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Tradescantia sillamontana (White Velvet)

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Scientific Name

Tradescantia sillamontana Matuda

Common Names

White Velvet, White Gossamer Plant, Hairy Wandering Jew, Cobweb Spiderwort

Synonyms

Tradescantia pexata

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Tradescantia sillamontana is a low-growing perennial with fleshy stems, holding leaves that are arranged in 2 ranks. This plant is one of the most succulent and most attractive species of the genus Tradescantia. It grows up to 18 inches (45 cm) tall. Leaves are a dull olive to gray-green, sometimes blushed purple and up to 2 inches (5 cm) long. The leaves and new stems are so heavily covered with cobwebby, silver-white hairs, and the plant appears quite silver. Flowers are magenta, with three petals that are crowded into the terminal leaf axils. They appear in summer.

Tradescantia sillamontana - White Velvet

Photo via green-24.de

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Growing Tradescantia is easy, and you will find the plants to be quite resilient. These plants typically grow in moist, well-drained and acidic (pH 5 to 6) soil. Tradescantias do best in partial shade but will do equally well in sunny areas as long as the soil is kept moist.

You can grow Tradescantia indoors too as long as suitable conditions are given. Provide the plant with either a soilless mix or loam-based potting compost and keep it in bright filtered light. You should also pinch out the growing tips to encourage bushier growth.

Allow it to spend warm spring and summer days outdoors, if feasible. During its active growth, water moderately and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every four weeks. Water sparingly in winter.

These plants like to be kept fairly moist, so water regularly, especially if you are growing them in containers. Cutting the plants back once flowering has ceased can often promote a second bloom and help prevent re-seeding. Cut the stems back about 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) from the ground. See more at How to Grow and Care for Tradescantia.

Origin

Native to the New World from southern Canada south to northern Argentina, including the West Indies.

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