We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Moses in the Cradle?

By J.M. Densing
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Moses in the cradle is the common name of a plant that is characterized by long, sword shaped, bi-colored leaves and flowers that appear to be in a small boat. The plant is also known under several colloquial names; the scientific name for the plant is Tradescantia spathacea, with the synonym Rhoeo spathacea. It is native to Mexico, and can be planted outdoors in warm humid climates or indoors as a houseplant. Moses in the cradle is an easy plant to care for and is popular for its ornamental qualities and tropical feel.

The Moses in the cradle plant usually has at least eight-to-ten upright sword-shaped leaves that are arranged in an alternating radial pattern from the base of the plant. The leaves can grow to a length of about 12 to 18 inches (30.5 to 76 cm) and are approximately 3 inches (7.6 cm) wide at their widest point. They are rather stiff with a smooth texture, and have green tops with a purple underside. Since the leaves stay in a fairly upright position, both colors are visible at once, giving the plant a unique look.

Flowers can bloom on the Moses in the cradle plant at any time, and the appearance of the flowers is what gives the plant many of its common names. The flowers bloom near the base of the plant, between two leaves, in a purple boat-shaped structure made up of the bracts, which are specialized leaves that grow with the flowers. The flowers are small and white, with three petals and yellow stamens, and often grow in small clusters of two to three blossoms. These blossoms give the appearance of being nestled in a boat among the reeds, bringing to mind the biblical story about Moses as a baby, and giving the plant several of its names, including Moses in the cradle, Moses in a basket, and boatlily.

Indigenous to Mexico, the Moses in the cradle plant is an evergreen perennial that does well in a warm, humid climate. It can be planted as an outdoor perennial in areas where there is no frost, and as a houseplant or an outdoor annual in colder climates. Some common outdoor uses include groundcover, borders and containers, and it's also easy to care for as a houseplant. It is often used by gardeners for its tropical feel and interesting coloring.

Since the plant tends to be prone to diseases like root rot if kept too moist, it it very important to plant Moses in the cradle in well drained soil, and to use containers with drainage holes. It will thrive in bright sunlight, with regular watering to keep soil just slightly moist. It can be fertilized every other week, and is fairly easy to propagate using cuttings. It is able to tolerate extreme heat as well as drought conditions once it is established. The plant's hardiness combined with its looks makes it a popular, low maintenance choice for the garden or the house.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.