The Boat Lily

Meet the Tradescantia Spathacea, a plant with as many names as it has colors. Known as the Boat Lily, Moses in a Boat, and even Three Men in a Boat, this plant is as quirky as its names suggest. With its stunning leaf colors and spectacular flowers, it's a plant that's sure to turn heads.

Tradescantia spathacea

Partial To Full Sun

Can handle a mix of direct and bright light throughout the day.

Moderate Water Needs

Requires balanced watering. Not too wet, not too dry.

Prefers Silt Loam Soil

Grows best in silt loam soil, which is fertile and has good water retention.

Moderately Adaptable Soil pH

Can thrive in multiple pH ranges.

Moderate Safety Concerns

Toxic if ingested, handle with caution. Can cause skin irritation and toxic if ingested.

Safe for All Animals

No known safety risks to pets or livestock.


Ease Of Care Score


Safety Score

About Tradescantia spathacea

The Boat Lily is a non-woody perennial that grows to a height of 6-12 inches and spreads to a width of 1-2 feet. Its leaves are a spectacular combination of ecru, jade, and plum, often streaked together in a beautiful display. The flowers bloom in harvest time, vernal season, summertime, and wintertime, offering extended periods of beauty. They are a stunning alabaster color, adding to the plant's overall charm.

Despite its venomous classification, the Boat Lily is a popular domestic plant. It's often used as a soil cover plant, adding a pop of color to any room or garden.

Also known as

Boat lily
Boat plant
Moses in a boat
Moses in the cradle
Oyster plant
Three men in a boat


The Boat Lily is not known for its edibility. In fact, it is classified as a venomous flora, so it's best to admire its beauty from a distance.

Our design recommendations

The Boat Lily's vibrant colors make it a fantastic choice for adding visual interest to your garden. Its extended blooming period means you'll have a spectacular display for much of the year. Plus, its compact size makes it perfect for planter arrangements or as a room plant. The Boat Lily is a versatile plant that can thrive in a variety of locations. It's often found in planters or used as a room plant, bringing a touch of nature indoors. Its ability to cover soil also makes it a great choice for garden beds.