Tradescantia, Moses-in-a-Basket, Boatlily, Oyster Plant 'Hawaiian Dwarf'

Tradescantia spathacea

Family: Commelinaceae (ko-mel-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tradescantia (trad-es-KAN-tee-uh) (Info)
Species: spathacea (spath-ay-SEE-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Hawaiian Dwarf
Additional cultivar information:(aka Variegata)
Synonym:Rhoeo bermudensis
Synonym:Rhoeo spathacea nana variegta
Synonym:Tradescantia bermudensis



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


Grown for foliage


Good Fall Color

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

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)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Irvington, Alabama

Brea, California

Hayward, California

Placentia, California

Pleasant Hill, California

Brooksville, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Naples, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Port Charlotte, Florida

Riverview, Florida

Augusta, Georgia

Tucker, Georgia


Gonzales, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Scott, Louisiana

Clinton, Mississippi

Charlotte, North Carolina

Dallas, North Carolina

Fort Mill, South Carolina

Aransas Pass, Texas

Austin, Texas

Broaddus, Texas

Brownsville, Texas

Freeport, Texas

Houston, Texas

Port Arthur, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 23, 2018, Luminous from The Hague,
Netherlands wrote:

The epithet bermudensis doesn't exist. That name is nowhere to be found at the taxonomic websites. Who and how came up with that name?...


On Apr 26, 2016, Chillybean from (Zone 5a) wrote:

I bought this plant merely because it is a Tradescantia. I have three varieties of US native Tradescantias outside and thought it would be fun to have one inside. Other than long narrow leaves, there seems to be no similarities.

My experience with this plant was it started dying within a month of purchase. If I remember it was early summer 2015 when I got this. I do not often have success with inside plants, so I wasn't surprised. I let it sit figuring I'll toss it out later, when it started growing again. I have gone long periods of not watering, now I am remembering about once a week. I recently moved it to a different part of the house because I needed the original spot for starting seeds. So far, so good!

One thing I notice is that the leaves clo... read more


On Nov 22, 2013, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

Picked one up in spring or early summer to give it a try. Previous Rhoeo's I tried almost 20 years ago never did too well,and then would rot out in winter. Well,so far so good into almost December. Its in a pot,on the porch protected from cold rains and I hope, snails. It outgrew that spring pot and is in a 8" for for now,a few shoots filling in. And hopefully, the bay area's run of mild winters will go on..
APRIL 14 EDIT: It made it through the winter on my front porch and is now off and growing new larger growth. It survived a brief deep freeze in December,yet this was our warmest winter on record. Warmest,not mildest,so it must be somewhat cold hardy. BAIT,like you've never baited,and filtered sun works for me. Full sun could be better,I just haven't tried that yet. It looks t... read more


On Feb 7, 2013, sly2kusa from Placentia, CA wrote:

Bought this gorgeous plant last Summer out a Home Depot for some shaded gardening I was doing for my Mom, and it was such a standout! It finally started to have some problems around January this year, but I cut back the dead stuff, and it has begun to grow new shoots again. Great color, but did not get any flowers from it. It's in a small sized container that it came in. Have not fertilized it yet, but from the looks of the pH it tolerates, I might try some Nitrogen based organic stuff later in Spring this year.


On Oct 4, 2012, creash from Logansport, IN wrote:

While this plant is supposed to be hardy, I just can't seem to get mine healthy. I water it more, water it less, less light, more just won't pull through. I can't seem to find any conditions this plant will do well in.