Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’

Family: Commelinaceae

Countries: Mexico, North America

Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’ is an intriguing Tradescantia cultivar with olive-green coloured foliage that turns a deep purple colour in light and bright rooms.  I admire this plant’s foliage as it retains an underlying tone of olive-green beneath the purple, which looks beautiful.  This is a fast-growing form of Tradescantia with upright growth that eventually develops a trailing habit as the stems lengthen and the plant ages.  Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’ leaves have a scarce covering of fine, downy hairs.  Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’ produces pink flowers in summertime.

If you’re looking for houseplants for light and bright rooms, then Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’ would be a superb choice.  This is a very easy-going plant that doesn’t want high humidity levels or any special care.

When it comes to watering it couldn’t be easier; you only need to water Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’ when the plant’s compost has dried out.  I recommend using rainwater to water Tradescantias.  I water all of my houseplants with rainwater collected from my roof.  Unless your tap water is supplied by a natural spring, I never recommend using tap water to irrigate any houseplants, as mains water contains salts and treatments that can be detrimental to plants overtime.

My Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’ plant (that you can pictured above) was raised from a single stem cutting taken just over five months ago.  As the stem of my cutting grew, I took further cuttings and placed these all in the same pot of peat-free compost.  I planted my cutting in autumn and so this plant has not yet been treated to bright light, as despite being grown in a sunny room, our spring has been dismal so far with lots of rain and cloud cover, resulting in low light levels.  I look forward to seeing this plant take on the purple colouring that this form is known for…..whenever the spring sunshine arrives!

I potted my Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’ cutting (the plant you can see in the picture above) into a 8cm pot filled with a mix of 2-3 parts of Coir, 1 part sand, 1 part SylvaGrow John Innes Number 3, 1 part perlite, 1 part fine bark.  This sounds like a very precise recipe but actually it was me making use of left over bits and pieces and listing it here for you.  Tradescantias flourish in peat-free compost and they also grow very well indeed in moss.  I often find Tradescantia seedlings springing up on the moss I grow inside my terrariums.

I always recommend growing Tradescantias in rooms where the minimum night-time winter temperature never drops below 13C (55F).

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