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.

https://www.houseplant411.com/houseplant/moses-in-the-cradle-plant-how-to-grow-care-for-a-moses-in-the-cradle-plant

These plants are considered poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched, immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.  More poisonous houseplant information and pictures of common plants that are dangerous to children and pets can be found in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched, immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.  More poisonous houseplant information and pictures of common plants that are dangerous to children and pets can be found in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to poisonous houseplantsIn her new book, Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat!, plant care professional Judy Feldstein shares information about twenty-five common houseplants, each with various levels of toxicity, and the possible consequences if your pet or child snacks on them..