Full nameTradescantia fluminensis ‘Bicolor’.
Name statusAccepted, the valid name for a unique cultivar.

Published by Mönkemeyer (1897, p. 76). Because it was published before 1959, the Latin name can be accepted (Brickell et al., 2016, Art. 21.11).

Also known as: Not to be confused with:
ClassificationIt was originally publised as Tradescantia fluminensis var. bicolor (Mönkemeyer, 1897, p. 76). This is not a valid botanical variety (POWO, 2022), so it is now treated as a cultivar with the same name (Brickell et al., 2016, Art. 21.6).
Legal protectionNone.
AvailabilityThe plant is common in cultivation, but is usually only labelled as Tradescantia fluminensis with no cultivar name.


Preserved in a herbarium specimen (“Tradescantia fluminensis ‘Bicolor'”, 2022).

Described with reference to the RHS Colour Chart (6th Edition: 2019 reprint).

SpeciesTradescantia fluminensis.
Growth habitLow-growing, creeping stems which will spread out of any container and trail downwards. Very fast and vigorous growth.
FoliageStems are 2-4mm wide, with internodes 2-7cm long, smooth except for one line of tiny hairs running along the length. New growth stems are strong yellow green (144A), darker green with age and sometimes dark red (187A).

Leaves are pointed ovals, 4-6cm long and 2-3cm wide, smooth except for a few hairs at the top of the sheath. The upper surfaces are greyish olive green (NN137A), the undersides are greyish purple (N187B), and the sheaths are moderate yellow green (143D).

In lower light, the stems tend to be longer and thinner – but the colours do not change significantly.
FlowersSmall white flowers, typical for the species. Not very common when grown indoors.
ComparisonsCompared to Tradescantia fluminensis ‘Viridis’, it has purple leaf undersides instead of green.


Mönkemeyer, W. (1897). Die Sumpf- und Wasserpflanzen [Marsh and aquatic plants]. Verlagsbuchhandlugn Paul Parey. Internet Archive link.

Brickell, C. D., Alexander, C., Cubey, J. J., David, J. C., Hoffman, M. H. A., Leslie, A. C., Malécot, V., Jin, X. (2016). International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants. PDF link.

POWO. (2022). Tradescantia fluminensis. Plants of the World Online. Link.

Tradescantia fluminensis ‘Bicolor’. (2022). [Herbarium specimen, barcode WSY0168485]. RHS Wisley Herbarium.