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Products > Tradescantia cerinthoides 'Greenlee'
 
Tradescantia cerinthoides 'Greenlee' - Thick-leaved Wandering Jew
  

 
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Commelinaceae (Spiderworts)
Origin: Brazil (South America)
Evergreen: Yes
Red/Purple Foliage: Yes
Flower Color: Purple
Bloomtime: Summer
Synonyms: [Tradescantia blossfeldiana]
Height: <1 foot
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Drought Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30° F
Tradescantia cerinthoides 'Greenlee' (Thick-leaved Wandering Jew) - A compact slowly spreading evergreen perennial to 10 inches tall by about 2 feet wide with succulent herbaceous purple stems bearing clasping elliptic leaves that are narrowed at the base and tip, that are olive green suffused with purple on the upper surface and bright purple below with long sliver hairs along the leaf margins and stems. The interesting new leaves emerge in seemingly opposite pairs that are folded upwards to form fuzzy cup-like wings. In bright light one may see violet-pink flowers in summer but this plant is more for foliage and seems reluctant to bloom much. Plant in light shade or part sun and water regularly to only occasionally - as with many in the genus these plants are surprisingly drought resistant because of the water stored in the succulent stems. The leaf color varies with amount of sun and water with the best color in the brightest light but this plant is useful for a semi-tropical look in dry shade as well but remains more green. Hardy and evergreen in near frost free gardens but will freeze back as temperatures go below 20-25° F. We received this plant just as Tradescantia sp. from garden designer and grassman John Greenlee but believe we have correctly identified this plant as Tradescantia cerinthoides, a plant originally described by the German botanist Karl (Charles) Sigismund Kuth in 1843 that comes from the southern states of Brazil, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. It is also known under the synonym Tradescantia blossfeldiana. With its hairy leaf margins this plant also has affinities to the Cobweb Spiderwort, Tradescantia sillamontana. The name of the genus honors the English naturalists and plant collectors John Tradescant (ca. 1570s – 1638) or possibly his son John Tradescant the Younger (1608–1662). It was at one time believed that John Tradescant the Younger first brought the Virginia Spriderwort, Tradescantia virginiana, back to England in 1637 but some contend that the timeline suggests it more likely the plant was given to John Tradescant the elder and not collected by either Tradescants and the name for the genus was one proposed by Linnaeus.  This description is based on our research and the observations we have made of this plant as it grows in containers at our nursery, in our own garden and in other gardens. We also appreciate receiving feedback of any kind from those who have additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Tradescantia cerinthoides 'Greenlee'.