Pepper’s Wandering Jew


Last summer, when Pepper and I were deep into tag sale-ing, we came across a sale where a woman was offering plants alongside her no-longer-needed household items. Intrigued, Pepper dropped three dollars for an interesting specimen with sparkly leaves. We had no idea what it was, but it was pretty.

When we got home, Pepper took it up to her room. I didn’t think about it again until about six months later, when I noticed she’d taken cuttings and was growing them in water-filled juice glasses along the top of her bookcase.

Pepper saw me eyeing them and came over to explain.

“When I trimmed my plant a few months ago, little bits and pieces came off. They looked healthy, and it seemed like a shame to just throw them away, so I thought I’d see if I could get them to grow roots. I guess it worked.” We both stared at the cuttings for a moment. “I should probably get them into some soil now,” she added.

So, my next trip to the grocery store, I picked up some potting soil. Suddenly, Pepper had, not one, but six plants.


We still didn’t know exactly what they were, though, so Pepper did some investigating and discovered she had purchased a Tradescantia zebrina – or, as it is more commonly known, a “Wandering Jew”.

Here’s what the leaves look like under the microscope (another of Pepper’s tag sale finds).


Isn’t that beautiful? The plant has such gorgeous coloration. It looks like fabric for an evening gown.

So what is Pepper planning next? She’d actually like to grow some vegetables – in her room – the sort that don’t need pollinators, of course. We’ll let you know how it goes.

From the dining room table, with a trio of antsy dogs who really wish the current rainy spell would let up,

Mrs. Smythe

6 Comments on “Pepper’s Wandering Jew

  1. Ooh, that is lovely! I have a nasty habit of killing indoor plants–which doesn’t really work for either of us. Hmmm . . .

    • I can see how that would be a problem. 😉

  2. They are pretty: under the microscope they almost look like fish scales. Has she thought about selling some of her own cuttings? I think I used to have one of those plants, but I must have killed it off. It seems I have to limit the plant varieties in our house!

    • They do look like fish scales now that you mention it. And, yes, Pepper’s talked a bit about selling cuttings. I think the idea intrigues her. Might be a fun way for her to make a little extra money. I’m trying to remember to be more consistent with my house plants – watering them and such. I have some very forgiving plants, but I know they would benefit from bigger pots and fresh soil. I’ll add it to my to-do list.