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Callisia repens (Turtle Vine)


Scientific Name

Callisia repens (Jacq.) L.

Common Names

Turtle Vine, Inch Plant, Creeping Inch Plant, Creeping Basket Plant, Bolivian Jew


Hapalanthus repens (basionym), Commelina hexandra, Spironema robbinsii, Tradescantia callisia

Scientific Classification

Family: Commelinaceae
Subfamily: Commelinoideae
Tribe: Tradescantieae
Subtribe: Tradescantiinae
Genus: Callisia


Callisia repens is a low growing, evergreen, perennial succulent up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall and spreading up to 4 feet (1.2 m) or more, on stems that root at the joints. The leaves are soft, downy, dark green above and rich purple below and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. The flowers are small, white and appear in late spring or early summer.


USDA hardiness zone 8a to 11b: from 10 °F (−12.2 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Growing Tradescantia is easy and you’ll find the plants to be quite resilient. They’re hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 4-9 and will tolerate more than what one would expect. Tradescantia typically grow in moist, well-drained and acidic (pH 5 to 6) soil, though I have found the plants to be quite forgiving in the garden and tolerant of many soil conditions. Tradescantia plants do best in partial shade but will do equally well in sunny areas as long as the soil is kept moist. These plants like to be kept fairly moist, so water regularly, especially if you’re growing them in containers.

Cutting the plants back once flowering has ceased can often promote a second bloom and will help prevent re-seeding. Cut the stems back about 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) from the ground. Since Tradescantia is a vigorous grower, it’s probably a good idea to divide the plants in spring every three years or so… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Tradescantia


It is native to Mexico, Central America, South America.


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