Plant Identification: Moses in the Cradle

A friend gave me this plant quite a few years ago, but never told me what it is. I would like to identify it so I can figure out how to better take care of it. Lately it isn’t looking so great. This is an older picture of it. Please, can you tell me what it is? Thank you!

Hi Wendy,

Your plant looks like a Moses in the Cradle plant. Moses in the Cradle houseplants (Tradescantia spathacea) have many alternative names such as Moses-in-a-Boat, Boat Lily, Cradle Lily, Moses-in-the-Bullrushes, and Oyster Plant.

Moses in the Cradle houseplants need very bright light for at least 6-8 hours a day. Allow the top inch or two of soil to dry out before watering. Keep the soil drier during the winter when all houseplants, not just a Moses in the Cradle, are not actively growing. Feed monthly in the spring and summer with a well balanced plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength.

Spider mites and Mealy Bugs are the two main houseplant pests that may infest Moses in the Cradle houseplants. From the look of your plant, I think it is suffering from spider mites. You can read my advice on how to get rid of spider mites in the Glossary of the website.

You can read all my care tips for a Moses in the Cradle in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.

These plants are considered poisonous and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.