Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tradescantia Pallida

With its outstanding purple stems and leaves that are covered with a thin layer of fine hair, the Tradescantia pallida, also known as ‘Purple Heart’ is one of my favourite plants and an ideal choice for individuals searching for something pretty to add to a hanging basket. Although it’s grown primarily for its colourful foliage, this Tradescantia produces pink flowers at the tips of the stems that, although short-lived, are very appealing.


Tradescantia pallida grows rapidly and has no rest period, therefore you can feed once a month throughout the entire year if you’d like. Place it where it will receive at least three to four hours of direct sun daily, which it needs to maintain its deep purple colouring. In shade, the foliage will fade to a dull green shade and the plant will not grow as quickly.

Average room temperatures are ideal all year round. Humidity is not critical but above average levels will be appreciated. Use a fast-draining soil and water thoroughly when the surface of the medium is dry. During the summer, the plant may need to be watered quite frequently if it’s grown in a warm and sunny location. This is an excellent candidate for the hydroculture system. Convert an existing specimen or take cuttings (they root easily), place them in water and pot them up in clay pellets as soon as they develop water roots.

This plant can be grown outdoors but because it cannot survive our Canadian winters, it must either be discarded in the fall or brought indoors when the temperature drops. But in warmer regions it grows outdoors year round. In fact, it grows so vigorously outside and is so tolerant of a variety of conditions that in certain areas of the United States and Australia, it is an invasive weed.

Just goes to show you that one person’s pretty plant is another’s annoying weed.

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