water.

Is Tradescantia Nanouk a Wandering Jew?

Tradescantia, commonly known as Wandering Jew, are some of the world’s most popular and commonly grown houseplants.

The term Wandering Jew has been used for many years to refer to the family of plants called Tradescantia.

To sum it up, there’s a lot of nasty historical baggage associated with this nickname, so we shouldn’t be using it anymore. The new nickname for Tradescantia is “Wandering Dude.”

Is Tradescantia Nanouk Toxic to Dogs and Cats?

Yes, Tradescantia Nanouk is toxic to pets and children. Never allow your pets or young children to have access to your Nanouk.

Is Tradescantia Nanouk a Trailing Plant?

Yes. The Nanouk comes in part from the Tradescantia fluminensis. The fluminensis originated in South America, where it grows as a ground cover underneath dense and shady forest canopies. While it may naturally grow as a ground cover, Tradescantia fluminensis ‘Nanouk’ is usually grown as a striking trailing plant in a home setting.

Do Tradescantia Nanouk Flower?

If you provide proper care to your Nanouk, it should flower during the growing season (roughly spring through autumn). The buds are purple/pink, opening into white or pink flowers. Some healthy, vigorous plants will continue to bloom indoors throughout the year.

tradescantia nanouk flower

Where did Tradescantia Nanouk come from?

Although Tradescantia plants originated in Mexico, South America, and Central America, The Nanouk originated in Sappemeer, The Netherlands.

A plant breeder wanted to create a plant with impressive flowers and highly dependable performance. In 2012 the Tradescantia Nanouk was born.

How do you make a Tradescantia Nanouk bushy?

There are two specific things you can do to help your Nanouk be bushier and less leggy:

1. Keep it in bright, indirect light (sunlight or a grow light).
2. Pinch off any leggy growth that you see.

You “pinch” a plant by literally pinching off the stem right above the leaf node. You can also use clean, sharp scissors.

Can Tradescantia Nanouk Grow Outside?

You can place your Nanouk outside under a cover such as your porch. Make sure it is getting indirect light only. Make sure it never gets cold or sits in a draft.

Where to Buy Tradescantia Nanouk

Tradescantia Nanouk can be found at your local nursery. These plants have been trendy lately, so they are harder to come by. Some nurseries are setting a limit on how many you can buy. They do this to prevent people from buying a bunch and marking up the price for reselling.

Buyer Beware: Our advice is to be careful when sellers describe Tradescantia Nanouk as “rare” because they use that tactic to drive up the price.

Nanouk plants are also available from a reputable seller on Etsy, and I have even seen them for sale on Amazon.

If you order this plant in the winter, consider asking the seller to use a heat pack as this plant is particularly sensitive to cold.

The Tradescantia Family

Tradescantia is a plant genus with at least 75 different types of plants. The flowering member of Tradescantia also include:

  • Tradescantia spathacea
  • Tradescantia pallida (the Purple Heart)
  • Tradescantia albiflora
  • Tradescantia fluminensis
purple tradescantia
Purple Tradescantia

Tradescantia Zebrina vs. Tradescantia Nanouk

Zebrina gets its name from its striped leaves, and this type is the most common Tradescantia you’ll find. It has attractive variegated foliage striped green, white, and gray leaves with purple undersides.

‘Nanouk’ has variegated foliage with bright pink undersides, and its flowers are white with a pink blush at the tips of the petals.

Tradescantia Zebrina vs. Tradescantia Nanouk

Final Thoughts on Tradescantia Nanouk

If you’re looking for a trendy plant that will give you years of easy maintenance, colorful leaves, and even tiny white flowers, this is it! I hope this article has helped you learn how to care for your Tradescantia Nanouk (also known as Fantasy Venice).

Some items we discuss that will help you care for this unique plant and keep it growing strong. These products will be helpful for all your indoor plants:

Good luck growing your Tradescantia Nanouk and making it part of your cozy, fresh, and green home!

Other Pink Plants you might enjoy:

how to grow tradescantia nanouk with close up of pink leaf