Rhoeo is a common border or edging plant in tropical or subtropical gardens. It’s tough and adaptable, suitable for full sun or part shade, across a range of soil types. This plant grows steadily into a clump, eventually covering a large area if left to its devices. Its colourful foliage makes it a useful plant for adding foliage contrast around the garden.
Although a member of the Commeliaceae (Spiderworts), Rhoeo is NOT invasive like many of its relatives. It will form a clump, but lacks the stolons that other Tradescantia use to spread rapidly across the ground. However, like all members of the family, Rhoeo can cause skin irritation in dogs. This isn’t usually a big issue as dogs aren’t interested in the plant. But if you have pooches that like to go garden diving, perhaps this is not the plant for you. Rhoeo can also sometimes cause skin irritation in humans as well.
As mentioned, Rhoeo is very tough and easy to grow. The only thing that really bothers it is the cold. It is not frost tolerant and also becomes prone to rotting off if kept too wet in winter. It will sometimes attract mealybug as well, but this is largely seasonal and not a major issue if treated.
There are various cultivars of Rhoeo, the most popular being the dwarf purple form. Others include Stripe-Me-Pink (dwarf varigated), vittata variegata (yellow variegated) and ‘Gold’ (all yellow).
Easy to care for. Rhoeo does best in part sun on rich well-drained soils. Does not suffer any major pest issues but is vulnerable to rot if kept too wet over winter. Will not tolerate frost. Fertilize with a slow release fertilizer such as Troforte.