Tradescantia sillamontana Care - White Velvet

Tradescantia sillamontana Care – White Velvet

Tradescantia sillamontana care is easy. Pronounced [trad-es-KAN-tee-uh][see-yuh-MON-tah-nuh] and commonly known as White Velvet, Cobweb Spiderwort, White Gossamer Plant, or Hairy Wandering Jew. Named in reference to the plant’s surface that is covered entirely in dense cobweb like white hairs.  Leaves are arranged in a precise geometric shape on this fuzzy succulent. Learn about more Fuzzy Succulents here.
Almost completely white hairs cover all parts of the plant: leaves, shoots, and even the buds. These protect the plant from direct sunlight and excessive evaporation. An upright grower, when young, reaching 40 cm in height. Later on it turns to prostrate as it grows and makes a fabulous groundcover. The fleshy, oblong leaves vary in color from gray-green, faded olive or purple and are covered with grayish-white short hairs.

PLANT TYPE

  • Perennial
  • Cactus / Succulent
  • Groundcover

SIZE

  • H: 6″-12″
  • W: 12″-24″

ZONES

  • USDA 6-11
Sun Exposure

Full/Partial Sun

Water Needs

Low, Average

Soil Care

Moist, Well-Drained

Characteristics

Plant of Merit, Showy

Foliage Color

Variegated, White, Pink, Green, Purple

Foliage Season

Evergreen

Flower Season

Summer

Wildlife

Not Deer Resistant

Tradescantia sillamontana
Tradescantia sillamontana flower

Tradescantia sillamontana Flowers

In mid spring to late summer look for abundant purple-pink blooms if well-cultivated. Flowers appear at the end of the stems. The corolla consists of three bright petals and three small sepals. After flowering, cutting back the plants will promote a second bloom. Plants can be divided in Spring. Any shoots that are too long can be trimmed.

Tradescantia Genus

Tradescantia sillamontana is almost as easy to grow as other species of the genus Tradescantia (Family: Commelinaceae). The genus Tradescantia, family Commelinaceae, comprises 30 species of herbaceous and perennial plants native to the American continent. Some species are: Tradescantia sillamontana, Tradescantia pallida, Tradescantia multiflora, Tradescantia zebrina, Tradescantia fluminensis, Tradescantia albiflora, Tradescantia spathacea, Tradescantia brevicaulis. 
Unlike most species of Tradescantia, this sillamontana is almost succulent and nearly xerophytic. The term xerophyte refers to a plant species that has evolved over time to survive in dry regions such as deserts. It has adaptations to survive in an environment with little liquid water.
Tradescantia sillamontana Care - White Velvet
Tradescantia sillamontana Care - White Velvet

White Velvet Lighting

Cobweb Spiderwort is native to arid areas of Mexico. It prefers partial shade but will tolerate full sun. Direct intense summer sun can cause sunburn, so gradual acclimatization is needed. Learn more about sunburned  succulent care here.
Tradescantia sillamontana is used as indoor or greenhouse plants. In hot climates it grows well outdoors if the humidity is high. Although considered a tropical perennial, it can also be grown as an annual in locations that are in cooler hardiness zones.

Water Cobweb Spiderwort

Moderate watering is best. Allow the soil to dry somewhat between watering. Be sure not to spray the leaves with water. Additionally, try to keep White Velvet leaves dry while watering. Reduce watering and fertilizer in winter when the plant has gone into dormancy. The minimum temperature during dormancy is 50 °F (10°C).
Overwatering, as well as too much shade, and excessive nitrogen can cause the plant to take on an unattractive appearance. More sun and less water will lead to a plant that will be more silvery and compact.

Cobweb Spiderwort Soil

White Velvet can grow in a range of soil and pH conditions. However, it prefers well-drained, acidic, loamy soils. Sandy soil with leaf mulch or gravel is best. Additionally, pinching the tips back will promote a more bushy habit.  Therefore, it can take on a trailing habit if the tips are not pinched.

Tradescantia sillamontana Propagation

Propagation is easy with cuttings 2-3 inches long. First, root cuttings in sandy soil. Also, you can divide and transplant the White Velvet. This is an easy way to grow your Tradescantia collection for free!
Tradescantia sillamontana Care - White Velvet
Tradescantia sillamontana Care - White Velvet
Common names: White Velvet, White Gossamer Plant, Hairy Wandering Jew, and Cobweb Spiderwort. Previously known as Tradescantia pexata.

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