Tradescantia (Continental Group) ‘White Giant’

Family: Commelinaceae

Tradescantia (Continental Group) ‘White Giant’ is a hybrid Tradescantia cultivar with variegated leaves that are striped with attractive fresh-green and white colours.  Tradescantia ‘White Giant’ produces white flowers in summertime; the blooms are pretty short-lived.

When I was a child, I passionately and intensely despised variegated plants.  Over the years, I’ve learnt to love some variegated houseplants; however, I don’t love all of them!  I always seem to favour white-coloured variegation over yellow-coloured variegation and I much prefer the fresh-green and white coloured variegated leaves of Tradescantia (Continental Group) ‘White Giant’ to the yellow-toned variegation seen in the foliage of a number of houseplants.

Tradescantia ‘White Giant’ is an easy to grow houseplant that will flourish in rooms that are blessed with bright lighting and bright, indirect or filtered sunlight.  If you have a shaded room, move your plant closer to the window sill or alternatively grow a green-leaved Tradescantia instead.  Green-leaved plants have more chlorophyll in their leaves than variegated plants, making green-leaved plants more resilient in lower lighting, as they can utilise more energy from sunlight through photosynthesis.

Tradescantia (Continental Group) ‘White Giant’.

Like other Tradescantias, Tradescantia (Continental Group) ‘White Giant’ is easily propagated from stem cuttings.  Trim your plant’s stems, leaving at least a couple of leaves on each of your plant’s remaining stems – the stems that you’ve trimmed back to take your cuttings.  Take the cut stems, carefully remove the lower leaves and insert the stems into a small container of free-draining, peat-free compost, or a pot full of moss.  If you don’t have a pot of compost to hand (or you’re pushed for time), simply pop your cut Tradescantia ‘White Giant’ stems into a vase of water.  Whether you opt to pot up your cuttings immediately or place the stems in a vase of water temporarily, these plants will root very quickly and will soon form new plants.

Tradescantia are naturally sprawling creeping plants, their stems that will root at every leaf node that comes into contact with soil or compost.  In the wild, these plants are continually renewing themselves by rooting from new growth and it’s their younger growth that is generally the most vibrant and healthy.  After a while of growing in a container, Tradescantia plants cascade over the side of their planters, which looks very attractive, but while the plants are not making contact with fresh growing media and sending up new stems they will overtime lose some of their vim and vigour.  On account of this, It’s wise to regularly propagate your plants and keep a couple of spare containers of Tradescantia ‘White Giant’ plants at different stages of growth as reserve plants, so you’ll avoid the need to ever purchase new plants again in future.

Tradescantia (Continental Group) ‘White Giant’ are tender plants that can be killed by low temperatures.  I recommend keeping these plants in a warm room where the temperatures won’t fall below 13C (56F) as the minimum temperature at night in autumn and wintertime.

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