The Q&A Archives: In search of the name of a house plant

Question: Hello. My name is Gail Wolfe. I live in VA. I am searching for a house plant name my mother has told me about. My grandmother had this house plant when mom was a little girl. She said this plant did not bloom every year. Maybe once every five years or so. The bloom on the outside is a cream or tan color. The bloom only lasts a day. On the inside the bloom is snow white and it appears to have Baby Jesus in a cradle. My mother is 75 now and cannot remember any other information. Any ideas what this plant could be or where I could find out? Thank you!
Gail Wolfe

Answer: Rhoeo spathacea is commonly called Christ in a cradle. It is sometimes sold as Tradescantia spathacea. Christ-in-the-Cradle, is a fleshy rhizomatous herb native to Mexico, with rosettes of waxy lance-shaped leaves. Leaves are dark to metallic green above, with glossy purple underneath. These will reach up to 1 foot long by 3 inches wide. They are very attractive foliage plants that will reach 1 foot tall. They are hardy in USDA zones 9-12 outdoors, or indoors anywhere.

The small white flowers in boat-shaped bracts will bloom all year sporadically, with flushes of heavy blooming in the spring and fall if growing conditions are right.

Rhoeo spathacea are easy to grow, only requiring a well-drained soil mix and full to partial sun or high interior lighting.

Hope is the plant you're trying to identify!

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