‘Tough Love’


Full nameTradescantia tharpii × Tradescantia occidentalis ‘Tough Love’.
Name statusAccepted, the valid name for a unique cultivar.

Established with a description by Ault (2015).
OriginsOrigins documented by Ault (2015). Seedling of a planned cross between an unnamed Tradescantia tharpii seed parent and an unnamed Tradescantia occidentalis pollen parent. Bred at Chicago Botanic Gardens in Chicago, Illinois, USA, by James Ault from Libertyville, Illinois, USA.
ClassificationThe plant is a first-generation hybrid between the species Tradescantia tharpii and Tradescantia occidentalis. This hybrid has no established name, so is written by naming both parents.
Legal protectionPatented in the USA (Ault, 2015).
AvailabilityAvailable from some nurseries in the USA, uncommon elsewhere.


Described by Ault (2015), with reference to the RHS Colour Chart (4th edition).

HybridTradescantia tharpii × Tradescantia occidentalis.
Growth habitClump-forming and compact. 23cm high x 38cm spread.
FoliageInternodes are 6cm long and 5mm wide, sparsely covered in white hairs (NN155D). Young stems are light yellow green (145C), maturing to a mixture of moderate olive green (137B) and dark red (187A).

Leaves are about 18cm long and 1cm wide, appearing silvery from a scattered covering of white hairs (NN155D). Young leaves are strong yellow green (144A to 144B), maturing to moderate yellow green (147B), veined with greyish olive green (N137A).
FlowersFlower stalks about 2cm long and 1mm wide, sparsely covered with white hairs (NN155D). Colour blends from dark yellowish green (139A) at the base, to dark purplish red (N79A) at the top.

Flower buds are 1.3cm long and 1cm wide, and hairy. Colour is a blend of greyish purple (N77A), greyish purplish red (N77B), and moderate yellowish green (138A).

Sepals are 1cm long and 5mm wide, covered in white hairs (NN155D) on the outside, glossy and hairless on the inside. Colour on the ouside ranges from strong yellow green (145A) at the base, to light yellow green (145D) at the margins. Colour on the inside ranges from moderate olive green (137A) at the base, to light yellow green (145D) at the margins.

Flowers are about 3cm across, petals are hairless. Inside and out, petals are strong reddish purple (N78A with a slight blend of 72B).

Stamen filaments and style are deep reddish purple (77A), anthers are vivid yellow (14A), stigma is very pale violet (91A).
ComparisonsMore compact growth, more reddish flowers, and more hair on the flower stalks and sepals than Tradescantia (Andersoniana Group) ‘Concord Grape’.

More compact growth, more reddish flowers, more greenish foliage, and more hair on the flower stalks and sepals than Tradescantia (Andersoniana Group) ‘Sweet Kate’.


Ault, J. R. (2015, October 13). Tradescantia plant named ‘Tough Love’ [US plant patent PP25,988 P2]. United States Patent and Trademark Office. 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.