Moses-in-the-Cradle

These plants grow just about anywhere and are known by a variety of names.
rhoeo

rhoeo

Plant type: Herbaceous perennial
Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 to 11

Known by a variety of names, including Moses-in-the-cradle, boat lily and oyster plant, this tropical perennial grows in low, spreading clumps that reach about one foot tall. The glossy, sword-shaped leaves are held upright, so both the deep green tops and rich purple undersides are visible. The foliage is evergreen in frost-free areas. Moses-in-the cradle blooms too, with small, white flowers tucked into purple bracts. The blossoms can appear pretty much any time of year, but they aren't nearly as eye-catching as the dramatic foliage.

How to use it: Long a favorite with houseplant enthusiasts, Moses-in-the-cradle also adds a tropical flair to outdoor container plantings and hanging baskets. In mild climates, it's widely used as a groundcover and edging plant.

Culture: Moses-in-the-cradle can grow just about anywhere, from full sun to full shade, although it seems to prefer light shade. Average, well-drained to dry soil is fine. The plant thrives with regular watering, but keeping the soil too wet can encourage disease problems, such as root rot. Propagate by seed or by dividing the offsets.

Special notes: Appreciated for its striking foliage, as well as its amazing heat and drought tolerance, Moses-in-the-cradle is typically trouble-free. Be aware, however, that it's considered invasive in some areas -- particularly central and southern Florida. Note: the sap may be irritating to sensitive skin, or if it's ingested.

Selected cultivars

  • 'Variegata'. White-striped green leaves often blushed with pink; also sold as 'Tricolor'.
  • 'Vittata'. Yellow-striped green leaves, sometimes with a reddish tinge.

     

Keep Reading

Next Up

Fall-Planted Perennials for Easy Spring Color

Get a head start on spring by planting in the fall.

How to Plant Perennials

Learn how to grow perennials in your garden with this step-by-step planting guide.

How to Plant Perennial Flowers & Plants

Perennials are the mainstay of the traditional flower garden. When planted correctly, they are long-lived.

Are Mums Perennials?

Learn which mums you can count on to color your landscape for years to come.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Rehab Addict

6:30am | 5:30c

Rehab Addict

7:30am | 6:30c

House Hunters

1pm | 12c

House Hunters

1:30pm | 12:30c

House Hunters

2:30pm | 1:30c

House Hunters

3:30pm | 2:30c

House Hunters

4:30pm | 3:30c

House Hunters

5:30pm | 4:30c

House Hunters

6:30pm | 5:30c

House Hunters

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Tiny House Hunters

8pm | 7c

Tiny House Hunters

8:30pm | 7:30c

House Hunters

9:30pm | 8:30c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

12am | 11c

House Hunters

12:30am | 11:30c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

Tiny House Hunters

3:30am | 2:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.