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Products > Tradescantia sillamontana
 
Tradescantia sillamontana - Cobweb Spiderwort
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Commelinaceae (Spiderworts)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Magenta
Bloomtime: Summer
Synonyms: [T. pexata, Cyanotis somaliensis, Hort.]
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 10-15 F
Tradescantia sillamontana (Cobweb Spiderwort) - A very distinctive low growing evergreen (in frost-free areas) perennial to about 12 to 18 inches tall with thick succulent stems holding 1 to 2 inch long leaves are arranged in two ranks with each 180 degrees across from the other to give a very interesting geometric pattern. The leaves are a dull olive to gray-green color, sometimes blushed purple but the leaves and new stems are so heavily covered with cobwebby silver-white hairs that the plant appears quite silver. In summer appear the single magenta flowers with three petals that are crowded into the terminal leaf axils. Grow in full sun in coastal areas to part sun inland though will tolerate fairly dense shade but the more sun and less water this plant gets, the more silver and compact it remains - plants in shade tend to have elongated stems that are pendulous with much greener foliage. Requires very little water in our coastal gardens but can tolerate it so long as the soil is not poorly draining. This plant is useful in USDA zones 7-10 and will remain evergreen so long as temperatures do not go much lower than 30F but rebounds well from the ground perhaps as low as 10F with a protective mulch. This attractive jewel is one of the more succulent and dry growing of the genus which is often associated with more tropical plants. It makes a wonderful garden plant as an accent, small scale groundcover or a container specimen and is compatible with succulents and other dry growing plants and with a little shade is also a pretty interesting hanging basket plant. It is native to the mountains of Nuevo Leon in northern Mexico. 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 (16081662). 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, who was a collector and traveler and the gardener to the Earl of Salisbury, and not actually collected by either Tradescants. The name for the genus was one proposed by Linnaeus. The specific epithet given this plant in 1955 by Mexican Botanist Eizi Matuda comes from the name for Cerro de la Silla, a saddle shaped mountain (silla is Spanish for "chair") adjacent to the city of Guadalupe in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Other common names for this plant include White Gossamer Plant and White Velvet Wandering Jew. Sometimes mistakenly listed as Cyanotis somaliensis, a valid name for a similarly fuzzy foliaged blue flowered plant in the same family (Commelinaceae) but from Eastern Africa, Rwanda and Somalia and called by the common names Furry Kittens or Pussy Ears.  This description is based on research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in our nursery garden and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments received and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have any 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 sillamontana.