Boat Lily

Boat Lily

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Tradescantia spathacea, commonly known as the Boat Lily, is an evergreen perennial with unusual inflorescence and pretty foliage in shades of green, purple, pink or even gold depending on which variety you're growing. The leaves are typically green on top with rich purple undersides, but they can also show striping.

This plant is native to southern Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.

The Boat Lily gets its name from the fact that it produces small white-colored flowers that appear in clusters contained within boat-shaped bracts.

Boat Lily 2


These plants are quite low maintenance. They'll do well in bright, indirect light, as too much harsh, hot sunlight may damage its leaves. However, if you notice that the colors in the foliage seem to be losing their vibrancy, this can be a sign that it's not getting enough light.

Plant yours in a well-draining soil to help prevent root rot (which the Boat Lily can be susceptible to), and try to keep it consistently moist but not overly wet. It's important to make sure your plant pot has drainage holes so that excess water can escape.

Want a fuller plant? Cut off some stems and the plant will grow new shoots (you can also plant the cuttings in the pot as well).

Boat Lily


The leaves of the Boat Lily have been used medicinally, as they're believed to possess various qualities such as being anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and possibly even helping to fight cancer!

They have traditionally been boiled to make a herbal tea to help treat fever and cough. However, we don't recommend that you try this, especially as the raw plant is actually toxic. Better to admire it as a houseplant instead.