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Callisia Speces, 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:Hapalanthus repens
Synonym:Spironema robbinsii
Synonym:Tradescantia minima


Vines and Climbers

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Spring Hill, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Venice, Florida

Winter Haven, Florida

Yulee, Florida

Hawkinsville, Georgia

Falmouth, Kentucky

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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 6, 2018, toffeepops from Manila,
Philippines wrote:

I bought a hanging basket of this and was told it's called an "afro plant". We hung it in a partially shaded area and only watered it when it looked a little limp and it grew happily during April rains in the summer. After a few months it suddenly looked sickly - the new leaves that grew were smaller and the stems were thin. I cut a handful of healthy looking stems and propagated them in tiny hanging plastic pots. I noticed they love the sun and grew better in loamy soil. The medium it was planted on when I bought it was a bit sandy and had a little peat so I changed it all into loam. It also lives even with a little sprinkle of soil on top of it or even if you just lay it on top of the soil. Just throw a finger length cutting on top of a pot and it will perk up the next day trying to fin... read more


On Aug 10, 2015, Anton15 from Hong Kong,
Hong Kong wrote:

I have this growing as a ground cover in a large Thai pot, full sun and am delighted. It covers thickly in a lovely even mat. All I do is trim the edges to keep it in exactly the shape I want. I found it was growing poorly in the beginning so began watering more, everyday and it took off. Just feel it, if its turgid its OK if its a bit soft and lax it needs water. It also does fine without water for a few weeks, picking up immediately you do water again. Our high humidity keeps it happy if Im away and no one gets to watering it. In drier climates this might not work.

I bought another one which is a whitish pink, it doesn't seem to be quite as happy, slower growing, could be the soil in that spot is not acidic enough as it just sits there.

A big plus about thi... read more


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.


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!


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!


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!


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!


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.


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.


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...


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.


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.


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. I... read more


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.


On Oct 27, 2006, plantladylin from (Zone 1) 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!


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.


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.


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... read more