Tradescantia, Moses-in-a-Basket, Boatlily, Oyster Plant 'Vittata'

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: Vittata


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Good Fall Color


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


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:

Unknown - Tell us


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

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:

Blooms all year

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

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

From leaf cuttings

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


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

Anniston, Alabama

Apopka, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Mount Vernon, Illinois

Oceanport, New Jersey

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 12, 2010, can2grow from Valparaiso, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is listed on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant List as a Category I exotic invasive plant.


On Feb 21, 2010, hmbgerl from Folsom, CA wrote:

Grew well even in hot Folsom, CA summer (9b). It was in a section of the garden that received shade by early afternoon and it was slightly shaded by another plant's palm-like foliage. Purple foliage is beautiful and adds low-height contrast to gardens.

It did not make it through the winter rain because it became over watered. Other surrounding plants were fine which means it seems to be more sensitive to over-watering than other plants.


On Jun 23, 2007, triciart from Oceanport, NJ wrote:

I just returned from the local (New Jersey) plant shop where I learned the name of this plant. I was given a small plant which contained one stem with several green/purple-on-reverse leaves on top, and no name tag, by a friend last year (April 2006). As usual, I almost killed the plant watering either too often or too seldom. A leaf would fall off and I never knew if it was too much water or too little. It sat on a windowsill facing east and received sunlight in the morning. It lost several leaves and was starting to look like a palm tree.

After purchasing several African Violets and starting to pay more attention to watering and feeding with African Violet fertilizer, my Moses in the cradle started sending out new plants from the base of the old stem. Now it is reall... read more