Callisia Species, Basket Plant, Chain Plant, Inch Plant

Callisia fragrans

Family: Commelinaceae (ko-mel-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Callisia (kal-LIZ-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: fragrans (FRAY-granz) (Info)
Synonym:Spironema fragrans
View this plant in a garden



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Good Fall Color


Foliage Color:





6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


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


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Eight Mile, Alabama

Satsuma, Alabama

Sierra Vista, Arizona

Carlsbad, California

Los Angeles, California

Bartow, Florida

Big Pine Key, Florida

Bradenton Beach, Florida

Brooksville, Florida(3 reports)

Daytona Beach, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Miami, Florida

Naples, Florida

Sarasota, Florida(2 reports)

Sebastian, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Tarpon Springs, Florida

Venice, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida(2 reports)

Mcdonough, Georgia


Galliano, Louisiana

Gonzales, Louisiana

Kentwood, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

Rosedale, Maryland

Madison, Mississippi

Humansville, Missouri

Saint Peters, Missouri

Las Vegas, Nevada

Cincinnati, Ohio

Altus, Oklahoma

Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Duncan, Oklahoma

Madras, Oregon

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Antioch, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

Alvin, Texas

Aransas Pass, Texas

Austin, Texas(3 reports)

Buda, Texas

Copperas Cove, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Desoto, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Garland, Texas

Houston, Texas

Johnson City, Texas

Livingston, Texas

Pleasanton, Texas

Port Arthur, Texas

Roanoke, Texas

San Augustine, Texas

Spring, Texas

Staunton, Virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Lynnwood, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 21, 2017, mrsroadrunner from Madras, OR wrote:

I received this plant from a elderly lady some 7 years ago and her main plant was her mothers, quickly it jumped out of the container I had it in and that is all she wrote!
I kept it going all these years for I like the colors of it. Mind you growing everywhere I started chopping it back throwing it out where it did not take hold here in the high desert, constantly controlling it inside the greenhouse! I never had it bloom and never thought it did since the lady I got this plant from called it something else (she called this a mexican basket plant and grew it outside) I never looked it up. One of these has been blooming now for a good month,omg it smells so good!! To me it smells like cinnamon.
I do question the height these are reported to get because we would joke ... read more


On Mar 29, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council has listed this species as a Category ll invasive. It can damage functioning habitat and reduce species diversity.

Please be careful how you dispose of this houseplant if you live in Florida.


On Oct 27, 2012, melanie81 from Lancashire,
United Kingdom wrote:

I received a Callisia Fragrans plant two days ago and yesterday bought good compost and put the plant into a pot with the compost. Very sadly today three of the leaves have begun drying at the ends and they are now shriveling up(!) I gave it some water but didn't go overboard with the watering because I know they can die quite easily. It's getting enough light and is indoors and in moist compost....

I don't really know what else I can do to save it and am certain that it's gradually dying. Can anyone help?


On Jun 11, 2012, purpleinopp from Opp, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love this plant, at first, then it starts looking like I need to do something to it. I know I don't, but it's just very unkempt and completely random in appearance. If you like to multiply your plants, get some pots ready for this one! This plant is invasive INSIDE, crawling/falling into nearby pots, and causing little voices in your head that urge you to stick a piece in pots with other plants, to fill the "empty spot." I think the flowers smell awesome! One of the flower stalks got broken by the wind so I stuck it in a jar of water. The flowers still open some days, months later, and it has formed roots and several new shoots. The purple color seems almost arbitrary on my plant(s,) not always doing it in full sun or in shade. Inch plant as a common name must refer to how fast i... read more


On Feb 5, 2011, swedienne from Gothenburgh,
Sweden wrote:

Hello everybody! I live in Sweden and I am looking for this plant but cant find it here. Is there anybody who can send me seeds or a small plant? Send me an e-mail if you can to [email protected] so we can make some kind of agreement about how to to it. Regards Maria


On May 15, 2010, gray_53 from Mcdonough, GA wrote:

A relative of mine calls it Grandfather's Pipe (a much more fitting name than Basket Plant, don't you think!)


On Oct 15, 2009, fix766 from Holiday, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

A coworker who is from Russia has just passed on some cuttings of this plant to me. She told me several stories of it's medicinal uses in Russia. Her grandmother has long made elixirs by adding leaves to Vodka and stores them for use. They also milk the sap from leaves and stems. My coworker had been diagnosed several years ago with precancer cells and internal cysts. Her mother gave her an elixir every day for six months. On her next visit to the doctors the cysts were gone as well as the precancer cells.
My friend also gives bits of the leaves to her cat and it has cured it's urinary problems.


On Aug 31, 2009, GardenDetectives from Saint Peters, MO wrote:

Thanks to all who have provided information on this plant. The lady who gave it to me called it Texas Jew and I have never been able to find it again in Missouri. My friend plants it in an old wheel barrel and I have a broken fountain with a large bowl which sits high on a pedastal and fill it with this plant. The babies drape over the large bowl and look very cool. I'm not a very good propigator but this one even roots for me in water where I keep it all winter in a sunny window and move back outside each summer. Next time I share it will be nice to be able to provide the name and data. You guys are the best!


On Mar 31, 2009, texastalley from Johnson City, TX wrote:

I just found out today the actual name of this plant!! About 3 years ago, a member of our local garden club brought it to our annual plant sale. I remembered it immediately as being a plant my grandmother always had around; but I had not seen it for years. No one ever knew the name of it, but now thanks to the DG plant id service, I can now tell everyone what it is!!! I just love this plant. It's so easy to grow and to start new ones. Every year now I have at least 10 hanging baskets of this attention getting plant to donate to our sale....and the customers love it!!!


On Mar 29, 2009, msorganic from Dale, TX wrote:

This is a very old, passalong plant. I grew it commercially in hanging baskets back in the 1990's and never had enough. My retail nursery customers often said it was one of the most unusual plants of this variety they had ever seen. When customers did remember it, it was mostly from a grandmother's garden or some other long-forgotten memory. The flowers smell like honey and last a long time, closing in the evening and opening again during the day. My mother grew it in her garden in zone 8. It died back in winter but always came back in spring. Delightful plant!!


On Feb 20, 2008, plantladylin from (Zone 1) wrote:

I received a couple of pups of this plant in my very first trade here on DG. This plant has grown fast and produces new little "pups"during the summer months! Everything I read stated the flowers were fragrant and I was very disappointed when mine began blooming and I could not detect any fragrance whatsoever. It's been blooming now for a couple of weeks and today when I happened to be out on my deck, I detected a faint sweet fragrance coming from somewhere. Lo and behold, it was the Callisia fragrans! Very nice! Seems the fragrance comes as the blooms age.


On Oct 15, 2007, eltrow from Lynnwood, WA wrote:

This plant is nutritionally beneficial . Russians have been cultivating it for 40-50 yrs and eating as a nutritional supplement and immune boost. I have used it when headaches approach with much success. Chewing the leaves and runners till only fiber remains. Not an unpleasant taste, can be added to salads.


On Aug 10, 2006, heathersplants from Broken Arrow, OK wrote:

I have been propegating this plant for years not knowing what it is. I lived in Memphis TN and now Tulsa OK. It grows wonderfully indoors or out in both areas. So glad to finally know what it is called. However I cannot get mine to bloom. I rescued it from a greenhouse where it had been tossed underneath a bench and was spreading like a weed. They were going to throw it out so I salvaged what I could and one piece had remnants of bloom.

How can I get it to bloom again?


On Jul 5, 2006, podster from Deep East Texas, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Pretty succulent. Too big to look good in a hanging basket. Puts on many runners and new plants. Best to discard the old plant and start a new one as the old plant gets "tired" looking. Mine bloomed freely but fragrance was a disappointment as were the blooms.


On May 25, 2006, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is a Category II Exotic Pest Plant in central and southern Florida. If you want to grow it, please keep it off the ground in a hanging planter. It almost took over my yard when I first planted it. Fortunately it is fairly easy to pull up. I still haven't gotten rid of all of it. I don't think you can kill it unless you pull it up and throw it in a burn barrel. HaHa.


On May 24, 2006, onalee from Brooksville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Very easy to grow, great for a tropical feel around a pool, paito or deck.


On May 15, 2005, mkjones from Aurora, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Not the necessarily LOVELIEST plant......although, in sun, takes on a lovely purplish tinting/mottling. I simply like plants that propagate themselves--fascinating. This is for someone who loves broms or green foliage houseplants. Now, if/when mine ever blooms, may have to up it to "Positive!"

Nifty plant. Just not a favorite.


On Oct 29, 2004, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

I've had this plant for two years now and it's amazing.

DO NOT let it get loose if you are in an area w/o a hard freeze though.

Here I over-winter small plants, taken from the runners, indoors.

Come Spring place it anywhere a Bromeliad would look good.
(It's not a Brom but you will not be able to tell unless you're up close.)

It creates a very tropical look.
It will root anywhere, brick patio, mid-air, ground,.......if there's moisture or humidity it roots!
I have even tucked it in some compost/sphagnum baskets tied to tree branches for a jungle affect..

By Fall the original plants reach about 24" w/ a 12" spread.
Usually there are a dozen or so 3' runners/plant w/ 3-6 plants/ru... read more


On Oct 22, 2004, CanALilyToo from Houston, TX wrote:

I have had my plant for a year. It was found on a ditch in Houston, Texas. I love that this plant is all over the place. I love sharing plants and this one is easy to grow. I haven't had a bloom yet, but I just discovered what this plant was today.


On Mar 8, 2004, thymekiller from Aransas Pass, TX wrote:

I have had mine for about 2 months.It was given to me by a friend, who also wasnt sure exactly what it was. A month ago, it began to produce a flower stalk. It has yet to flower, but it wont be much longer now. Perhaps now that I know what it is, i can care for it a bit better. It appears to thrive on neglect. I will post a pic when it flowers.


On Jan 4, 2004, nipajo from Dallas, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I had put in a comment about this plant before but did not have a picture to go with it. I have this plant all over the place. I was told it was called scottish broom. I do not think that they knew what they were talking about though. This plant never stops putting out runners or new plants. I have put it in the ground this year to see if it would come back, but I will just have to wait. When it is exposed to the sun for any length of time it turns a pale green. But when it is in the dappled shade it produces a light purple to it's leaves. It does appear to look like a bromeliad but does not grow like it at all. I have it for several years and never have seen a bloom on it. It thrives on neglect. In any soil, but looks best in a hanging basket.


On Jan 5, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant thrives in hanging containers, continually putting out new shoots on runners that can be separated and planted. Bright sun brings out the best color, but the plant thrives in shade, also. It can be planted directly into the ground in late spring, and by mid-summer will have formed a good groundcover. It dies at a killing frost, however. It is very easy to over-winter.

It is considered to be an invasive alien in some states; but this is only a problem in areas that get little winter chill.