I have no idea what this is! Can you help?

graneaAugust 24, 2011


I am a high school teacher, and this year when we had our teacher in-service days, I discovered that a teacher who had retired from our school had left behind all of her houseplants!

One is a shamrock, and I'm good on that one. One is some kind of palm (or palm-like plant): green leaves with red-violet undersides.

But this last one has me stumped! Can anyone tell ms what this is?


I would like to be taking care of it properly! Thank you for any help!

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)


It's a Wandering Jew (Tradescantia) which needs considerably more light than it's been getting.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 12:53PM
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Granea...Like Karen says, your plant is Tradescantia, but I disagree about it being Wandering Jew. Yours is Tradescantia Sillamontana, common name White Gossamer or White Velvet.

Are the leaves somewhat fuzzy? Toni

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 2:37PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I was wondering if it might not be a very sad Callisia repens, White Inch plant. Or maybe, Tradescantia fluminensis.

It doesn't 'look' fuzzy to me, but who knows?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 3:26PM
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Yes, the leaves are fuzzy, though the shape of them seems a bit rounder than the ones in the picture of sillamontana. Also, there is only one leaf or so per segment of the creeper/runner/vine.

I don't know how long the other teacher had it in that pot, but the runners are quite long (they're tucked into the pot at the moment because they keep growing across the desk), and the ones in the pot (near the root) are slightly reddish and don't look too happy, but I'm not sure if its okay to cut it to the root and repot or not.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 4:53PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Just pinch 'em off w/ your fingers & stick them back in the parent plant.

These aren't delicate or fragile plants, just so you know, tho' I appreciate you're being careful, they can take a fair amount of neglect (which they seem to have).

Toni, here's the common name problem again. These to me are plain old WJ (tho' rather anemic looking), just not dark green w/ the purple underside.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 5:37PM
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I wouldn't cut any of the branches down to the roots. The plant has been stressed by not getting enough light and it will need some leaves to get energy once you've moved it into more sun.
I'd just clip the branches maybe halfway, and then put the cut ends in a glass of water to root them.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 8:37PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Your picture: .

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 3:32PM
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I just wanted to say thank you! I made some cuttings (4 of the 5 rooted, so far!) and repotted the remaining plant in a larger pot with better soil. It seems quite 'happy' and the students are enjoying it.

Our unidentified palm and our shamrock plant have also perked up quite nicely.

Thanks for the help!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 2:39PM
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