What are the side effects of wandering jew?

What are the side effects of wandering jew?

Beyond the Vibrant Foliage: Unveiling the Side Effects of Wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina)

Wandering Jew, with its cascading growth habit and vibrantly colored leaves, is a popular houseplant prized for its ease of care and visual appeal. However, for those with curious green thumbs or pet owners with furry friends, a question often arises: Does Wandering Jew pose any side effects that require consideration? While this charming plant boasts undeniable aesthetic value, understanding its potential effects on humans is essential for responsible plant ownership.

Unveiling Potential Skin Irritation: Understanding the Risks Associated with Wandering Jew

Like many plants, Wandering Jew contains calcium oxalate crystals, microscopic structures that can cause irritation in some individuals. These crystals are a natural defense mechanism for the plant, deterring herbivores from grazing.

  • The Mechanism of Action: Calcium Oxalate Crystals and Dermal Irritation: When the sharp, needle-like calcium oxalate crystals come into contact with human skin, they can puncture the delicate outer layers, causing irritation. This irritation manifests as itching, burning, redness, and swelling in the affected area. In severe cases, blistering might occur.

  • Symptoms to Watch Out For: Signs of Skin Contact with Wandering Jew: If you experience any discomfort after handling Wandering Jew, be aware of the following symptoms:

    • Itching and burning sensation at the point of contact.
    • Redness and swelling of the affected skin.
    • In rare instances, blistering might develop.

The severity of these symptoms typically depends on the individual’s sensitivity and the duration of contact with the plant. If you experience any discomfort, it’s advisable to wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and discontinue contact with the plant.

Mitigating the Risks: Cultivating a Safe and Enjoyable Experience with Wandering Jew

The good news is that with a few simple precautions, you can still cultivate and enjoy the beauty of Wandering Jew without experiencing skin irritation:

  • Protective Measures: Utilizing Gloves and Washing Hands Thoroughly: Wearing gloves when handling Wandering Jew, particularly during pruning or repotting, is an effective way to minimize skin contact with calcium oxalate crystals. Additionally, washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water after any interaction with the plant is essential for removing any lingering crystals.

  • Maintaining Plant Health: Considerations for Reducing Crystal Formation: While calcium oxalate crystals are a natural part of the Wandering Jew’s makeup, certain factors can influence their concentration. Stressful conditions, such as underwatering or nutrient deficiencies, can trigger increased crystal production in the plant. Maintaining optimal growing conditions, including regular watering and fertilization, can help promote overall plant health and potentially reduce the formation of these crystals.


While Wandering Jew can cause skin irritation in some individuals due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals, following a few simple precautions can greatly minimize the risk. Wearing gloves when handling the plant, washing hands thoroughly after contact, and maintaining healthy plant practices can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience with this vibrant houseplant. Remember, a little caution and responsible plant ownership can allow you to cultivate the beauty of Wandering Jew without any unpleasant side effects. So, enjoy the visual appeal of this popular plant while prioritizing your own well-being.

It’s important to remember that individual sensitivities can vary significantly. For those with known allergies or particularly sensitive skin, even minimal contact with Wandering Jew might trigger irritation. In such cases, opting for alternative houseplants known for being hypoallergenic might be a safer option. Popular non-irritating choices include spider plants, bromeliads, and certain varieties of ferns.

Ultimately, appreciating the beauty of houseplants goes hand-in-hand with understanding their potential side effects. By being aware of the risks associated with Wandering Jew and taking appropriate precautions, you can cultivate a thriving indoor oasis without compromising your well-being. So, embrace the vibrant foliage of Wandering Jew with a touch of caution, and prioritize creating a safe and enjoyable environment for yourself and your fellow houseplant enthusiasts.

Leave A Comment