How to Grow & Care for Nanouk Plant in Pots – Step by Step

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If you’re familiar with the Nanouk plant, then you’d have discovered that it’s an easy-to-grow flowering succulent and a favorite of most plant lovers.

This plant is one of the easiest-to-care-for houseplants with minimal maintenance requirements. It has beautiful blue, pink-purple, or white flowers that grow from the pink buds and slightly fuzzy bright green, pink or purple foliage.

The Tradescantia Nanouk is a new cultivar developed in the Netherlands through a planned breeding program conducted in Sappemeer back in 2012.

The objective of this program was to create more compact Tradescantia plants with better performance and beautiful flower coloration.

And the objective was met!

So, if you are looking for a beautiful, low-maintenance trailing plant for hanging baskets, both indoors and outdoors, the Tradescantia Nanouk is the way to go!  

If you want to know more about the pink Nanouk plant i.e. identification, propagation, care, and more. This article is meant for you! Read through and get to know your Tradescantia Nanouk plant well.

Let’s get started:


What’s Nanouk Plant

How to Identify Nanouk Plant

Tradescantia Nanouk is an herbaceous perennial cultivar in the Commelinaceae family. It’s mostly grown for its amazingly beautiful pink, bright green, and white lance-shaped foliage.

The stems of a Nanouk plant are thick and chunky to provide sturdy support to the rounded, fuzzy thick leaves.

It produces small, beautiful pink buds and white and yellow flowers in spring and summer. Tradescantia Nanouk branches grow upright but, with excellent growing conditions and some patience, this plant can trail.

Due to its beautiful and bright foliage, the Fantasy Venice enlivens spaces, especially when used in hanging baskets and as a ground cover.

That’s why it’s widely used as an indoor houseplant and also as a garden plant by a majority of plant lovers.


Noteworthy Characteristics (Plant Profile Summary)

Common name(s): Fantasy Venice, Tradescantia Nanouk, Nanouk Wandering Jew Plant or, Spiderwort 'Nanouk'.

Scientific/Botanical name: Tradescantia albiflora ‘Nanouk’.

USDA Hardiness zones: 10 through 12 for outdoor growing.

Mature Height: Up to 0.5 feet tall.

Mature Spread: Up to 2 feet wide.

Growing habit: Compact and Upright to trailing plant habit.

Native Area: Mexico, South and Central America with cultivars developed in the Netherlands.

Blooming Time: Blooms throughout the plant’s growing season.

Invasive: Considered invasive in the State of Florida.

Toxicity: Toxic to cats, dogs, and humans.


Is Nanouk Plant Toxic?

Yes, just like all other Tradescantia varieties, the Tradescantia Nanouk plant is considered poisonous to both humans and pets.

The sap from this plant causes gastric distress if ingested and can be irritating to the skin.

Hence, keep your pets away and wash up immediately after handling your plant and/or use gloves.


Nanouk Plant Vs Wandering Jew

Nanouk plant and wandering Jew plant both belong to the same genus ‘Tradescantia’ and in general, require almost similar growing and care requirements. 

They also have the same uses in the general landscape, container planting, interiorscape, indoor Plant and, hanging baskets.

However, if we look at their morphology, it’s possible to see a few distinctions between the two that will help you differentiate between them.

For instance; Tradescantia Nanouk plant has pink, bright green, and white lance-shaped foliage while Tradescantia Zebrina ‘green wandering Jew plant’ has variegated olive and silver foliage with purple undersides with purple on both sides for the ‘purple wandering Jew plant’

Apart from this, a Tradescantia Nanouk produces pink buds and white/yellow flowers while Tradescantia Wandering Jew produces white to lavender inconspicuous boat-shaped flowers.


Nanouk Plant Propagation

There are 2 methods of propagating a Nanouk plant. These include; plant division and stem cuttings.

In the stem cuttings method, you can root the cuttings either in water or, in soil. Let’s look at each method at a time.


Method 1: Nanouk plant propagation through division step by step

Step 1: Identify a mature, healthy plant free of pests and diseases. Then remove your plant from the pot carefully and remove all the soil from around the roots gently to avoid root damage.

Step 2: With a lot of care, separate each root ball and stem from one another. Sometimes, the roots of your Nanouk plant can be too intertwined to separate with bare hands without damaging them. If this is the case, use a pair of scissors to cut them apart (the scissors must be sterilized to avoid infections).

Step 3: Plant the individual baby plants in a well-draining potting mix in their containers. Ensure that the potting mix/soil remains moist but never soggy.

Step 4: Since after division the baby plants have some roots attached, it will take them a few more weeks for the roots to be fully established. Occasionally, pull your plants gently from the potting mix and feel if there’s some resistance or the plant just pulls off easily. Some resistance indicates that the roots are establishing and healthy.


Method 2: How to propagate a Nanouk plant in water step by step

Step 1: Identify a healthy Nanouk plant from which you’ll take the cuttings.

Step 2: Using a sterilized pair of scissors take the stem cuttings from the mother plant. Each of the stem cuttings you make must have at least a node (spots where the leaf attaches to the stem and where roots will form) and a leaf.

Step 3: Remove the lower-most leaves (if any) to leave a few inches of a bare stem.

Step 4: Put the cut end of the stem cutting into a jar or container of room-temperature freshwater such that at least a node is below the water surface. Ensure that there aren’t any leaves in the water.

Step 5: Place your container/jar in a warm location with bright, indirect light. Your cuttings need adequate light.

Step 6: Replace the water once every 5 to 7 days or when it gets grubby and top it up as soon as the level gets lower.

Step 7:  It usually takes about a week for the tiny roots to sprout but, wait until the roots are about 2 to 3 inches long before you transfer the cuttings into soil. After you pot up your cutting water it properly and keep the potting mix/soil evenly moist.


Method 3: How to propagate a Nanouk plant in soil step by step

Step 1: Identify a healthy Nanouk plant from which you’ll take the cuttings.

Step 2: Using a sterilized pair of scissors take the stem cuttings from the mother plant. Each of the stem cuttings you make must have at least a node (spots where the leaf attaches to the stem and where roots will form) and a leaf.

Step 3: Remove the lower-most leaves (if any) to leave a few inches of a bare stem.

Step 4: Place the cut end of your stem cutting into a container of well-draining moistened potting mix/soil.  Make sure that at least one node is under the surface and that all the leaves are above the surface. Maintain high humidity and keep the growing medium moist but not wet for healthy root development.

Step 5: Move the container with the cutting to a warm space with bright, indirect light.

Step 6: In a few weeks, your cutting will have established its roots and is ready to be treated like a normal plant.

Pro Tip: In all the cutting propagation methods, you can use a rooting hormone like Garden Safe rooting hormone to encourage roots to grow from the cuttings.


How to Grow & Care for Nanouk Plant in Pots – Step by Step

Step 1: Selecting the Appropriate Potting Soil

The Nanouk plants are very resilient and easy to grow in moist, well-drained, and acidic (pH 5 to 6) soil.  You just need a regular, well-draining houseplant potting mix/soil to pot your Tradescantia Nanouk and you’re good to go!

It’s always a good idea to add a handful of orchid bark, perlite or, horticultural/coarse sand to the potting mix to improve drainage.

You can also use a succulent-based potting mix to give your Nanouk plant plenty of drainage.

Pro Tip: Avoid dense soil as it holds too much water/moisture which might lead to root rot and plant death.


Step 2: The Best Planting Pots

When it comes to selecting the best planting pot for you Tradescantia Nanouk, keep in mind that this plant hates excessive moisture. It’s also a fast-grower.

Therefore, choose a pot that matches the size of your plant since you can repot whenever the need arises. (a pot that’s ½ inch larger than the plants’ current root ball is ideal).

A very large pot will cause more harm than good as it holds more soil, consequently more water which might lead to root rot. Also, the roots of this plant don’t need too much soil for sustainability.

The right amount of soil/potting mix ensures that the root ball soaks moisture fast and it’s not left to sit in soggy soil.


Step 3: Provide the Necessary Temperature & Humidity

Providing the right temperature for a Nanouk plant is easy as it performs just fine in a normal household temperature.

With daytime temperatures of up to 75 degrees Celsius and night temperatures of roughly mid-50s, you have nothing to worry about. Just avoid keeping the plant a windowsill as it might be exposed to drafts and cold.

Does a Nanouk plant like humidity?

Yes! This plant loves a humid environment of approximately 40-60%. So, place your Nanouk plant in a room or a more humid space. The lower the humidity levels, the drier the air gets and this leads to crispy leaves.

But the good thing is, you can easily create humidity for your plants whenever the levels are low.

For example, mist the plant more often, use a pebble tray filled with water or, place your plant near a humidifier.

I’d recommend the Pure Enrichment® MistAire™ Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier from Amazon since it has a Quiet Operation, Automatic Shut-Off, Night Light Function and it’s affordable.

Alternatively, place your plant on the bathroom window where it enjoys the steam from your bath without being sprayed by the shower directly.

It’s also an excellent addition to your bathroom plants for a more luxurious look.


Step 4: Expose the Plants to Adequate Light

Tradescantia Nanouk plants love bright, indirect light for nice and brightly colored pink and purple leaves.

However, the light shouldn’t necessarily be natural light from the sun as you can still use grow lights to supplement the natural light.

Under low light, the leaves are smaller in size, and the color fades (more green and less variegated). Inadequate light also leads to a leggy plant. Placing your plants near a sunny window works well too in improving light availability.

Caution: Never place your plant in full sun to protect the leaves from scorching.


Step 5: Watering Your Nanouk Plants on a Need Basis

When it comes to watering, ‘WHEN’ to water is more crucial than ‘HOW OFTEN’ you water this plant.

‘How often’ suggests a timeline or a schedule to follow. This means that at a specific time or date, you must water your Nanouk plant whether it needs watering or not.

This might lead to overwatering and subsequent root rot which results in a dull and unhealthy plant.

Therefore, check the moisture availability in the topsoil by sticking your index finger into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s the right time to water your Nanouk plant.

Alternatively, use a moisture meter to check if your plant needs watering or not. (That’s if you have one or, purchase a General Tools Digital Moisture Meter from Amazon should you wish to have one)

Usually, watering once a week is enough but there are a few factors that determine how often to water your Nanouk plant.

For instance; if yours is growing outdoors, it’s exposed to more heat and wind than the indoor-grown Nanouk hence, water it more frequently.

Also, when your Nanouk plant is actively growing i.e. in spring and summer, it takes up more water from the soil thus, requires to be watered more frequently than in winter when the plant is dormant.

In addition to this, the pot’s/container’s size also affects how often you water your plants. As such, plants in a small pot usually dry out faster than those in a larger one hence, water more frequently and vice versa.

If you still want to learn more about watering plants and especially succulents, read more on How to Properly Water Your Succulents.


Step 6: Fertilize your Nanouk Plants

Nanouk plants aren’t heavy feeders and usually do well even without feeding.

But, they benefit a lot from a monthly feed with houseplant fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength when actively growing (in spring and summer).

However, be careful not to over-fertilize as this might lead to Nanouk leaf tips turning brown.

In addition to this, make sure to dampen the soil before applying fertilizer and follow the fertilizer application rates and schedule as instructed. This helps avoid plant burn from fertilizer.

Once the growing season is over, stop feeding your plants.

Caution: Do not fertilize your plants right after repotting; not until after 6 weeks to reduce the chances of burning the new root growth.

 

Other Common Problems in Tradescantia Nanouk

A leggy Nanouk plant

If your Nanouk plant shows signs of fewer leaves and long stretched-out branches, it’s a signal that the plant’s leggy.

Legginess in a Tradescantia Nanouk is caused by inadequate light. Like I earlier explained, always grow your Nanouk plant in bright, indirect light (either from sunlight or, grow light).

Even though this plant was bred for compact growth, it’s not always the case as you might find it a little bit leggy especially when it’s not compact enough.

To avoid having a leggy Tradescantia Nanouk plant, pinch off the leggy growth. This allows for new growth hence, a bushier plant.

You can also stick the cuttings you’ve made right back into the pot and allow them to root and Improve compactness.


Brown Leaf Tips in a Tradescantia Nanouk Plant

This is an indication that the humidity levels are lower than what the plant requires. Like I discussed earlier Tradescantia Nanouk is a humid-lover, and providing it with the right humidity levels is the only way to deal with this problem.

Apply the different ways of ensuring a constantly humid environment for your plant explained earlier in this article under ‘Step 3: Provide the Necessary Temperature & Humidity


Nanouk Plant Leaf Patterns/variegation Fading

This is caused by too much light and if not controlled in time, the leaves will burn or discolor completely.

To manage how much light gets to your plant, move the plant away from direct sun rays and keep it at a spot with minimal sun rays both in the mornings and evenings.


Nanouk Leaves Curling/A dropping Nanouk Plant

The leaves of your Nanouk plant may curl either inwards or outwards due to moisture and light levels and this is usually accompanied by some discoloration. 

Lack of enough moisture or dehydration as a result of too much light or not enough water causes the leaves to curl inwards to preserve the available moisture.

If the leaves are curling outwards, it’s an indication of too much water or not enough light.

The solution to this problem is to balance the light exposure and watering frequency. For clarity, you can refer to the light and watering requirements earlier discussed in this article ‘Step 4: Expose the Plants to Adequate Light and Step 5: Watering Your Nanouk Plants on a Need Basis’


Conclusion

Like you have seen growing and caring for a Nanouk plant is easy provided you keep in mind its basic needs.

Whether you are a beginner or you’re used to houseplants, the information you just got will come in handy as you continue growing bountiful numbers of this plant.

And once you experience the striking dash of delight this plant brings to your household, I bet you’ll be addicted to it.

It’s time for you to give it a try.

Wishing you the best of luck with growing and caring for your Tradescantia Nanouk Plant!


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