Houseplants forum: Let's discuss/compare

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Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Cinta
Sep 5, 2014 12:06 PM CST
I found Tiffany's discussion of plant very interesting and thought it might be a good subject for us to compare some plants that we have or have observed that do not fit what we think a plant may be because of growing conditions, mislabeled and out right lies from growers that put names on plants just for fun to sell them.

I have two plants that really confuse me.

This name thing is difficult and I think we as plant lovers go a little crazy. But it is very interesting how plants mutate. I have one plant that I have picked up through the years. I do mean literally picked up. During my travel I would find plants on the ground and put them in my purse and plant when I return home. Then I would buy what looked like the same plant but is totally different in growth.

An example Rhoeo Tricolor

I have picked up this plant in Puerto Rico on the ground growing in the cracks of the street. I do not know if the pic shows the difference but. The leave is about an inch wider and very little white varigation on the top of the leave. It is also thicker and feels more like a succulent leaf. If you bend the leaf it would break like a succulent leave. I have seen it sold as a Rhoeo Tricolor.

Rhoeo Tricolor
Thumb of 2014-09-05/Cinta/1baf0c

This one I purchased at a local nursery and was named Rhoeo Tricolor - It has more white through the leaf. If the leaf was not varigated it could be confused as a spider plant. The leaves have the same thin weight of a spider plant.
Thumb of 2014-09-05/Cinta/75c89b
Thumb of 2014-09-05/Cinta/0f840b

My other plant is Tradescantia pallida aka Purple Heart
One has small leaves and makes a more hanging basket type plant.
Thumb of 2014-09-05/Cinta/eb1baa

I purchased one that had a tag name as Purple heart but the leaves are bigger and does not trail. It stays compact with large leaves. It blooms the same pink flowers as the trailing one.
Thumb of 2014-09-05/Cinta/4ff3be
[Last edited by Cinta - Sep 5, 2014 12:26 PM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Sep 5, 2014 1:26 PM CST
Very nice Cinta!

I wonder if your "Rhoeo" could be two different cultivars?: http://garden.org/plants/search/text.php?ppid=536513&q=Trade...

I wonder if the difference in leaf width Purple Heart: Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida 'Purple Heart') could be due to different culture/growing conditions? Or, perhaps there are different cultivars with different leaf widths? http://garden.org/plants/search/text.php?q=Tradescantia+pall...
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Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Cinta
Sep 5, 2014 4:59 PM CST
[quote="plantladylin"]Very nice Cinta!

I wonder if your "Rhoeo" could be two different cultivars?: http://garden.org/plants/search/text.php?ppid=536513&q=Trade...

I wonder if the difference in leaf width Purple Heart: Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida 'Purple Heart') could be due to different culture/growing conditions? Or, perhaps there are different cultivars with different leaf widths? ]http://garden.org/plants/search/text.php?q=Tradescantia+pall...

The one picked up from the ground I do not fault that poor rescue. But the store that I saw it actually was named Tricolor Rheo is my problem. We pick up plants with the same name and they are different plants. Lucky they do both seem to like the same growing and water conditions.


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skylark
Sep 6, 2014 6:54 PM CST
i think Rhoeo (Tradescantia spathacea) is very common in the tropics - it withstands very harsh hot sun. i've seen it used as ground cover in scorching mexico. and as it happens, i just put up a multi-plant pic with it - it was wedged high in the tree - so probably birds seeded it. it's ubiquitous in south fl - it grows in the ditches! it's a WEED!
so, obviously plants sold in nurseries might be hybridized to look prettier (as your striped one), but they're obviously related. so they use the same name for all kinds of similar hybrids, but actual plants might differ quite a bit and be a bit more touchy compared to the original.
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Cinta
Sep 7, 2014 12:43 PM CST
skylark, In my travels it was amazing the things we love, pay a high cost and treasure are considered weeds in other tropical countries. I picked up a lot of plants on the ground.
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skylark
Sep 7, 2014 4:31 PM CST
it's now impossible to bring them in though, unless you have a phyto certificate from the nursery. FL is much easier that way. even hawaii is doable with certain export nurseries providing certificates. but fl has lotsa plants to be had for us, northerners. i am looking forward to my next hunt coming ;).
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Cinta
Sep 7, 2014 11:48 PM CST
skylark said:it's now impossible to bring them in though, unless you have a phyto certificate from the nursery. FL is much easier that way. even hawaii is doable with certain export nurseries providing certificates. but fl has lotsa plants to be had for us, northerners. i am looking forward to my next hunt coming ;).


I never did the nurseries it was always found goods that some how jumped in my cosmetic case and hitched a ride home with me. The hotel I was staying in the nursery was changing out the plants and I asked what they were going to do with them and they said they were going to trash them I asked for them and they gave them to me.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Sep 8, 2014 10:19 AM CST
Most house plants are horrible weeds if let loose in FL. Former house plants that are horrible weeds here: Asparagus fern 'Sprengeri,' spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum.)

Oyster plant confuses me too. Rhoeo has been renamed Tradescantia. I think the 'Tricolor' part is a cultivar name. The species is T. spathacea. Never been able to get any of it into any direct sun w/o burning the leaves, so gave up. Looks great, but has never been as colorful as when I first brought it home and then proceeded to burn it. Seen so many pics of them growing in tons of sun. Confused!

Cordyline fruticosa (Ti plant) has the same issue. I've decided it's impossible to acclimate existing leaves of these two. One can either keep it in shade, or burn the heck out of it in the spring and have a couple awkward weeks until new leaves grow back.

There are sports/chimeras of Tradescantia pallida, but does anyone actually breed for cultivars? IDK? This is another very schizo plant though, sometimes hairy, sometimes not, fading to plain green in less light, wildly variable leaf size, no idea when its' bloom time is supposed to be. I think you'd need to put 2 pieces in the same spot of ground to know if they were really different. I know I started with 1 little pot that I brought from OH, and it doesn't look the same in the ground vs. various pots. Hardy here, always looks better in the ground than pots.

One of the fascinating things to me is the way some vines can completely morph shape, color, size of leaves if they are able to reach maturity. Tropical wannabes in temperate locations don't usually see such things from their captive potted plants. A Pothos or Philodendron climbing up a tree with giant, mature leaves can be shocking, and hard to believe it's the same as the little hanging basket plant with the 2.5" leaves.

There are cultivars of many plants out there, but for most, I prefer the plain species. Especially in regard to variegated creepers/ground cover type plants. They usually revert anyway. Really lost my taste for named cultivar plants when I spent so much $$ on perennials in OH that didn't perform like the plain species, or appear as different as advertised. Also, unless one orders plants though the mail/internet, knowing about some cultivar that looks cool has no bearing on whether you'll ever see it at a store.

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Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Cinta
Sep 8, 2014 11:17 AM CST
Purple do not get me started on variegated plants. My favorite summer plant is Canna Stuttgart. I have had it for several years and I have seen some people say their plant reverted to green so I am constantly taking out any green leaves I see to prevent it from reverting.

I noticed the variegation is not as pretty or sharp on the new plants I see in the nurseries and I want to preserve my old plant not have to buy one of the inferior plants sold today. I even keep it growing as a houseplant through the winter.

The variegation in this plant is awesome and it does good in the shade.
[Last edited by Cinta - Sep 8, 2014 11:18 AM (+)]
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Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Cinta
Feb 17, 2016 2:32 AM CST
I am still hung up on this plant. Hilarious! Picked one up at Lowes this week. I will see how it responds this summer. It looks a little different than the others I have purchased but it could be because it is winter.


Thumb of 2016-02-17/Cinta/97de55

Name: Deborah Pryor
Orangeburg, SC Zone 8a (Zone 8a)
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Deebie
Feb 17, 2016 7:37 AM CST
No comment. Mine died. It was so finicky. No matter what I did to keep it happy, it just continued to decline. I know one mistake I made was giving it too much sun. The next time I get one, I'm going to do like Purple does and plant it outside and then let it figure out what it wants. Whistling
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Cinta
Feb 18, 2016 2:13 PM CST
I grow mine in full blazing sun and bog condition. I know everyone is conditioned that every pot must have drainage but it is not how I grow most of my plants. I do know this plant does not like to dry out.

When I saw it growing in the ground in Puerto Rico it was growing in an area that was so wet you could see the water above the soil line. I wish I had taken a pic of the area they had planted with Sansaveria, elephant ear and this plant growing like weeds in the bog garden at the entrance of the facility.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Feb 18, 2016 5:40 PM CST
That could be why I don't have pic-worthy oyster plants lately. Too dry.
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Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
Feb 18, 2016 7:40 PM CST
This is not the best my Oyster Plant has looked. Its just coming out of the GH. Plus i took the pic at night and typical rhoeo they sort of close up. Oyster Plant is never really happy being indoors. It looks like the palm in the center didn't make it either? Anyway. Note the change in colors. The variegation disappeared in the plant in the left but it kept the beautiful purple underside. Keep maybe a better pic in tomorrow )
Thumb of 2016-02-19/ShadyGreenThumb/92e046

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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Feb 18, 2016 7:51 PM CST
Yes in very warm and very humid areas some of the tropicals really behave differently. LIke Sanseveria, they can take being flooded for months as long as kept always warm like in the high 80's and outdoors. But do it here in our fluctuating day and night temperatures you will get a dead plant. And our rains here as seasons change can be very cold rain. In the tropics rain is warm too.

I have seen some other tropical plants in the Phils grown in those bog like conditions especially when it is already typhoon season with those incessant rains, but soil there is loam soil and some volcanic parts too and the plants are planted in ground, so there is much wiggle space for the roots and the plants flourish so well.
Name: Deborah Pryor
Orangeburg, SC Zone 8a (Zone 8a)
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Deebie
Feb 18, 2016 8:16 PM CST
The solid color ones seem to grow better than the variegated one. The one I had seemed to have thin variegated leaves. They never grew very large. It didn't seem to like our heat/humidity. I wonder if there is more than one variety? Or maybe I had weak plants to begin with. Shrug!
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
Feb 18, 2016 9:00 PM CST
But I didn't plant the solid green one, that is if you are talking about the Oyster Plants. @Deebie It just grew that way. I have seen them grow in full sun in flowerbeds on the beach in Hawaii. If that isn't full sun and humidity, IDK what is? Then again, there's their soil. Hawaiian fertile SOIL!!
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Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Cinta
Feb 19, 2016 10:21 AM CST
Debbie that was why I started this post last year. If you read the beginning I posted the pics of each one I have picked up and purchased. There are so many with the same name I was wondering if anyone else had this experience. I like the thin leaf one best because it seems to have more color.

Cheryl, I think the plant does best with bog conditions at least that has been my experience. Heat and sun is not the problem but it must stay moist or it goes down fast. I learn that lesson the hard way because I do not water plants.

When they are indoors in the winter they are lucky to get one drink all winter. As I said the only way I have been able to keep it alive and happy is to grow it in a pot without drainage holes and I plant it with moisture beads.

I use to see the solid green one in Florida planted in the shade but in areas that were bog like conditions. I would see it planted with their Ginger plants which like the same type conditions of moist and shade. I do not remember seeing it in Hawaii.
Name: Deborah Pryor
Orangeburg, SC Zone 8a (Zone 8a)
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Deebie
Feb 19, 2016 11:59 AM CST
Cinta, I do remember the discussion, but forgot about your comparison photo. I agree with you that the oyster plants have got to be different plants and not necessarily changes due to cultivation. And the purple heart seems to have the same type of differences/varieties, unrelated to cultivation. I too have the squat one that looks good in a hanging basket and the tall one that I keep planted outdoors, as it would not do well in a basket. If I get my hands on another oyster plant, I'm going to give it lots of moisture and hope keeps it happy. I like the idea of planting the oyster plants with gingers. That should be interesting. Thumbs up
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Feb 19, 2016 1:17 PM CST
There are a multiple cultivars of T. spathacea. Some are listed here, but not all are shown:
http://garden.org/plants/search/text.php?q=tradescantia+spat...

Invasive in many humid areas:
http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=493
http://floridata.com/Plants/Commelinaceae/Tradescantia%20spa...

Any succulent that prefers to stay moist is usually a sign of a plant that needs tons of air in the soil while moist, and that's what I've observed from all non-spiderwort Tradescantias I've had, they act like epiphytic cacti. Otherwise, the older leaves are lost too soon from letting peaty potting soil dry enough to not rot roots, or plants simply rot and die (overwatering.) Easier said than done for me, don't have the funds for the "recipe" mixes known to perform so well in this regard. I'm always wingin' it when filling pots.

Any variegated plant could revert and lose its' variegation. (Different from seasonal variation due to various light levels.) I've seen that happen on quite a few plants over the yrs, from potted house plants to landscape plants.
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