Moses in the Cradle Plant

Moses in the cradle (Tradescantia spathacea  variegata )  aka Moses in a boat is a favorite houseplant known for its eye-catching foliage.

The unique leaves are sword-shaped with tri-color tops of  green, pink and cream  and rich purple, glossy undersides. The upright position enables you to see both colors at the same time.

The plant is also known by a variety of other names such as Moses in the boat and the boat lily (because of it's small white flowers that resemble boats), and the oyster plant. The attractive foliage can grow up to 12 inches high and 3 inches wide.

Other common names:  boat lily, boat plant,  cradle lily, Moses in the basket, Moses-in-a-basket, Moses-in-the-bulrushes, rhoeo, and  three-men-in-the-boat.

Moses in the cradle plant with tri-color sword-shaped leaves of green, pink and cream with rich purple, glossy undersides.

It is a tropical perennial native to Central America and hardy in USDA zones 9 through 12. The plant cannot tolerate cold but is able to tolerate extreme heat. It is a succulent plant, which means it retains water and does quite well in drought conditions -- making it a popular plant.

The plant's hardiness enables it to thrive indoors with only minimal maintenance classifying it an "EASY Care" plant. It is tolerant of drier conditions so it is forgiving of forgetful watering.Its stunning looks make it an ideal ornamental plant for the house or outside garden. In mild climates the plant can be used in hanging baskets to add a tropical accent to outdoor containers.

Decorating Tips for Moses in the Cradle

  1. Use it as a statement piece: Place the plant in a bright-colored pot, and make it a focal point of the room.   This colorful plant can be balanced out with neutral colors like beige or white, giving a room a fresh and modern feel.

  2. Group it with other plants: A grouping of plants in varying heights, textures and colors can create a dynamic display.

  3. Add it to a shelf: A colorful Moses in the Cradle plant can be added to an unassuming shelf and make the space more interesting.

  4. Use it to brighten up a room: If your living space lacks natural light, a Moses in the Cradle plant can make a room look brighter and more cheerful.


How to Care for Moses in the Cradle

LIGHT:  Plant prefers bright, indirect sunlight at least 6-8 hrs a day An eastern window exposure is ideal. However, If you are in the northern hemisphere use a southern window exposure. In a southern hemisphere use a northern window for the best exposure.

WATER: Water and allow the top inch or two of soil to dry out before watering again. Keep plant drier during the winter when the plant is not actively growing. Always be careful not to overwater to prevent root rot and leaf spots

TEMPERATURE: Prefers average room temperature 65-80 during the day and about 10 degrees cooler at night.

POTTING SOIL: Use a good all-purpose potting soil that retains moisture yet drains well.

Humidity:  Medium to high humidity.  Mist with tepid water or place on humidity tray to prevent brown leaf tips.  However, if you live in a dry climate or are struggling to keep the humidity level consistent, you may consider using a small humidifier near the plant to keep it happy and healthy.  Overall, it is helpful to monitor the humidity level and adjust your care regimen to ensure the best growing conditions for your plant.

FERTILIZING: Apply a well-balanced plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength once a month during the growing season. This will help produce a full and bushy plant with an abundance of little flowers. 

PROPAGATION: Propagate with offsets taken from the parent plant and place in new pots; they will root readily. You can also use stem cuttings. The plant likes to be root bound so repot about every 2-3 years.

Moses in the cradle (Tradescantia spathacea)  can be especially harmful to dogs.  The sap causes severe contact dermatitis where Dogs will scratch themselves until they are bleeding.  It is reported to  be poisonous if eaten in large quantities.  Keep away from pets.

Moses in the Cradle plant is believed to have some symbolic meaning in different cultures. In some cultures, it is thought to represent peace, protection, and prosperity.

The plant's ability to adapt to different environments and grow in harsh conditions is also seen as a symbol of resilience and hope.

In some spiritual practices, the Moses in the Cradle plant is connected to the divine feminine energy as the flowers resemble the female genitalia.

Some also believe that the plant has healing properties and can be used to help alleviate stress and anxiety as the plant  promotes peace and relaxation from its ability to purify the air and absorb toxins which  improves the  indoor air quality.   Additionally, the presence of plants in a home or workspace has been shown to have a positive effect on mood and mental health with such calming properties.

Overall, the symbolic meaning of the Moses in the Cradle plant varies depending on the culture and beliefs of the people who use it.

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