Purple heart plant propagation in water is one of the most effective methods of propagation. Given that this plant is a quick grower, there are no special tools or steps needed for propagating purple heart plants successfully.

Propagating the Purple Heart Plant in Water

In this article, we provide an easy-to-follow, simple step-by-step guide, as well as tips and tricks on the care guide for this plant. Continue reading to find out more on how to do a water propagation of purple heart plants, as easy as 1-2-3!

How To Propagate Purple Heart Plant in Water?

To propagate purple heart plants in water, you need to first prepare the materials and identify the node. With just a few extra procedures, the purple heart plant, also known as tradescantia pallida, can be propagated in water just as easily as in soil.

1. Prepare Your Materials

As with any other project, you need to prepare all your needed tools and materials beforehand. This small step can make your work a whole lot easier and less messy. Here are what you will need for this propagation project:

  • Rubbing alcohol – Having rubbing alcohol on hand can be useful when propagating. You can use it to disinfect tools and jars or vases. Another purpose is for accidental finger nicks that you might get. It is best to use rubbing alcohol with a concentration of 70% or higher. Lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide can also be used as cleaners; however, they do not evaporate as quickly as rubbing alcohol.

Rub your tools with alcohol or warm, soapy water to disinfect them, especially your garden shears. This will greatly help in ensuring that your cuttings will not be contaminated.

  • Cutting tool – You can use garden shears and make sure they are sharp and not rusty. You can also use a fresh razor blade or clean and sharp kitchen scissors. It is also very important that they are sanitized well before being used to propagate plants in order to prevent any contaminants from infecting both the parent plant and the stem cuttings.
  • Jar or vase – For the containers of water and cuttings, get a glass jar or vase that can support a standing stem cutting while the bottom inch or two is submerged in water. Ideally, vases with small holes are used.
  • As we are going to use water as our medium, use fresh and clean water to fill the jars.

2. Identify the Node

The lumps from which leaves emerge are known as nodes. It is important that you know how to identify it as this is a crucial point when propagating plants. This is where new roots will be coming from, so it is important that you get the stem cuttings with nodes.

A node, which is a little bulge at the junction of a leaf and a stem, should be cut through the stem 1/4-to-1/2-inch plant below. Purple heart vines are straightforward to spot since they frequently zigzag from node to node. From here, the roots will spread out.

3. Cut the Stems

When searching for a good location to cut, look for a node that was able to produce two or three leaves. The node after that will be your target. Cut in the location above those first few leaves past the selected node. When cutting them, make sure you use clean, sharp scissors or shears. Make the cut at an angle in one swift motion.

Reasons for Purple Heart Plant Propagation

In order to make sure that the parent plant will not suffer from any infection on the open wound, you can treat it with cinnamon or honey. To have the best chance of having successful propagation, it is advisable to do this on a healthy plant. Sometimes, one long stem can be divided into sections to produce multiple cuttings.

4. Prepare the Cuttings To Be Put in Water

With the same sharp blade, you used to cut the stem from the parent plant, remove the leaf or leaves from the bottom node. Given that this node will be the one responsible for producing the roots, it will be so much to bear if it still bears the existence of the other leaves. So, you must leave that node leafless.

When placing the cleaned stem cuttings in the vase with water, be careful not to let any of the remaining leaves touch the water as it may cause them to decay and thus contaminate the water and all of the submerged parts of the stem.

5. Place the Jar of Water and Stem Cuttings in Direct Sunlight

Once your jar of stem cuttings is ready, make sure to place it in a location with direct sunlight. As light is required for photosynthesis, it plays a vital role in enabling the stem and leaf cuttings to have the energy to produce roots.

In this case, in which the water serves as the medium for propagation, it must be maintained fresh and clean at all times. When the stem cuttings were initially placed on it, the jar must be filled with enough water to cover the leafless nodes. However, due to evaporation, the water level will decrease.

With this, you must replenish it or, better yet, change it to fresh water every third or fifth day. Changing the water at this frequency will ensure that there won’t be contaminants in the jar, such as debris or algae.

If there are algae in the vase, you must remove the cuttings and wash the vase with soap and water before returning the cuttings. However, this will not guarantee that algae formation will not return, but at least it can hold the algae off until the stem cuttings are ready to be planted.

6. Wait for Roots to Form

Waiting for the roots to grow will be the most challenging step, as it requires patience and will keep your excitement at bay.

Even though purple hearts will root without rooting hormones, adding them can significantly accelerate the process – even thought they are known as quick growers – and increase the likelihood that the plant will survive as a cutting.

Getting roots established as soon as possible is crucial because, without them, the plant cannot take much water.

To apply a rooting hormone, simply dip the bottom centimeter of the cutting into the rooting powder, then let it sit for a few minutes to create a film that helps protect it from viruses.

7. Transfer the New Baby Plants to the Soil

Plant your new plant in a pot and make sure that the soil has a moist potting mix. Place the pot in a sunny window so that the new plants can receive their much-needed sunlight. You can also add the new plants to an old one just to give the latter a fuller appearance.

Another important note to remember is to make sure that the pot has draining holes as pooling water can lead to root rot and plant death.

How To Take Care of Purple Hearts After Water Propagation?

To take care of you purple heart plants you there are certain steps you need to take after propagation.

Now that you have successfully propagated your purple heart plants and already transferred them to a new pot, it is time to apply the proper care that the plant requires.

Just like any other plant, the basic needs of a plant generally revolve around water, light, soil, temperature, and humidity. Even though the purple heart plant is considered to be a low-maintenance plant, understanding its needs, especially as regards pruning, will ensure you will have no problems to deal with.

1. Water the Plants Regularly

After planting, water your purple hearts frequently to promote a strong root system. Although the purple heart plant can tolerate some drought, you should water it anytime the ground gets dry or when it is really hot.

If the plant is grown indoors, make sure the soil is kept moist but not wet, because wet soil is a favorite breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, and other common pests, which can harm the plant.

2. Fertilize on a Regular Basis

Doing so will help the plant prevent common diseases with symptoms such as yellow leaves. When growing purple hearts indoors, you should fertilize them twice a month from spring through fall and once a month in the winter with a general-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer.

3. Provide Adequate Light

Whether indoors or outdoors, your plants must receive sufficient light in order to grow and prevent the leaves from turning green. If grown outdoors, you can put them in a hanging basket and put them in a location where they can get sunlight without getting scorched. If the plants are grown indoors, place them where they will get bright, indirect light.

4. Know the Ideal Temperature

In USDA hardiness zones 7 to 11, or in locations where the temperature is between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the Purple Heart can be planted outdoors year-round. In other words, especially in northern latitudes, this plant cannot survive the winter’s cold temperatures.

Solution for Purple Heart Plant Propagation

It is therefore best to grow this succulent in a pot or container so that you can easily transport it indoors if you live in a region where the temperature frequently drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10°C).

5. Prune Regularly

After flowering is complete, prune plants to promote new development. Instead of allowing the stems to grow long and spindly as the purple heart matures, you can pinch off the stem tips to produce a fuller plant.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to Know if Your Purple Heart Plant Is Ready for Propagation?

To know if your purple heart plant is ready for propagation, you must take into account its health. This plant shouldn’t be trimmed until you have a lot of leaves to select from. For purple hearts that are planted indoors, it is best to only take cuttings twice a year.  

2. How Much Time Does Purple Heart Require To Root in Water?

The time a purple heart requires to root in water is about two to three weeks. However, it must receive the nutrients it needs to speed up the rooting process. Make sure to place the jar in a location with plenty of sunlight.

3. When Is the Best Time to Perform the Propagation of Purple Heart Plants?

The best time to perform the propagation of purple heart plants is in the spring or summer when the plant is in its growing season. The healthiest cuttings will result from this. The plant can simply grow new cuttings in their place or direct more energy toward other shoots.

4. What Are the Other Media Used in Propagating a Purple Heart Plant?

The other media used in propagating a purple heart plant are soil, moss, and anything that can hold water. If using soil, it is best to get one with a good ratio of perlite. The more, the better, because this will help the soil prevent water issues.

You can, in fact, keep the cutting in the water indefinitely. This is called hydroponics and is very popular for certain plants. You just have to ensure that the plant’s needs are met – sunlight, nutrients and of course, water. By doing this you can still appreciate the roots as well as the lovely foliage and flowers.

Easily Propagating Purple Heart Plant in Water


Propagating purple hearts in water can be done in just a few simple and easy steps. Let us summarize the key points we have learned so far:

  • Gathering all the needed materials, sanitizing them, and making sure they are in their best condition is important, as dirty tools will pose a contamination risk to your cuttings, which can potentially affect their growth.
  • Identifying the nodes and knowing how to properly cut them play a vital role in the success of the propagation. Once the parent plant is cut, it should also be taken care of, as the open wound is at high risk of infection. Putting a dab of honey or cinnamon on it will do the trick.
  • Place a sufficient amount of water in a vase for the stem cuttings, just enough to cover the leafless nodes. It is also important that no leaves touch the water to prevent contaminating it.
  • Applying a rooting hormone to the stem cuttings is optional, but doing so can definitely speed up the rooting process. However, even without it, purple heart plants will produce roots in a few weeks.
  • Choose a location where there is adequate sunlight to help the stem cuttings produce roots more quickly. You can expect them to have roots in about six to eight weeks. Once ready, transfer them to a new pot with mixed potting soil that is well-draining.

Watching the roots develop on plants that were propagated using water not only makes the process more enjoyable but also makes for distinctive and aesthetically pleasing lovely décor. Over the next few weeks, you will have a gorgeous vase or jar with purple leaves hanging over the sides.


  • https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/purple-heart-tradescantia-pallida/
  • https://www.southernliving.com/garden/plants/purple-heart-plant
  • https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/tradescantia-pallida-purple-heart/
  • https://www.uaex.uada.edu/yard-garden/resource-library/plant-week/Tradescantia-pallida-Purple-Heart-10-21-2016.aspx

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