Rhoeo spathacea, or "Moses-in-the-Cradle," is a fleshy rhizomatous herb native to Mexico, with rosettes of waxy lance-shaped leaves. Leaves are dark to metallic green above, with glossy purple underneath. THese will reach up to 1 foot (30 cm) long by 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide. They are very attractive foliage plants that will reach 1 foot (30 cm) tall. They are hardy in USDA zones 9-12.
Blooming Time: The small white flowers in boat-shaped bracts will bloom all year sporadically, with flushes of heavy blooming in the spring and fall.
Culture: Rhoeo spathacea are easy to culture, only requiring a well-drained soil mix and full to partial sun or high interior lighting. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 2 parts loam to 2 parts sand or perlite. The plants are well watered and allowed to dry slightly in-between waterings. During the spring and summer, they are fertilized monthly with a balanced fertilizer. During the winter months, the plants are allowed to dry thoroughly before water is applied again. No fertilizer is used during this time.
Propagation: Rhoeo spathacea is propagated by division in the spring and fall or by seeds produced in the boat-shaped bracts. Seeds germinate in 14-60 days at 65-70° F (18-21° C).
Rhoeo spathacea was featured as Plant of the Week February 20-26, 2004.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.