Tradescantia sillamontana

Family: Commelinaceae

Countries: Europe, Italy, Mexico, North America, Spain

I am such a fan of Tradescantia sillamontana, I adore this Tradescantia’s woolly foliage!  If I was designing a house for a houseplant flower fairy, the blankets on the fairies’ beds would be made from cosy Tradescantia sillamontana leaves and where these thick leaves have a lovely curve and depth to them – they would make the perfect cot for a flower fairy baby.  The foliage displays a rather sparse covering of hairs when each new leaf first emerges but the silky hairs develop rapidly and soon spin up and cover the leaves and stems in their entirety.  Tradescantia sillamontana is also known as the White Velvet Tradescantia or the Cobweb Plant, as the plant’s gossamer finer hairs really do resemble cobwebs.  These soft hairs aren’t just for decoration, they protect Tradescantia sillamontana plants from losing moisture and shield the plants from being damaged by the intense heat of the sun.  Tradescantia sillamontana plants produce cerise pink flowers in summertime.  Tradescantia have short-lived flowers, but the bright pink tone of the blooms contrasts nicely against the grey of the plant’s foliage.

Tradescantia sillamontana.

Tradescantia sillamontana do best when they’re treated like tender succulents or cacti; give these plants plenty of bright light, as much sunshine as you can – full-on direct sun on a south-facing window sill is an ideal location to grow Tradescantia sillamontana.  This is a great plant for a conservatory or a really bright room.  If you can only offer your houseplants a shaded position, leave Tradescantia sillamontana and grow Tradescantia fluminensis, Aspidistra elatior, a Fittonia, or Aglaonema ‘Cutlass’ instead.

To succeed with Tradescantia sillamontana it’s vital to allow your plants’ compost to completely dry out between waterings.  Tradescantia sillamontana are incredibly drought-tolerant plants and only require occasional watering.  If you’re unsure whether or not to water your Tradescantia sillamontana, wait a bit longer before give your plant a drink.  These plants will require fewer waterings over autumn and wintertime.  Tradescantia sillamontana won’t ever wish to sit in water and don’t want to be potted up in a water-retentive growing media.  These plants thrive in free-draining, peat-free compost and are best grown in small containers with a number of holes at the base to allow the water to run out through the pot and enable air to get in.  Tradescantia sillamontana never want to be misted and this species don’t want to be grown in a humid environment.  They really couldn’t be any easier to care for; success is easy to achieve as long as you can provide Tradescantia sillamontana with bright sunshine, warm temperatures, free-draining, peat-free compost, and occasional watering.

Tradescantia sillamontana are tender plants that are killed by cold temperatures.  Ensure your plants are positioned away from exterior doors and windows that are likely to be opened in wintertime.  Minimum temperature 15C (60F).  Plants grow up to around 30cm (12inches) tall.

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