Tradescantia sillamontana [trad-es-KAN-tee-uh see-yuh-MON-tah-nuh] is a hardy groundcover originating in the Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico.
Tradescantia plants are members of the Commelinaceae family of plants. This tropical perennial is grown as an annual in cool climates.
Tradescantia sillamontana was previously called Tradescantia pexata and has several common names, including:
- White Gossamer Plant
- Cobweb Spiderwort
- White Velvet
You may also hear this plant and other types of Tradescantia referred to as Wandering Jew. However, this common name has fallen out of favor and is discouraged.
Tradescantia Sillamontana Care
Size & Growth
This easy-care plant is fast growing. Individual plants may grow to heights ranging from six to eighteen inches with a spread of two feet.
White Velvet is covered in very fine white hairs. Plants kept indoors or in sheltered settings are less furry. Those kept in bright sunlight outdoors are furrier.
The leaves are teardrop-shaped and grow directly from the plants’ main stem in a stacked, spiraling manner. Leaves and stems are quite fleshy, verging on succulent.
Leaf color may be solid olive green or grayish-green. In some instances, the leaves display a lavender or purple hue. Leaves may be edged in lavender or purple.
Flowering & Fragrance
White Gossamer Plant produces pretty, inch-wide, three-petaled magenta flowers in midsummer. Bloom time lasts about a month.
The flowers do not have a noticeable scent; however, they are attractive to pollinators.
Light & Temperature
Although White Gossamer Plant comes from hot, dry, sunny regions, it does a little better in a partial shade setting. It can tolerate full sun; however, too much harsh sunlight may cause leaf burn.
As with most plants, too little sun causes leggy, floppy growth.
Cobweb Spiderwort is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 10b through 11a.
Watering & Feeding
Use soak and dry watering to water thoroughly, and then allow the soil to dry before watering again. Understand that this plant will require more frequent watering if placed in full sun.
It’s best to set a soaker hose to run slowly on the ground surrounding the plants. If kept as a container plant, water from below if possible. Don’t use an overhead watering method as water on the leaves can cause burn spots and/or leaf rot.
Water only during the growing season, spring through autumn. Don’t water in the wintertime. In very dry climates, a layer of mulch will help retain moisture in the soil.
Provide a light feeding of slow-release or liquid fertilizer early in the springtime.
Soil & Transplanting
Cobweb Spiderwort tolerates various soil conditions, but it does best in loamy, well-draining, acidic soil.
When planting new plants, space 1’ to 3’ apart. Keep them well-watered for the first growing season to help them become well-established.
Grooming & Maintenance
To keep White Velvet more compact and promote a more silvery appearance, limit watering and provide more sunlight.
Regular pruning or pinching back encourages bushier growth. If left alone, this plant will ramble and trail.
Prevent unwanted reseeding by performing a thorough pruning after flowering has finished but before the blooms have gone to seed.
Late in the autumn, cut the plants back to the ground and mulch with good quality organic compost to nourish and protect the roots through winter.
How To Propagate Tradescantia Sillamontana
In the landscape, Cobweb Spiderwort rambles along, setting down roots as it goes. It will also reseed itself liberally in a conducive setting. It propagates easily through root division or stem cuttings.
Tradescantia Sillamontana Pest or Diseases
In ideal conditions, Cobweb Spiderwort is quite resistant to pests and diseases. Healthy plants naturally deflect insects and resist deer predation. In addition, they tolerate a range of environmental challenges, such as drought, heat, and high humidity.
If overwatered or kept in poor conditions, root and stem rot problems and common pests (e.g., aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs) may develop.
Is Sillamontana Considered Toxic Or Poisonous To People, Kids, Pets?
All varieties of Tradescantia contain sap that is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.
Details on: The Toxic Wandering Jew Plant
Is TheSillamontana Plant Considered Invasive?
While Tradescantia sillamontana is not officially listed as invasive, it could develop weedy potential in a tropical climate.
The fact that it rambles, reseeds itself, and grows easily from cutting poked right into the ground makes it a likely suspect when it comes to possible invasion. If you live in an area where it can overwinter successfully, keep a close eye on it.
Suggested Tradescantia Sillamontana Uses
White Gossamer Plant is a great groundcover in a hot, dry, sunny setting. It also makes a good addition to rock gardens and can be grown as a trailing container plant.
In very cool climates, you may grow this plant as an annual or keep it year-round as a houseplant.