‘Blue Sue’


Full nameTradescantia pallida ‘Blue Sue’.
Name statusAccepted, the valid name for a unique cultivar.

Established with a description and photo by Plant Delights (2013, p. 27).

Also known as:
OriginsOriginated from Sue Watkins in Tallahassee, Florida, USA, named by Allan Armitage (Plant Delights, 2013, p. 27).
ClassificationThe species Tradescantia pallida is sometimes labelled with its botanical synonyms Setcreasea pallida and Setcreasea purpurea.
Legal protectionNone.
AvailabilityWidely available from collectors and some nurseries.


Preserved as a herbarium specimen (“Tradescantia pallida ‘Blue Sue'”, 2022).

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

The entire plant can vary its appearance dramatically in different conditions – changing in growth habit, leaf shape, size, hairiness, and colour. It’s impossible to cover every possible variation, but this general summary describes a healthy plant grown in typical indoor conditions (moderate light) and outdoors in full sun (intense light).

SpeciesTradescantia pallida.
Growth habitGrowth is initially fairly upright, but long stems will eventually start to trail. In intense light it will stay compact and upright for longer, whereas in moderate light it will trail more easily.
FoliageStems are 4-7mm thick, with internodes 2-7cm long – usually shorter at the base and elongating towards the top of flowering stalks. In moderate light stems are greyish olive green (NN137A), in intense light they become dark purplish grey (N187A).

Leaves are long ovals, 8-13cm long and 2-4cm wide. In moderate light the upper surfaces are dark greyish green (N189B) with the edges sometimes tinted with dark purplish grey (N187A), in intense light they darken to greyish olive green (NN137B) or dark yellowish green (189A) with the edges tinted greyish purple (N77A). The leaf undersides are greenish grey (188A) to greenish yellow green (191A), sometimes becoming tinted with dark purplish grey (N187A to N187B), and the veins strongly contrasting in dark purple (79A). Leaf sheaths range from moderate yellow green (138B) to light purplish grey (N187D).

The foliage has a very greyish appearance from a powdery coating. Generally mostly smooth except for a scattering of hairs along the egdes of the leaves.
FlowersTypical for the species, ranging from strong purple (N80A) to a lighter lavender colour, with yellow anthers. Not common when grown indoors.


Plant Delights Nursery, Inc. (2013). Solitude in the Garden: 2013 Fall Sales Catalog & Plant Owner’s Manual.

Tradescantia pallida ‘Blue Sue’. (2022). [Herbarium specimen, barcode WSY0168489]. RHS Wisley Herbarium.