Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bolivian Jew, Turtle Vine, Chain Plant, Inch Plant
Callisia repens

Family: Commelinaceae (ko-mel-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Callisia (kal-LIZ-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: repens (REE-penz) (Info)

Synonym:Tradescantia minima

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

42 members have or want this plant for trade.

Vines and Climbers

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is suitable for growing indoors

Soil pH requirements:
4.5 or below (very acidic)
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From leaf cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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10 positives
3 neutrals
3 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative Ren12 On Mar 9, 2014, Ren12 from Gold Coast
Australia wrote:

Do not get this plant if you are a dog owner!! We have spent $600 on vet bills trying to work out why our dogs had sores all over their backs, only to discover it was an allergy to this plant. We had 2 hanging baskets of it in the area that they slept. If you do not have dogs, it is very easy to grow.

Positive Camillia84 On Jun 25, 2013, Camillia84 from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have been using this plant, as a ground cover for over ten years. Yes---if kept unchecked, will overrun low growing plants, but the nice thing about it----fills in the beds without having to use mulch & not too many weeds will grow through it!
If it tends to get a little out of hand, it's easy to just yank out handfuls of it to keep it under control.
Very fast growing plant, sun or shade. Beautiful in hanging pots.
I use it to soften the edges of my flower gardens from the walkways between them & problem spots, where I can't grow grass---such as under my citrus trees!

Positive humbledoc On Mar 25, 2013, humbledoc from Houston, TX wrote:

About a dozen years ago I was given a container with several plants by someone moving to NH. Only one item survives. I was told it was Bavarian Jew. Kool. My father was Bavarian, and my maternal grandfather was Jewish. But now I know it's Bolivian Jew. Thanks. I have moved twice since then and just a few sprigs were all that was needed to continue having this plant, in hanging planters and as a ground cover. Neat!

Negative Naturalmum On Apr 23, 2011, Naturalmum from Ipswich
Australia wrote:

Hi all
I have this little fellow. Yes it looks great in a pot and around the base of a tree or shrub, but just be VERY firm with it. It withstands drought, flood and smothering. When it is removed it takes whatever it is growing on, be it pebbles, mulch, manure, anything, and leaves bare earth. It smothers anything low growing. I recently reclaimed a garden and found orchids, bromeliads and irises growing(poorly) under it. And yes, the tiniest bit will grow! Also it can irritate dogs skin.

It is a case of grower beware!

Negative Kalpavriksha On Nov 14, 2010, Kalpavriksha from Sarasota, FL wrote:

This pernicious weed jumped into my champaca tree bed (which also has subtropical flowering shrubs and flowering annuals) . Once you have this you'll never get rid of it. While I've not noticed flowers this must return from seed each year. The slightest piece will take root.
The plant is interesting with the compact growth and purplish leaf back color but has become invasive like a dandelion up north.
If you have the choice to grow this in Florida, don't!

Positive tvksi On Oct 30, 2010, tvksi from Paris, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

Traded busy-gardener for the B Jew to replace some lost years ago. love the little booger. Its versitility is amazing, as noted by above members. She sent me a generous pkg and it is growing hand over fist in several containers. I usually allow wild Oxalis or Creeping Charlie to grow in the big potted pants as a live mulch but will be adding this to some of them.

Positive WUVIE On Apr 17, 2010, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This wonderful little Jew has had many a place to live in and about our home. It asks but a decent pot of soil and watering. With good drainage, an excellent choice for potted plants.

Very easy to propagate. Yank up a blob, plop it into another pot and scoot soil over the top. I've started many little pieces in pots with other plants just so it will hang over the side. As someone else mentioned above, a mere snipping with the scissors and it will burst into shape. Lovely. Looks stunning when kept short and tidy.

Easy plant for those who think they have a brown thumb.

Neutral podster On Nov 27, 2008, podster from Deep East Texas, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Although this makes a pretty potted plant, I want to offer a word of advice for those living in a temperate climate.
I am in zone 8a and find if this plant escapes, it will root freely and overwinter.
Pieces ended up in a flower bed this summer and even with heat, drought and neglect, managed to choke out some other plants, including the catnip.
I have reservations about it...

Positive wormfood On Apr 4, 2008, wormfood from Lecanto, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have this plant, thought it was a bridal veil. My Koi, snails, chickens, bob white all eat it.

Positive countrynest On Sep 19, 2007, countrynest from Belleview, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Also known as "Brazilian Jew" and "Honeycomb".Nice green/purple combination.Can be planted as air plants on logs and rocks. Can be use in combinations with Bromeliads.

Positive TheifNite On May 15, 2007, TheifNite from Pineville, LA wrote:

I have really enjoyed this plant. I found it in an AMAZING hanging basket at our annual nursery festival. I was really drawn to it's small foliage It has done really well in sun or shade. It is very easy to grow. Be careful with this as a hanging plant. After reading some of the previous posts of how easily it takes root, I took a look at the ground under my basket and... sure enough. The pieces that have broken off were beginning to take off! Since disovering this fact, I have really enjoyed literally tosing pieces here and there just to see if it will grow. =) I usually remember where I have done this and check after about a week. So far, it's been sucessful almost everywhere. And then there are the times that I come across places that I have tossed and accidentally forgotten. It is then that I learn how fast it can multiply. Dangerous little game. Bolivian Jew is somewhat of the bunny rabbit of the plant world.
Break off a few pieces and share with others. It's a fast grower so kids may like it.... Hanging baskets...moisture keepers in taller container plants...beautiful ground cover...
extremely versitle! Enjoy.

Neutral frostweed On Mar 1, 2007, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Bolivian Jew, Turtle Vine Callisia repens is Native to Texas and other States.

Positive plantladylin On Oct 27, 2006, plantladylin from South Daytona, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant is VERY easy to grow! In my experience it doesn't require much care at all. I originally got this plant many years ago in a hanging basket which I mistakenly hung in a tree in my yard, where small pieces fell to the ground and took root .... I have thrown so much away, it isn't funny. At least it is very easy to pull up! I still have a huge bed of it that has taken over. Makes a nice ground cover in some spots. Unfortunately, it has taken over one of my beds and covered all the low plants in that area! For hanging basket plants, it is perfect! I have never fertilized mine and it grows in full sun as well as full shade. Very care-free plant!

Neutral cactus_lover On Nov 3, 2005, cactus_lover from FSD
Pakistan (Zone 10b) wrote:

Creeping stems forming mats;glabrous,variable leaves to 4 cm long and 1-2 cm wide;spike-like inflorescence;small white flowers.

Positive fbsmith3 On Aug 10, 2005, fbsmith3 from Worcester, MA wrote:

I have had this plant for a few years, not knowing what it is. I bought it for a dollar at Walmart, it was very sickly looking and I felt sorry for it.

I let it grow out and forgot to turn it, so, all of it's vines were on one side. My wife said it was very ugly.

Due to my wifes persitance I cut it all back so it is even on all sides. It has been a month and it looks beautiful. Although small it looks the best ever.
The part I cut off, I threw in the Compost pile and It is still alive, I think I have to tranfer it to another pot.

Positive vroomp On Feb 1, 2003, vroomp from Marietta, GA (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant will grow anywhere you drop a piece as long as it is over 50 and gets occasional water. I have grown this as an annual groundcover for several years just by keeping a few sprigs going through the winter in my greenhouse.

It multiplies and spreads extremely fast creating a luxurious mat of green and purple leaves. It is aslo usefull to keep those potted plants from drying out as it will form a thick mat at the base of taller plants. It also makes excellent hanging baskets that can hang as much as 3' in a single season. Propagation is easy. Simply lay a few small sprigs in moist soil, watering regularly. Roots form in days, and plant spreads out and thickens within 30 days to fill a 10" pot.

Don't over-water as it is a succulent, but mist hanging baskets to keep trailers from drying out in hot climates. As a ground-cover Callisia repens seldom gets more than 6" tall. Strange as it seems this plant is related to Tradescantia (Spiderwort)


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Irvington, Alabama
Jacksons Gap, Alabama
Clayton, California
Pleasant Hill, California
Stockton, California
Belleview, Florida
Brooksville, Florida (3 reports)
Daytona Beach, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fountain, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Lake Mary, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Rockledge, Florida
Sanford, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Satellite Beach, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Venice, Florida
Winter Haven, Florida
Yulee, Florida
Hawkinsville, Georgia
Pineville, Louisiana
Loreto, Massachusetts
Worcester, Massachusetts
Canton, Mississippi
Saucier, Mississippi
Williamsburg, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Prosperity, South Carolina
Monterey, Tennessee
Bulverde, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas
Paris, Texas
Princeton, Texas
Roanoke, Texas

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