Posts Tagged ‘Inch Plant’

Callisia fragrans

Common name: Basket Plant, Chain Plant, Inch Plant, False Bromeliad, Purple Succulent, Basketplant, Fragrant Inch Plant, Octopus Plant

Family: Commelinaceae

Synonymous: Spironema orthandrum
Rectanthera fragrans
Spironema fragrans

Callisia fragrans

Callisia fragrans

Distribution and habitat: Callisia fragrans is endemic to Mexico and naturalized in the West Indies, scattered locations in the United States, and a few other places.
Callisia fragrans is a long-lived creeping herbaceous plant with leaves crowded into rosette-like clusters and spreading laterally via long runners. It occurs in pinelands, hammocks and disturbed areas.

Description: Callisia fragrans is a sprawling plant. It has elliptic, pointed leaves up to 25cm (10 inch) long and 5cm (2 inch) wide carried on fleshy stems up to 90cm (35 inch) long. The fresh, glossy green leaves tend to become reddish purple in strong light. In young plants the short teams are arranged in a rosette-like shape, but they rapidly lengthen. The occasional flowers are white and fragrant, clustered towards the tips of long flowering stems. Individual flowers are almost stalkless with three elongated petals, short-lived that wilt at noon. The fruit are small, three-celled, capsules.

Houseplant care: Callisia fragrans is very hardy and may able to take much abuse as overwatering or neglect of watering. It is odd-looking plant and grows fast. Provide ample room for this big, spreading plant.

Light: Give Callisia fragrans bright light including about three or four hours a day of direct sunlight at all times.

Temperature: Callisia fragrans thrive in warm rooms. It is advisable, however, to give them a short winter rest period at 10-16°C (50-61°F), if possible.

Watering: During the active rest period water plentifully, enough to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but never allow pots to stand in water. In rest period water sparingly, giving enough to make the potting mixture barely moist and allow the top two-thirds to dry out between waterings.

Feeding: Use standard liquid fertiliser once every two weeks in the active growth period only.

Potting and repotting: Use either soil-based or peat-based potting mixture. Callisia fragrans grows fast and needs repotting every spring; large specimens may require 12 or 15cm (5-6 inch) pots. If a plant begins to lose its lower leaves it should be replaced.

Gardening: Callisia fragrans flourishes in warm subtropical climates but can tolerate a mild frost.
Pinch plants frequently to encourage branching and prevent long, scraggly growth.

Position: Callisia fragrans can be planted in part sun to shade. If grown in shade the plants are full and compact; in sun the leaves color more brightly.

Soil: The substrate for Callisia fragrans should be gritty loam. It grows well in fertile soils.

Irrigation: Callisia fragrans prefers moist soil, but once established will tolerate extensive drought. When watered this plant can get of good size. If no rain, water regularly every 1-2 weeks, moistening the soil thoroughly. Allow the soil to dry completely before watering again and do not allow plants to stand in water. During the winter rest period, stop watering.
Expect this plants to shed their leaves while getting established.

Fertilisation: For healthy growth use a fertiliser for flowering plants which can be added to the irrigating water, every 20-25 days. Alternatively, sprinkle the plants with a slow release fertiliser every 3-4 months.

Propagation: Take 5cm long tip cuttings in spring or summer. Insert one cutting of Callisia fragrans in a 5 or 8cm pot of standard potting mixture, and keep in bright filtered light, watering sparingly. After two or three weeks, when the new roots have developed, treat them as mature Callisia fragrans.

Recommended varieties:
Callisia fragrans cv. ‘Melnikoff’ have lengthwise white or cream coloured stripes of different widths.

Availability: Callisia fragrans is often sold bareroot tips which have already aerial roots formed. They will root readily and grow quickly. Alternatively, buy Callisia fragrans seed or palnted in pots or hanging baskets from specialised nurseries.

Note: Callisia fragrans is a known weed in subtropical gardens where forms a dense spreading ground-cover that can rapidly overtake bushland areas. It therefore has the potential to crowd out native species and prevent their regeneration. It becomes extremely aggressive and dominant in the places where it is found.

Uses and display: Callisia fragrans can be used decoratively in many ways: as edgers in hanging baskets, urns and window boxes spillover; as a groundcover beneath Zingiber (Gingers), Musa (Bananas) species and other taller tropicals; or to fill bare spots in the garden. It suits tropical designs.


Foliage – green
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height: 15-30cm (6-12 inch)
Spread: 1.2-1.8mcm (4-6 feet)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 16°C (50-61°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 21°C (61-70°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 10b-11

Callisia fragransCallisia fragransCallisia fragransCallisia fragrans flowersCallisia fragrans Melnikoff

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Tradescantia zebrina

Common name: Inchplant, Wandering Jew, Inch Plant, Cockroach Grass, Purple Wandering Jew, Silver Inch Plant, Silvery Inch Plant, Striped Trad, Striped Wandering Creeper, Striped Wandering Jew, Wandering Zebrina, Zebra Plant, Zebrina

Family: Commelinaceae

Synonymous: Commelina zebrina
Cyanotis zebrina
Tradescantia pendula
Zebrina pendula
Zebrina pendula var. quadrifolia

Tradescantia zebrina

Tradescantia zebrina

Distribution and habitat: Tradescantia zebrina is native to the Gulf Coast region of eastern Mexico. It is a weed of waste areas, disturbed sites, roadsides, urban bushland, riparian vegetation, open woodlands and forests in sub-tropical and warmer temperate regions.
Tradescantia zebrina was widely naturalized in the coastal districts of eastern Australia and on several Pacific islands. It is reported as invasive in many areas in the Pacific, spreading across shady or damp areas.

Description: Tradescantia zebrina are trailing plants that have oval leaves roughly 5cm (2 inch) long, with an iridescent upper surface and a rich purple underside. Two glistering stripes of silvery green surrounding a medium green central portion run the length of the upper surface of its pointed-oval leaves
They produce clusters of small, three petaled flowers in spring and summer. They are purple-pink coloured.

Proper care: Tradescantia zebrina is noted for its ease of culture and tolerance for wide range of growing conditions. It is quick growing and a very decorative, particularly in hanging baskets where its brilliant leaf colouring can be fully appreciated.
Pinch out growing points of lengthy shoots regularly to encourage the production of side branches. Remove all poorly coloured stems in early spring.

Light: Give Tradescantia zebrina plants bright light at all times for close growth and brilliant leaf colour. Plants can normally be grown at a short distance from a sunny window without too much loss of colour, but growth will probably become straggly and colours will tend to fade as this distance lengthens.
Tradescantia zebrina plants can be taken outside in summer. Keep them out of the direct sun light.

Temperature: Tradescantia zebrina likes warmth but they can tolerate temperatures down to 12°C (54°F). In cool conditions they grow very slowly.
Tradescantia zebrina tolerates dry air very well.

Watering: Water actively growing plants moderately, allowing the top couple of centimetres  (1 inch) of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. When plants are resting, give them just enough water to make the mixture barely moist throughout and allow the top half to dry out between waterings. Tradescantia zebrina that have been grown slightly on the dry side show the best colour.

Feeding: Give actively growing plants standard liquid fertiliser about once every two weeks.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move Tradescantia zebrina into pots one size larger when their roots fill the pot. Plant several rooted cuttings together to create a bushy effect – as many as 12 to 15 in a single hanging basket.

Gardening: Tradescantia zebrina is a succulent-stemmed plant that creeps and sprawls and trails all over itself to make a dense groundcover. Pinch stems as needed to encourage dense foliage growth.
Individual leaves will burn and stems will die back, at around 0°C (32°F), but the plant can regrow as long as it do not get colder than minus 7°C (20°F).

Position: Tradescantia zebrina tolerates a wide range of light levels, but prefers bright shade or semi-shade. Place Tradescantia zebrina plants somewhere light, for otherwise it may lose its beautiful colours and turn green. Make certain it does not catch the full light of the midday sun, but it will love standing within some of the soft beams of morning sunshine.
Groundcover plantings can be established effortlessly, then ripped out and moved with ease when the landscape plan changes.

Soil: Tradescantia zebrina prefers rich organic soil and thrives on mulch.
When Tradescantia zebrina is grown as a groundcover, new branches cover the bare stems and fill in the planting space.

Irrigation: Tradescantia zebrina plants like a consistently moist but well-drained soil during the growing season, with reduced watering from fall to late winter.
Water Tradescantia zebrina modestly. It does not like to get too wet. Allow the soil to dry out a little before watering again.

Fertilising: Feed Tradescantia zebrina once a fortnight with diluted fertiliser during the growing season. Do not fertiliser these plants in autumn and winter.

Propagation: Because older leaves dry up leaving bare stems, it is advisable to produce new plants quite frequently. Tip cutting of Tradescantia zebrina, about 8cm (3 inch) long taken in spring or early summer will root easily in an equal-parts rooting mixture of peat moss and sand.
Keep the cuttings in bright filtered light, giving just enough water to make the mixture barely moist, and roots will develop in three or four weeks; plant four to six rooted cuttings together in an 8cm (3 inch) pot of standard potting mixture and treat them as mature plants.
Alternatively, root tip cuttings in water. Place the cuttings in small – preferable opaque – glasses of water and keep them in bright filtered light. They will develop roots 2-5cm (0.8-2 inch) long in two to three weeks and they can then be moved into standard potting mixture and treat them as mature plants.

Problems: Tradescantia zebrina has no serious insect or disease problems.

Root rot and stem rot may occur if soils are kept too moist.

Watch for aphids, mealybugs, scale, whiteflies and spider mites.
Treatment: Use a suitable pesticide to prevent these infestations.

Spindly growth and bare stems: This happens naturally with age for this plant but lack of light, water or plant food can also cause spindly growth. If the plant is old and conditions are fine (water, light etc.) then it could be time to replace it.

All green leaves: Variegated leaves turning green and losing their variegation is most likely due to too much light.

Limp stems is usually a sign that the plant is lacking water.

Toxicity: Contact with Tradescantia zebrina plant sap may cause skin irritations.

Recommended varieties: Tradescantia zebrina is the parent of a number of varieties:

Tradescantia zebrina quadricolor has irregular pink, green, cream and silver stripes on the leaves. It is the most attractive plant of this genus, although it is more difficult to grow.

Uses and display: Tradescantia zebrina is a very popular trailing plant, commonly grown in hanging baskets or pots as a houseplant. Trailing stems cascade down from a hanging basket. Where winter hardy, it is commonly grown as a groundcover that roots at the nodes as stems spread along the ground.
A few pieces poked into the soil amongst container plants in the greenhouse will quickly flow into a colorful winter carpet.
And it can be used to make a gorgeous flower arrangement out of practically anything by sticking a couple of  Tradescantia zebrina sprigs in with it.
Tradescantia zebrina are suitable for mixed plantings in bowls or for training up fan shaped trellises.


Foliage – coloured
Features – flowers
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height: 90-120cm (36-48 inch)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 24°C (50-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 21°C max 24°C (70-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Tradescantia zebrina flowersTradescantia zebrina Tradescantia zebrina Tradescantia zebrina Tradescantia zebrina Tradescantia zebrina quadricolor

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