Tradescantia sillamontana – the “woolen” queen of containers care

Tradescantia is one of my favorite plants. It not only serves as an interior decoration, because in summer this plant is successfully grown in the garden. With her participation, you can create amazing compositions of annual flowers! There are many types of tradescantia in different forms. Recently I got acquainted with a new for me Tradescantia – woolen, or Sillamontana. In this article I will tell the readers of Botanichka about her.

Tradescantia sillamontana is the “woolen” queen of containers. Farmer

Tradescantia sillamontana – botanical information

This Tradescantia is a plant endemic to the state of Nuevo LeĂłn in northeastern Mexico, where it grows in the vicinity of the mountain (in Spanish “montana”) Siero de la Silla, from which it got its specific name “Silliamontana”. In different countries and regions, the plant has different names, many of which sound very funny: spider, white velvet, shaggy wandering Jew, cobweb, cat ears.

Such names are due to the unusual appearance of the plant. Due to the strong pubescence, it seems that its light green leaves are covered with wool or cobwebs. Such features are associated with the need to protect themselves from scorching sunlight and excessive evaporation of moisture, because Tradescantia grows in very arid and hot conditions.

A white spider web covers almost all parts of the plant, including stems, leaves and even buds. In addition, this species is one of the few Tradescantia that is a succulent, that is, it has succulent leaves and stems to store moisture.

Tradescantia Sillamontana (Tradescantia Sillamontana) is a low-growing evergreen perennial up to 40 cm high, can grow up to 50 cm wide. Tradescantia has thick succulent stems on which juicy leaves sit tightly. The leaf blade is from 3 to 7 cm long. The foliage is arranged in the form of a clear geometric pattern in two rows, where each row is rotated 180 degrees relative to the other. Stems are creeping and ascending.

In mid-summer, Tradescantia blooms attractive pink or purple flowers, which bloom in small inflorescences of several pieces at the top of the shoots or in the axils of the bracts. In appearance, these are typical Tradescantia flowers. Corolla consists of three bright petals and three small sepals; stamens are rather long with large yellow anthers.

There is also variegated variation of tradescantia sillamontana (Variegated), it differs from the usual one in that there are longitudinal cream or pinkish stripes on the leaves. On individual leaf blades, they are very wide, and it seems that the main tone of the leaf is light, and thin green stripes on it are secondary. Unfortunately, we have this spectacular variety – a great rarity, it can only be found in collectors. But the usual species “woolen” Tradescantia can often be found even in the garden departments of large supermarkets.

Tradescantia sillamontana
Tradescantia sillamontana. Farmer Lyudmila Svetlitskaya

Growing wool tradescantia

This species is as easy to grow as other members of the genus Tradescantia. It is grown in frost-free conditions on well-drained, preferably sandy loam or loamy soils. The plant prefers light partial shade, but tolerates sunlight well with sufficient soil moisture. Although it is better to protect Tradescantia from the direct intense summer sun, as it can cause burns on the leaves. In light partial shade, plants are drought tolerant.

Avoid spraying and watering over the leaves, as well as growing in deep shade, excessive moisture, and fertilizing with lots of nitrogen. All this will lead to the fact that the plant will lose its decorative effect and its original appearance will change in a negative direction.

During the period of active growth, you can feed the plant monthly with a fertilizer with a low nitrogen content. You should know that the tradescantia of sillamontana is calciphil, that is, growing on calcareous soils. And if grown in an acidic environment, the plant will have pinkish foliage, and the leaves will become folded in the form of a boat (with raised edges). In this case, the plant as a whole will be weakened. Therefore, on acidic soils, it is better to add a little garden lime or wood ash to the substrate, they will raise the soil pH level enough for Tradescantia to “come to life” and acquire a natural look for itself.

Caring for this type of tradescantia is minimal, monthly feeding is recommended for it, but not at all necessary. For good growth, she will only need regular, but moderate watering. To make the bush more compact and bushy, you can sometimes pinch the tips of the shoots from it. However, you should be careful here, as contact with Tradescantia juice can irritate the skin. Tradescantia is rarely affected by any pests or diseases, but in indoor conditions it can occasionally be attacked by a spider mite or aphid.

Tradescantia woolen in summer can grow in open ground or in a street flowerpot, but for the winter in the middle lane, the mother liquors must be dug up and brought indoors for the winter. It is better to choose a pot for her shallow, but wide.

In winter, watering of the plant should be minimal so that the soil remains dry for a long time. Tradescantia can hibernate at normal room temperatures in a well-lit window. But in the presence of cooler conditions, she can organize a dormant period. At the same time, it is important to ensure that the minimum temperature during the rest period does not fall below +10 ° C.

Flowering tradescantia sillamontana
Blooming tradescantia sillamontana. Farmer Lyudmila Svetlitskaya

Reproduction of tradescantia sillamontana

Tradescantia can be grown from seeds, but in this case the plant develops very slowly and flowering will have to wait for several years. Therefore, it is more advisable to propagate this plant by cuttings. Cuttings are carried out in spring or summer. For this, the tips of the stems or root cuttings are used, which are rooted in compost or water. Then they are grown in pots in loam-based soil.

Reproduction of adult bushes by division is carried out from late autumn to early spring. For dividing, you can use two small houseplant forks or table forks. To split the Tradescantia, place two forks close to the middle of the bush and gently move the handles back and forth so the teeth gradually move the plant apart. After dividing, make sure each part has a healthy kidney. Old woody stems from the center of the bush can be thrown away.

Read also our article Tradescantia gibasis – “white veil” for flower beds, containers and window sills.

Tradescantia sillamontana in garden design

This unusual plant has a very recognizable and distinctive appearance and is considered one of the most attractive types of Tradescantia. In the subtropical zone, it is one of the most popular garden plants, where it is planted in flower beds, along paths, on retaining walls or in rocky gardens. In Europe, Tradescantia is sometimes grown in gardens and rock gardens, but in winter it is transferred to a cool greenhouse or protected from cold and excess moisture, creating a safe shelter.

Most often, Tradescantia Sillamontana in temperate regions is grown in containers or hanging baskets. But it should be remembered that indoors it must be watered regularly. In hanging baskets, Tradescantia can be used alone, or in combination with thermophilic lettuce, for example, with petunia or calibrachoa. In this case, it is best to choose shades of partner petals that are in harmony with its bluish foliage – yellow, purple, blue, blue or lilac. Bright red flowers will also work well with such “cool” foliage as it will calm the overexpression of red a little.

Woolly tradescantia forms an ideal combination with Waller’s balsam or begonia, since these plants also thrive in light partial shade. It is imperative to plant Tradescantia along the edge of the container so that it is not shaded by other flowers. In good conditions, the composition will also be adorned with its charming flowering.

When transplanting Tradescantia from a room to the open air at the end of spring, you need to remember that direct sun can cause burns on the leaves, so gradual accustoming to sunlight and hardening of plants is necessary.

Tradescantia of sillamontana in composition
Tradescantia of sillamontana in composition. Farmer Lyudmila Svetlitskaya
Tradescantia sillamontana is spectacular as a houseplant
Sillamontana Tradescantia is spectacular as a houseplant. Farmer Lyudmila Svetlitskaya

My experience with growing Tradescantia Sillamontana

I purchased the rooted stalk of this Tradescantia from the market, where it was sold along with petunias and recommended for planting in hanging baskets as an ampel. I just needed an unusual plant to make the composition with marigolds, which I planted for my grandmother, uncommon. Tradescantia grew in a flowerpot next to tagetes, hybrid milkweed and petunia, located in the foreground of the composition.

The exposition was grown in light partial shade (in the morning and in the evening – the sun, at lunchtime – a lace shadow from the trees). The growth rate of Tradescantia sillamontana is moderate; over the three summer months, it did not grow too much and did not interfere with neighboring plants. By the middle of summer, the stems crawled out a little outside the container, but since the plant has thick and juicy shoots, they did not hang down and did not form a classic ampel.

Nevertheless, as an ornamental-deciduous plant of the foreground, this Tradescantia looked delightful, and the shaggy leaves made you want to stroke them. In addition, its gray foliage perfectly set off the bright yellow flowers of marigolds and harmonized with the lilac flowers of double petunias. Although it is recommended to protect the shaggy leaves of this Tradescantia from rain, I did not notice any problems after the precipitation, and, in principle, Tradescantia proved to be a problem-free plant.

Watering the entire composition was carried out as the soil dries up, Tradescantia also received fertilizers with a high content of phosphorus and potassium, which I regularly fertilized the neighboring summer houses. Throughout the summer, Tradescantia sillamontana delighted me with its exotic appearance, and I perceived it exclusively as an ornamental leafy plant. But in August, she suddenly gave me a surprise – one morning I noticed that new colors were added to my composition – this Tradescantia blossomed very decorative flowers.

Read also our article The Best Indoor Plants for Container Garden Arrangements.

They were bright crimson with yellow anthers and were identical in shape to the flowers of the perennial garden tradescantia, which I love very much. In size, the flowers were also far from small for such a small plant – a little more than one centimeter. Flowering lasted for about a month.

At the end of September, I removed the root cuttings from the bush (I simply broke off by hand the shoots growing from the root with small roots). And I put them in a bowl with fresh soil. Such cuttings took root literally before our eyes, and I brought the young plants into the room for the winter. A pot of sillamontana tradescantia was placed on the coolest and lightest windowsill in the apartment, and for a while the cuttings even continued to bloom.

Now (in winter) care consists only in rare watering, the flower feels good, but during this period it does not actively grow and does not bloom. In the summer, I plan to include it again in flower arrangements with petunia, because it has established itself as a problem-free and very ornamental plant that can decorate not only the local area, but also the rooms.


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Anna Evans

Author âś“ Farmer

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