“Oysterplants”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

When I attended the Garden Show in mid-October, I was again attracted to the oyster plants (tradescantia spathacea).  This is the second time I have seen them growing in the botanical gardens, and I think I will try and grow them in my garden.  They are hardy only through zone 9, and I live in zone 8 (really just on the border of 9), so I think I can risk it.  Since it rarely gets down into the low 20’s here, and zone 9 is 20 -30 degrees, they should be safe esp. if I would cover them on the rare hard freeze or plant them in a fairly protected area.  I have read of one gardener who lives in zone 8b who is able to grow it, so that is encouraging if I decide to definitely try it.



I would like to try the variegated ones.  They would make a lovely ground cover with their white, pink and green striped foliage with purple undersides.  The plant makes a rosette with leaves are about six to ten inches long.  At about eight inches high, it would make a nice thick mat.  The common variety has leavew with purple undersides and dark green on the topside.

I know they are supposed to be invasive in warm areas like Florida, but where I would like to plant them is not too fertile an area, so I don’t think I would have a problem.  They are supposed to be good in dry areas in sun to partial shade.  So, they sound like the perfect plant to try in front of the bamboo stand that is growing in the side yard.



  1. Randy said,

    October 28, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    What a very pretty plant. I’m curious about the name. Why oyster, I wonder? I’m going to have to look it up. :-)-Randy

  2. mothernaturesgarden said,

    October 28, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    You have done a good job of rationalizing those right into the garden. 😉
    They are very pretty and you don’t know until you try. I find most plants are a little more hardy than claimed.

  3. Patsi said,

    October 28, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Love the foliage. I’m zone 7 wouldn’t work here.
    Looks like you’ll get great ground cover.

  4. Jan said,

    October 28, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Randy, I don’t know why it is called oysterplant. if you find out, let me know. I first saw it in Florida being used as an accent plant in gardens.

    Donna, I think most gardeners are very good at rationalizing to justify having plants they want. As for the hardiness, I have read that they will return from the roots if a freeze gets them. We really only have light freezes here, rarely a hard freeze.

    Patsi, I think they will make a nice groundcover and something different from the usual ones.

  5. tina said,

    October 28, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Why are they called the oyster plant? A bloom that looks like an oyster?

  6. fairegarden said,

    October 29, 2008 at 6:16 am

    Hi Jan, I like how you talked yourself into trying them too, LOL. Those zone listings are just an average anyway, right? I think they are getting ready to redo that zone map since our averages are moving up. I know that ours have gotten warmer. But it is all about placement in your little microclimates. I like the idea of that with the bamboo, it should look great.

  7. Brenda Kula said,

    October 29, 2008 at 9:34 am

    And if they form a mat, no weeding! That’s always a nice plus in areas.

  8. Jan said,

    October 29, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Tina, I’m not sure why they are called that. I looked on the Internet and in some garden books I have but couldn’t find a reason for the name. Maybe Randy will have more luck.

    Frances, I have seen a new zone map, and it puts me in zone 9. I know our winters do seem milder than the ones we had years ago. You are right about microclimates. There are many nights when temps dip into the high twenties, but depending on where the plants are on our property, I do not have to protect many because of the microclimates. I am thinking the contrast of the bamboo and the oysterplants might be very nice.

    Brenda, the ones at the Botanical Gardens did make a thick mat which is what I would want. You are right- no weeding.

  9. Lola said,

    October 31, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Hi, I just discovered your site. I like it & will return. I live in 8B/9 & I have an oyster plant. It stays out the year round in a pot. Maybe I should put it in the ground. But don’t want anything that is going to be invasive.

  10. Jan said,

    October 31, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks for stopping by, Lola. I appreciate your kind comment. I think oysterplant is only invasive in Florida because it stays warm year round so the plant never goes dormant. Also, remember if a plant is non-native, it will be labeled invasive if it is crowding out native plants.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: