Callisia repens

Family: Commelinaceae

Countries: Argentina, Central America, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South America, United States, Venezeula

Callisia repens is a low growing, tender herbaceous perennial plant from Mexico, North, Central, and South America.  Plants thrive in partially shaded conditions, in shallow, free draining, acid soils.  This easy-to-grow plant readily adapts to a range of circumstances; tolerating both brighter and more shaded environments, as well as moist, humid, and drier conditions and neutral compost and soils; making Callisia repens a superb houseplant, thats hard to kill!

However, in the wild landscape, in tropical and temperate areas, Callisia repens has spread from gardens and is now an invasive plant whose mat-forming, naturally spreading and bushy form now covers the ground in many areas of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Uganda, Australia, and South Africa.  In these areas, Callisia repens can be found carpeting the soil, preventing native plants from establishing themselves.  Plants succeed in very shallow soils and will happily grow over stony ground and climb up stone walls, enabling Callisia repens to easily colonise new areas of ground.  Never discard plants or dump them by the road, as given the right environment, Callisia repens (and other non-native plants) will establish themselves and cause extensive, lasting damage to the environment.

Plants can be grown in containers or in hanging baskets, which will show off Callisia repens naturally trailing form.  This is tender plant that grows well in warm conditions.  Ensure your plants are always protected from cold temperatures of 12C (55F) and below.

Callisia repens is often grown as a food plant for reptiles and birds; if you’re considering growing this plant to feed your pet, please check with your veterinary surgeon first.

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