The turtle vine plant is a fast-growing perennial that’s prized for its ornamental use. Check out this post to know how to grow Turtle Vine Plant.
Scientific Name: Callisia repens
Common Names: Inch Plant, Creeping Inch Plant, Turtle Vine, Creepin Basket Plant, Bolivian Jew, Dwarf Wandering Jew
Turtle vine is a fast-growing perennial that grows to a whooping length of 20 inches per year in ideal conditions. It has a spread of 3 m both horizontally and vertically that looks attractive in both containers and hanging baskets when mature. It’s a Tradescantia genus member and succulent with thick and small-sized foliage that have purple undersides. Growing turtle vine is easy in both indoor and outdoor, and that’s what makes turtle vine a valued ornamental houseplant. In this post, we discuss in detail how to grow Turtle Vine!
How to Grow Turtle Vine Plant
Propagating Turtle Vine Plant
You can propagate the turtle vine from seeds or cuttings, both of which propagation from cutting is much easier and preferred. Take a cutting that’s around 3-4 inches in length and remove the leaves at the bottom half as it’ll aid in root formation. Place the cutting in a glass or jar filled with clean water. The roots will start to form in a couple of weeks and once they are around an inch in length.
Choosing the Container
Go for a pot that’s 6-8 inches wide and deep and has drainage holes at the bottom. The plant has a height and spread of around 3m, which the terracotta pots compliment. Hanging baskets are also a great alternative as the trailing stems with thick leaves look enchanting as they cascade down.
Transplant the Turtle Vine cutting into a pot or the garden once the roots are around an inch in length. Pot the cutting in well-draining loamy compost in a manner that the foliage remains above ground level. Covering the plant with a transparent plastic sheet will raise the humidity and create greenhouse-like conditions during an initial couple of weeks. Make sure to give the plant a breathing room for a couple of hours on alternate days by removing the plastic bag. In 3-4 weeks, the turtle vine will be well established!
Moderate temperature zones ranging from 60 degrees F to 75 degrees F is ideal for growing turtle vine. It can tolerate temperatures as low as 45 degrees F, but if the temperature falls below that, bring the plant indoors to a warm spot. Place the plant in a shaded area if temperatures in summers are above 65 degrees F.
Place the plant at a spot where it receives bright indirect light that can be a windowsill, patio, or balcony. Placing the plant in the direct sun for a prolonged period can cause the leaves to wilt and fade, so avoid such spots. However, the plant will benefit from the occasional soaking of the direct sunlight. It can grow in indoor spaces as long as the place is well-lit. Don’t change the location too frequently, as drastic changes in the lighting conditions can shock the plant.
A well-draining potting mix that’s slightly acidic with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.5 is ideal for growing turtle vine. It grows in both soil-based and soilless mix; go for loam-based soil as it fares well for turtle vine. Also, you can buy a good quality potting mix made for succulents or houseplants.
Keep the soil moist by watering regularly to keep the plant healthy but do not overwater. Similar to other succulents, the turtle vine is also sensitive to overwatering. It can tolerate drought to some extent, but overwatering will surely kill the plant. Water only when the soil is dry an inch below the surface, which you can check by sticking your finger in the soil. Wilting, yellowing and slender leaves are a sign of underwatering. Cut back watering in winters!
Callisia Repens Care
Pruning is necessary to cut back dead, decaying, and yellowing part of the plant and redirect the plant’s energy to healthy new growth. Also, pruning keeps the plant contained and in the desired form. Ensure that the pruning shears or any other tool to use is sharp and sterilized to prevent bacterial and fungal diseases.
Young plant in its the first year of growth period doesn’t require fertilizing. Fertilize during the active growth period of the plant to boost the plant’s growth. Application of well-balanced liquid nitrogen fertilizer every 4-5 weeks is sufficient. Do not fertilize the plant in winters as its dormant in that period.
Pests and Diseases
Turtle vine remains pest-free for the most part; still, some common garden pests such as aphids, scales, and mealybugs can cause damage to the foliage. Beware of mealybugs, as they are the main culprit when it comes to the Turtle Vine plant. Giving the plant a thorough wash under the faucet or spraying the plant with a neem oil solution will eliminate such pests. Apart from root rot caused due to overwatering, there isn’t much that can go wrong with this plant.