Here’s a page to allow you to see all the Tradescantias side by side. I’ve arranged them in a rough size order, shortest first.
- Tradescantia ‘Bilberry Ice’ (Andersoniana Group). Boasts spreading mounds of neat grassy foliage amongst which nestle the cheery lilac and white flowers. A reliable and colourful addition to the front of the border. Best in full sun. 20cm. The shortest of all of our cultivars
- Tradescantia ‘Little Doll’ (Andersoniana Group), nestling amongst mounds of short neat grassy foliage grow abundant sprays of three petalled pale blue flowers. A short and very dense variety which always looks neat. A cheerful addition to the front of the border. Best in full sun. 30cm
- Tradescantia ‘Red Grape’ (Andersoniana Group) has spreading mounds of neat grassy foliage amongst which nestle the cheery triangular bright cerise flowers. The sepals are well coloured so that the hanging finished flowers keep adding and adding to the effect. Touching the flowers leaves a red stain on your hand just like red wine. A reliable and colourful addition to the front of the border. Best in full sun. 45cm
The garden Tradescantias are close relatives of the Wandering Jew houseplants that are so indestructible and ubiquitous. They derive from the American species, Tradescantia virginiana.
Tradescantia are easily pleased, making fuss free clumps for the front of the border. Each stem carries a long sequence of terminal blooms, each of which lasts just one day, with the calyx drooping down on an elongated stalk when it has finished. This is best seen in the variety ‘Red Grapes’. The stems are quite fleshy and mucilaginous.
Tradescantias were brought to England in 1629 and named in honour of JohnTradescant, gardener to King Charles I. Later on, in 1639, his son, also John Tradescant, visited Virginia where Tradescantias grow wild. He brought back many plants such as the Virginia Creeper, but also brought back many curios such as a pair of Phoenix tail feathers. He continued to amass these items, eventually housing them all under one roof in ‘Tradescant’s Ark’; the ‘Museum Tradescantium’. This attraction gave him an income when the King lost his head and later formed the basis of the Ashmolean Museum when it was bequeathed to his friend Thomas Ashmole.
Tradescantia – Moses in the Bulrushes, Devil in the Pulpit, Widow’s Tears