Wandering Jew (aka Tradiscantia and Wandering willie) is a ground cover weed. It invades quickly and shades out and strangles other plants.
Identify the problem
Wandering Jew (also known as Tradiscantia and Wandering willie) is a trailing, soft, hairless, perennial groundcover weed. Succulent, soft, creeping stems root at nodes where they touch the soil. The leaves are dark green (sometimes black), shiny, smooth and are oval with pointed tips. White flowers are produced from December to January but no fruit or seed is produced in New Zealand. Wandering willie is originally from South America.
- Wandering Jew can be difficult to control because it usually takes 2-3 treatments to kill it fully and it readily sprouts from any live and dropped vegetative material. It does not set seed in NZ, but spreads readily.
- Working towards the centre, rake and roll up small areas of weed. Best done in a drought period. Dispose of at a refuse transfer station, burn or bury deep. Dropped fragments can spread infestation.
- Spray with Weed Weapon Extra Strength, Weed Weapon Rapid Action or LawnPro Prickle and Hydrocotyle combined with Dye & Stick. Follow up with a second treatment in 2-3 months. Take care not to drop fragments when removing the plant and dispose of at a transfer station. Do not use in compost or as mulch.
- If the Wandering Jew is in deep shade use Weed Weapon Rapid Action or ensure Dye & Stick is used with concentrates for best results.
- Alternatively cut the Wandering Jew down and immediately apply Weed Weapon Invade Gel to all cut ends and remaining leaves.
- All remaining stem fragments re-sprout so continue to treat as any new shoots appear.
- Improve the light getting to the infested area if possible.
Did You Know
Wandering jew prefers damp shaded places to grow, especially recently disturbed areas, near water or adjacent to existing infestations.
There are three species of wandering jew:
- Shade-tolerant, easily regenerating invasive plant having small green leaves and white flowers, a South American native - Tradescantia fluminensis
- Plant bearing purple leaves, with white, pink or purple flowers - Tradescantia pallida
- Distinguished by leaves that feature a distinct lengthwise zebra-stripe pattern of white and green - Tradescantia zebrina