Boat lily

Tradescantia spathacea | Also known as: Moses-in-the-boat, Spiderwort Rhoeo spathacea, Rhoeo discolor, | Rating: 0 votes | Print / Pdf

At first, tradescantia spathacea looks like any other lush groundcover option, but the vivid purple-coloured underside of its waxy, grey-green, sword-shaped leaves, make it a far more attractive plant. Commonly known as moses-in-the-cradle, this clump-forming evergreen perennial produces tiny, three-petalled white blossoms in purple bracts that seem to be cradled in leaf bases, thus the reference in its name. Moses-in-the-cradle thrives in moist but well-drained loamy or sandy soil, preferably in partial shade, and while it dislikes frost, it’ll simply retreat before returning to its glory as temperatures rise. Wet conditions can be too much to handle, so they are ideally suited to gravel beds and other fast draining locations.

Rate it:
Known dangers?
  • no
Height [m]
  • 0.3
Spread [m]
  • 0.3
Dominant flower colour
  • White
Flower Fragrance
  • No, neutral please
Flowering seasons
  • Mid winter
  • Late winter
  • Early spring
  • Mid spring
  • Late spring
  • Early summer
  • Mid summer
  • Late summer
  • Early autumn
  • Mid autumn
  • Late autumn
  • Early winter
Foliage in spring
  • Green
Foliage in summer
  • Green
Foliage in Autumn
  • Green
Foliage in winter
  • Green
Propagation methods
  • stem tip cuttings
Growth habit
  • Clump-forming
  • Rosette
  • Acidic
  • Neutral
  • Alkaline
Hardiness zone
  • Z11-15
Heat zone
  • H12-1
Winter temperatures [°C]
  • 4 - 0
Heat days
  • 0 - 210
  • well-drained
  • well-drained but frequently watered
Soil type
  • sandy
  • Clay
  • loams
Sun requirements
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
  • Exposed
  • Sheltered
Standard category
  • Exotic, house plants & other
  • House plants
Grown for
  • Ornamental Foliage
Creative category
  • For Beginners
Garden type
  • Indoor or winter garden
Gardening expertise
  • beginner
Time to reach full size
  • 2 to 5 years