The green and purple leaves of the Moses-in-the-Cradle plant (Tradescantia spathacea) make it a attractive houseplant. Boat Lily, Moses-in-a-Boat, Moses-in-a-Basket, Cradle Lily, Oyster plant, and Moses-in the Bulrushes are all alternate names for the same plant. Rhoeo spathacea was the scientific name for the Tradescantia spathacea.
The lovely boat-shaped bracts that cradle tiny white flowers give this Tradescantia type (Moses-in-the-Cradle plant) its common name. This lovely indoor plant is suitable for most interiors and adds elegance and beauty.
How to care for Moses in the cradle plant: Grow in a bright, but partially shaded location to take care of a Tradescantia spathacea. When the top 1″ (2.5 cm) of the soil is dry, water the potting mix to keep it moist. The plant prefers humidity levels of 60°F to 85°F (15°C to 30°C) and temperatures of 60°F to 85°F (15°C to 30°C). Throughout the growing season, fertilize monthly.
Perennial, evergreen, clump-forming plants that grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall are called Moses-in-the-cradle plants. The top surface of the leaves are dark green, with a purple undercoat on the underside. The flowers bloom on the plant all year, and the lanceolate-shaped leaves develop in a rosette pattern.
Tradescantia spathacea cultivars come in a variety of colors, the most common being green purple. Other varieties include ‘Stripe-Me-Pink,’ which has green, cream, and pink stripes, and ‘Vittata,’ which has yellow and green stripes. You can grow 75 different types of Tradescantia (spiderwort) plants at home, including the oyster plant. Learn how to properly care for your Moses plant in this article.
How to Care for Moses-in-Cradle Plant (Tradescantia spathacea)
Under most indoor conditions, the Boat Lily plant requires little care. There are, however, a few care requirements you must follow in order for the plant to thrive and the leafy foliage to stay vibrant.
Moses-in-the-Cradle Plant Light Requirements
Green leaves with a purple underside are the most popular kind of Moses plant. Put the pot in a position that receives plenty of sunlight but is shielded from its direct rays. The Moses plant requires six to eight hours of indirect sunlight each day in order to bloom. The leaf colors may fade due to too much or insufficient light.
A plant that grows in low-light conditions is called Moses-in-the-cradle. It can be used in a room with little natural light or in an office where it will be shaded. The only thing to be aware of is that their beauty foliage may fade. Oyster plants also get leggy if they don’t receive enough sunlight.
The Moses plant may make an excellent bathroom houseplant due to its ability to flourish in low light but need high humidity. All you need to do is check the soil’s dryness to determine when it should be watered.
The Best Soil for Growing Moses Plants Indoors
The Moses-in-the-cradle plant, like most houseplants, thrives in rich soil with excellent drainage. To keep some moisture in the aerated potting mix, add some peat moss or organic matter. Your plant will develop root rot and die if the potting medium stays soggy. A pot with drainage holes is a useful way to make sure that soil drains well. To help with drainage, you can place a stone layer on the pot’s bottom. If your plant becomes rootbound, that’s another reason for poor soil drainage that affects plant growth.
Mix equal parts of potting soil, peat moss, and perlite to create the optimum potting mix for Moses plants. This mix should provide enough nutrients while maintaining a light consistency. Water should readily seep out of the potting material and not collect on the surface of the soil if it’s consistency is correct.
How to Water Moses-in-a-Boat Plant
Water your oyster plant when the top soil has dried out, and it will thrive. Poke a 1″ (2.5 cm) hole in the soil to determine when to water your plant. It’s time to water your plant if the soil is dry. Wait a few days after the soil has dried if there is any moisture. watering your Tradescantia spathacea plant on a regular basis is a big mistake. As the soil begins to dry out, you only need to water the plant as often as necessary. In the summer, you should water your plant more often, and in the winter, you should water it less.
Many individuals make the mistake of watering their houseplants frequently and a little when they should be watering them infrequently. Since the roots do not get hydration, this watering method may cause your plant to die of thirst. In addition, in the top layer of soil, you create a moist environment. White plant mold and fungus gnat problems are frequently caused by soil dampness.
Every time you water your Moses plant, make sure to thoroughly soak the soil. Roots are thoroughly hydrated when they are wet for a long period of time. You will never over-water your plant if you wait until the plant’s soil is halfway dry before watering again. Before putting your Moses plant in a bright, sunny area, make sure that all of the water has dripped out after the soil drench.
Moses plants are drought-tolerant houseplants, which is fantastic news. As a result, they should continue to grow well even if you go a few weeks without watering them.
Indoor Temperature for Moses-in-the-Bulrushes Plant
Grow an oyster plant indoors in a typical room temperature. Between 60°F and 85°F (15°C – 30°C), keep your Tradescantia spathacea houseplant. Moses plants must be protected from hot radiators, frigid breezes, and direct sunlight, among other things.
It’s important to keep in mind that Tradescantia spathacea doesn’t tolerate cold while growing indoors. As a result, the temperature in the room should never fall below 50°F (10°C). If the plant pot is close to a window or door during the winter, this advice is crucial. Cold drafts may harm plant development, and in extreme cases, they might kill it.
You may move the Moses plant pot outdoors to a sunny spot if you reside in temperate regions. Make sure that the plant receives some sunlight throughout the day. Also, don’t let nighttime temperatures fall below 60°F (15°C). To protect your Moses plant from freezing nighttime air, bring it inside in the autumn.
If you live in USDA zones 10 and above, Tradescantia spathacea plants can be grown outdoors. The plant is a excellent ground-cover plant for partial shade because of its attractive foliage and spreading growth.
Humidity Needs When Caring for Moses-in-Cradle Plant
While boat lily plants thrive in damp conditions, they can be grown at home with little effort. To avoid browned foliage and poor plant development, aim for a minimum indoor humidity of 40%. Your Moses plant will benefit from additional humidity because household air is drier than external air.
It might be that the tropical houseplant requires more moisture if you notice that leaf tips are browning. You may humidify the air around your plant in a variety of ways. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Mist the leaves— Humidification can be increased by spraying a fine mist around the plant. Sprinkle the leaves with a fine mist from a spray bottle filled with distilled or filtered water.
- Location— Place the Moses plant in a humidified environment. This might be in a bathroom, kitchen, or near other houseplants in your home.
- Pebble tray—Fill a tray halfway full with water and layer with decorative stones at the bottom. To get additional moisture, put the plant pot on the pebbles.
- Humidifier—For houseplants to thrive, a humidifier in the room may help maintain an even humidity level.
How to Fertilize Moses Plants
The Moses-in-the-cradle plant is a low-maintenance plant with green, cream, and pink leaves that grows quickly. During the growing season, which is spring and summer, you only need to feed the plant once a month. A balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength is the ideal kind of fertilizer to use. Healthy, rapid development can be ensured by feeding with balanced nutrients.
Although Moses plants get benefit from fertilizer, you shouldn’t overfeed them. Fertilizer can be harmful if it is applied too much or watered too frequently. Therefore, avoid feeding your plant in the fall and winter, and reduce watering as well. A buildup of mineral salts in the soil can harm many potted indoor plants, including the Moses plant. Flushing the potting mix every once in a while may help encourage healthy growth.
All you have to do is pour a little water over the land for a few minutes. Put the plant back in a sunny spot once all the water has drained. When the top 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of soil is dry, resume watering. Four weeks following the soil flush, resume feeding.
Pruning Boat Lilies
The standard Moses plant, with green leaves and purple underside, is shown in the left image. A variegated cultivar with white and green streaks and a purple underside. Every spring, encourage healthy growth by Prune back Moses-in-the-cradle leaves. To help the plant appear bushier, pinch off the growing tips.
To improve the plant’s look, you should also trim off any dead or dying leaves. Tradescantia spathacea is a hardy grower, so don’t be concerned about its appearance.
How do you propagate Moses-in-the-cradle?
Stem cuttings, root division, or seed sowing are all methods to propagate boat lily plants. Cutting stems or dividing roots are the two most foolproof methods to cultivate a Moses plant. Side shoots may also develop on an established plant, and they may be removed and repotted.
Any Tradescantia variety can be propagated in a snap. Remove a clump of the stems at the roots to divide a Rhoeo spathacea or Moses plant. Any indications of diseased roots should be checked. All you have to do is mix the right potting soil with the new cuttings in a pot.
Cut a 4-inch (10-cm) section of stem from a healthy Moses plant and use it to start new plants. Put the stem cutting in a jar of water after removing the lower leaves. Roots should start to develop after a few weeks. Before transferring to a pot, wait until the transparent roots are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long.
Repotting Moses-in-a-Basket Plant
When your Moses plant outgrows the pot, you should repot it every year or two to encourage healthy growth. You may also refresh the potting soil by transferring to a new container, which allows you to do so. Repotting helps prevent the plant from becoming rootbound and having stunted development.
Pick the next size up and make sure it has drainage holes in it when deciding on the best size of container. The soil will quickly become wet and soggy if the pot is too big, causing root rot. Every year, you can also check for signs of root damage by repotting a Tradescantia spathacea.
This is what you should do to prepare your Moses plant for a new pot:
- Remove the Moses plant from its pot with care.
- If necessary, rinse the roots under water after shaking off the excess dirt.
- Healthy roots should be white and not mushy, so untangle the roots and trim off any dead or decaying roots.
- Plant your plant in its new home by filling a new pot about half-full with fresh, sterile potting mix.
- Fill in the remaining area with more soil.
- Before you plant, make sure that the water is clean.
Use the same pot if you’re just repotting to refresh the potting soil and don’t want your plant to grow bigger. Sterilize the pot after you’ve taken the plant and soil out. Remove approximately a third of the roots and replace them with fresh potting soil.
Moses-in-Cradle Plant Care: Dealing with Pests
Treat your Tradescantia houseplant for any pest problem you notice right away. Mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, and scale are the most common pests that affect these Tradescantia species. To get rid of these pests, you must act quickly. Your plant may be killed by a pest infestation, which may then spread to other houseplants.
For advice on how to identify common houseplant pests, read this article. Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and scale can all be eliminated with a few household items. This article contains several methods on how to eliminate houseplants pests for good, which you may read about.
How to Care for Moses-in-Cradle: Diseases
Water your plant frequently to avoid root rot. If the top soil dries out, water your plant again. Root rot is the most prevalent issue that affects Tradescantia, and it can be avoided. Only hydrate your plant when the soil is somewhat dry to avoid rotting and mushy roots.
Firmly pressing on the ground may help you determine when it’s time to water. Only when there are no indications of moisture in the top section of the soil should you water the plant. You may need to trim off dead or rotting roots if your plant is demonstrating symptoms of illness such as stunted growth, wilting, or discolored leaves.
Only water your plant as often as it requires it, when the soil is half-dry, to prevent any plant diseases from returning.
FAQ About Caring for Moses-In-Cradle (Oyster Plant)
Moses plant (Tradescantia spathacea ‘Vittata’) is shown in the photo as a variegated hybrid.
Are Moses Plants Toxic?
Skin irritation in cats, dogs, and other household pets has been linked to Moses-in-the-cradle plants. Tradescantia plants may cause dermatitis, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASCPA). If pets eat a substantial quantity of the leaves, they may also get poisoned by these plants.
Why is my Moses-in-the-basket dying?
Watering problems, cold temperature, or excess fertilizer are the most common reasons why a Moses plant appears to be dying. Soil moisture levels should be the first thing checked. Give your plant a good watering if the soil is too dry. Wait until the soil dries out before watering if there is too much moisture in the potting mixture.
Why are the purple leaves losing color?
Leaves fading is often caused by a lack of sunlight. Place the plant in a brighter location if the green and purple leaves are losing their vibrancy. Try to move to a shaded area, out of direct sunlight, if the leaves have turned yellow.
Why are leaf tips of my Moses plant turning brown?
Leaf tips browning is frequently caused by a lack of humidity or excess fertilizer in the soil. By placing the plant on a pebble tray, you can increase humidity around it. Dry air can also attract spider mites, in addition to brown tips on the leaves. Flush the soil to remove mineral salt buildup if humidity isn’t the problem.