White Gossamer Plant, White Velvet, Cobweb Spiderwort, Hairy Wandering Jew.
ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY AWARD OF GARDEN MERIT
Synonym: Tradescantia pexata H.E.Moore
Tradescantia sillamontana Matuda is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Tradescantia. It was named and described as such by Eizi Matuda in Boletín de la Sociedad Botánica de México in 1955.
The genus, Tradescantia Ruppius ex L., was named by Heinrich Bernhard Ruppius but later described by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753. Some of Mr. Ruppius’s writings were published after his death by Albrecht von Haller and Carl von Linnaeus. The genus Ruppia was named after him.
As of 11-16-21 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 85 accepted species of Tradescantia with a native range from South America through Canada. It is a member of the plant family Commelinaceae with 39 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
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I picked up this Tradescantia sillamontana from Wagler’s Greenhouse, one of four locally-owned Amish greenhouses, on May 23, 2015. Customers bring her plants sometimes and she has quite a collection of her own so you never know what you might find there. Her son actually owns the greenhouse but she more or less takes care of the plants and helps the customers. I have taken her a lot of plants, and in return, she gives me plants as long as they are from her plants and not her sons. I had been wanting to find a Tradescantia sillamontana for a while and I finally found this one.
I have several Tradescantia species, but this one is by far the neatest. I like its hairy leaves and the way they grow opposite each ther all the way up the stems.
Tradescantia sillamontana seems to change color depending on light and temperature.
As with all Tradescantia, they offset freely, root at the leaf nodes, and are easily propagated with stem cuttings.
Origin: Endemic to dry areas of the State of Nuevo León in northeastern Mexico.
Zones: USDA Zones 10a-11b (30-50° F/-1 to 10° C).
Size: 12-18” tall x 16-20” wide.
Light: Sun to part shade.
Water: Moderately during the growing season. Sparingly in the winter.
I always grow my Tradescantia on the front porch where they receive light shade with only a small amount of direct sun. Information online says the more sun and less water the Tradescantia sillamontana gets, the more silver the leaves will be and the plant will also be more compact.
The Tradescantia sillamontana is a native of dry areas of the State of Nuevo León in northeastern Mexico where its hairy leaves protect the plant from the sun and prevent excessive evaporation.
As with other Tradescantia, its flowers emerge from apical growth points or in the axis of the bracts.
According to information online, Tradescantia sillamontana differs from other species in the genus in that they appear to be almost succulent and nearly xerophytic. I just treat them all the same and we get along fine. They get plenty of water during the summer and not that much during the winter.
This was an interesting photo… Two pots of Tradescantia sillamontana growing side by side on the front porch. Plants from one pot have green leaves while the other are more of a purplish color.
Happy plants mean a lot of flowers…
I had to move the potted plants inside for the winter on October 10 (in 2018) because there was an “F” in the forecast. I always take photos of the cactus and succulents and some of the other plants as I bring them inside.
We made it through the winter and now the plants are happily growing on the front porch. I moved them outside in May… The above photo taken on June 16 in 2019 shows a Tradescantia sillamontana o the left and Tradescantia ‘Pale Puma’ on the right.
We made it through the summer of 2019 and temps were once again getting cooler.
I brought the potted plants inside for the winter on October 11 in 2019 because, once again, an “F” was in the forecast.
The potted plants did very well over the summer in 2021 despite a little neglect. I need to take cuttings of all the Tradescantia and give them an overhaul in 2022…
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