What Is This Houseplant? (Tradescantia spathacea)

Category House Plants
Tradescantia spathacea is a house plant that requires bright sunlight and very little water. It is also known as boat lily, Moses-in-a-basket, Moses-in-the-cradle and oyster plant.


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September 12, 2017

I got this at the store with no tag on it. It was too pretty to leave behind and I'm wondering what it is and how I should care for it.

Any suggestions are welcome!


September 12, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

Looks like a Moses in the Cradle. It requires very little care or maintenance and will thrive if planted in a suitably bright, sheltered location. However, it does benefit from regular feeding during the summer to encourage abundant foliage growth and a healthy, productive root system.

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September 13, 20170 found this helpful

You are right about these being pretty plants. It is known by several names but mainly oyster plant, Moses in the cradle/Moses-in-a-basket.


  • These can be grown outside in zones 9 - 11 but make great attention getting houseplants.
  • The biggest problem with growing these as houseplants seems to be over watering. Just be sure your plant is in a pot with excellent drainage and does not sit in a saucer.
  • These plants like high humidity. Place your plant on a tray of wet pebbles but be sure the plant is sitting on the pebbles and not in the water.
  • Moses in the Cradle houseplants need very bright light for at least 6-8 hours a day (not direct sun).
  • Always allow the top inch or two of soil to dry out before watering.

Here are a couple of links that will give you complete care instructions as they do sometimes have disease problems but ones that are easily corrected.



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September 18, 20170 found this helpful

I could also be, and I think it is, a cordyline, possibly cordyline fruticosa.

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