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Products > Callisia fragrans
Callisia fragrans - Basket Plant

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tropical
Family: Commelinaceae (Spiderworts)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Red/Purple Foliage: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring
Synonyms: [Tradescantia dracaenoides, Hort]
Height: <1 foot
Width: 2-4 feet
Exposure: Light Shade/Part Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): High Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32 F
Callisia fragrans (Basket Plant) - A low growing perennial with 6 to 10 inch long waxy green leaves arranged alternately with the bases overlapping so tightly that they appear to be in rosettes. The leaves have a slight purplish color underneath and on the upper margins when in bright light. Trailing stems grow out over the ground or upward with support. Although not blooming regularly in our climate, it occasionally has small, white fragrant flowers arranged in clusters of three in terminal panicles. Best planted in well-drained soil that is regularly irrigated in part sun to shade (purple color best with more light). Flourishes in warm subtropical climates but can tolerate a mild frost in the cooler winters of coastal California . Makes a good groundcover in mild climates and is good in a hanging basket. In bright light it lays flat and takes on the look of a cluster of bromeliads but when in deeper shade it grows upright and more closely resembles a Dracaena. Tradescantia dracaenoides, an invalid botanical name, and the common name, false bromeliad, are both associated with this plant for this reason. Callisia fragrans comes from central Mexico south to Columbia and it has naturalized in many subtropical areas where it is considered to be a garden weed and there often referred to as Inch Plant for the tendency to inch out on its stems, which root on contact with moist soil. This spreading nature has led some to also call it Octopus Plant. In some parts of the world it is used as an herbal to treat a wide array of maladies. We first received this plant in 2003 from the Horticulture Department at the University of Florida, Gainesville.  The information on this page is based on our research that has been conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in the nursery, in the nursery's garden, and in other gardens where it has been observed. We also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing  Callisia fragrans.