It is a perennial plant of rapid growth and hanging or creeping size that usually does not exceed 40 cm high.The most interesting are its leaves (about 15 cm long), purple and elongated. The flowers are not very decorative but they have a nice purplish-pink color. They bloom towards the end of summer.
They are used in pots or planters for terraces and balconies or as a cover in front of other plants with yellow flowers (Pachystachys lutea, Phlomis fruticosa, Euryops pectinatus) or gray leaves (Centaurea, Artemisia, Santolina, Cineraria maritima). They can be grown in coastal gardens.
These Tradescantia pallida can thrive in sun, shade and semi-shade exposures . They can resist some sporadic and low intensity frost.
They are not demanding with the type of soil that can grow even in the calcareous type. The planting in its final place will be done in spring.
It is a plant that tolerates the drought so that the risks will be moderate.
They can be pruned in early spring to eliminate old branches and control their growth.
It is an easily cultivated plant and resistant to pests and diseases.
It is easy to multiply them , in spring, summer or autumn, from cuttings.
Characteristics Of The Tradescantia Pallida
It is a plant that resists many environments and situations well. They need a lot of light and they can not withstand the dark and very humid places. However, they are able to adapt to almost any type of climate and soil as long as they remain exposed to direct light.
Its common name of purpurine obviously comes from the purple color of its leaves. It is a lively silver with a creeping size of 1 meter in diameter. The most normal thing is that it does not exceed 30 cm in height since it has stems that are not too strong. To make it grow healthy and as long as possible we must support it on the wall or some other structure so that it grows.
The leaves are of the lanceolate type and are mostly surrounding the neck of the stem. They have a length of about 7cm and about 3cm in width. When it blooms, it does so with small flowers that are usually only 1 cm in diameter. They are flowers that are grouped forming a terminal structure of the stems. It usually flourishes in the spring and summer when the temperatures are higher.
In winter it is able to withstand temperatures between 8 and 10 degrees , although if we place it in direct sunlight there will be no problems. The best temperature you can have for your stay to be optimal is about 18-20 degrees.
It is a hanging plant that can tolerate drier environments. Even so, if during the summer the heat tightens a lot and the environment is too dry, you have to increase the frequency of watering. The important thing here is to keep the substrate humid always so that the plant can be outdoors and not have problems. On the other hand, in winter the risks will have to be reduced.
Uses of the Tradescantia pallida
This plant is very used in patios. It is perfect to make a good combination of colors with other flowers. It provides the exotic touch that our patio or garden needs and that matches well with colors of walls of all kinds. We can also have it in pots, in beautiful hanging baskets or in flower boxes. Being a hanging plant , we will be giving more diversity to the decoration of our exteriors and interiors.
The only downside that can be seen to this plant is that it has great invasive power. In many plantations where the glitter was cultivated, it has managed to escape from the cultivation area and has multiplied to such an extent that it is considered a weed. Therefore, we must be careful in the garden because it could invade the living space of other plants.
It is also used in many public gardens in cities, for the decoration of numerous roundabouts and even hung on many ledges. It is a whole exotic decorative plant that is worth having.
Within the Tradescantia family we also find other precious specimens for decoration such as Tradescantia zebrina , Tradescantia fluminensis, Tradescantia albiflora, Tradescantia spathacea, Tradescantia sillamontana, Tradescantia brevicaulis, Tradescantia multiflora, and Tradescantia virginiana .
One of the most common uses is to cover plants with more gray or yellow leaves because of the great combination of colors that gives us. It combines very well with other plants such as Pachystachys lutea, Phlomis fruticosa, Euryops pectinatus, Centaurea, Artemisia, Santolina and Cineraria maritima.
How To Care For The Tradescantia Pallida
As we mentioned before, the capacity of this plant to adapt to all types of climates, environments and terrains is totally spectacular. You just need a direct sun exposure or avoid too dark and / or humid areas. They are not demanding about the type of soil. They are capable of thriving in calcareous soils.
Although its care is very simple, even admits drought, it is not recommended for places with frost or temperatures below -3ºC. If we have it in a pot we have to let the upper layer of the substrate dry between irrigation and irrigation, an excess of water can cause it to rot .
The purple tradescantia likes sunny places , but also tolerates shade. In fact, if you do not have enough light you will see that the leaves lose intensity. It is advisable to fertilize every fifteen days during the growth period and every three weeks in the rest period.
The planting is advisable to do it in the spring time, which is when temperatures are higher and have more energy and hours of sunlight to adapt to new environments. It is important to take this into account, since the plant needs a sufficient period of time to adapt to the new type of soil and climatic conditions. During the spring season there are no frosts or low temperatures. We remember that its optimum temperature is between 18 and 20 degrees.
When watering, we will need more abundant watering during the summer and spring seasons. Always keep the substrate moist. If it begins to dry it is already a sign that you have to water. In winter it is easier that the plant does not have to be watered so often, since the substrate stays more humid and the rainfall irrigates it on its own.
Maintenance and Propagation tasks
For optimal growth, it is advisable to fertilize it once a year with some organic fertilizer. Natural compost can be a good option. We can manufacture our own compost to serve as fertilizer for our plants. The time in which we must fertilize is in spring so you can make the most of all the nutrients and flourish in more quantity.
This plant does not require much maintenance, but if we want to keep it alive and in perfect conditions we must do some tasks such as pruning at the beginning of spring. This way we will be guaranteeing that the oldest branches will be eliminated and we will leave space for the new ones. In addition, we will be controlling its growth to prevent it from becoming an invasive plant.
It is quite resistant to pests and diseases, so you will not have many problems. From cuttings in spring, summer or fall, it is quite easy to multiply. Therefore, be careful not to spread too much.
I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.