Rhoeo - Commelinaceae - Cultivation and care of the Rhoeo

Rhoeo - Commelinaceae - Cultivation and care of the Rhoeo



The Rhoeo they are plants native to Central America, in particular Mexico, and the West Indies even if they have now become naturalized also in Florida and are very popular as houseplants due to the beauty of their leaves.






: Angiosperms


: Monocotyledons











: see the paragraph on "Main species"


The genre Rhoeo belongs to family of Commelinaceae and includes plants originating from Central America, in particular from Mexico and the West Indies even if by now it has also naturalized in Florida.

They are evergreen plants, much appreciated for the extraordinary beauty of their leaves and for this reason some species of the genus have widely spread as houseplants.

They are not plants that reach considerable dimensions in fact they do not exceed one meter in height but form a sort of dense bush, rich in leaves rigid and vertically arranged, green in color, sometimes streaked on the upper side and purple-violet on the lower side.

THE flowers of the plant Rhoeo they are small, white and form at the base of the leaves protected by red-purple bracts in the shape of a miniature boat.

The flowers don't last long but the bracts are very persistent and last several months.


There are numerous species of Rhoeo among which we remember:


There Rhoeo spathacea in the apartment it does not reach considerable dimensions in fact it does not exceed 60-70 cm in height but forms a rosette of erect leaves, glossy dark green in the upper part and red-purple on the lower side.

Of this species there are numerous cultures among which we remember: Rhoeo spathacea 'Vittata' which has light yellow bands along the entire upper page of the leaf (photo below).


The Rhoeo they are plants that are grown in the apartment and do not require special care.

The optimal cultivation temperatures are: in summer around 21 ° C and even more if the right degree of humidity is guaranteed to the plant; vice versa in winter they must not drop below 13-16 ° C.

They are plants that must be kept in a shady position and never in direct sun.They love the air, so ensure a correct exchange but paying attention to cold air currents that are in no way welcome.


From spring and throughout the summer the plant of Rhoeo it should be watered generously waiting for the soil to dry slightly between one watering and another and being very careful not to leave stagnant water in the saucer.

During the winter, water with more moderation, letting the soil dry between one watering and another.

They are plants that do not tolerate dry air in any way so it is essential to ensure a constantly humid microclimate. For this purpose it is necessary to nebulize the leaves frequently, preferably early in the morning so that, when the evening arrives, the leaves are dry and keep the plant on a saucer full of pebbles and then fill it with water, making sure that the bottom of the pot is not immersed. in the water as in this way the soil would become saturated with water causing the roots to rot. This system allows, when heated, to evaporate the water from the saucer which consequently moistens the surrounding air. Remember to fill the saucer whenever the water has evaporated.


The plant of Rhoeo it is repotted practically every year, in spring, using a compost formed, in equal parts, by a good fertile soil mixed with sand or perlite to favor the drainage of the irrigation water as water stagnations are not tolerated.

You must proceed with repotting using gradually slightly larger pots until reaching 15-20 cm in diameter. After that every year the first 3-5 cm of soil are removed and replaced with fresh soil.

Personally, I always recommend using clay pots even though many opt for plastic pots (less expensive and more drainage holes). I believe that the terracotta ones allow the earth to breathe and if the drainage hole has been arranged in such a way as to guarantee a good drainage of the water, well, I would say that it is perfect.


From spring and throughout the summer, fertilize the Rhoeo plant every 2 weeks with a liquid fertilizer to be diluted in the irrigation water, halving the dosage compared to what is written on the package.

Use a fertilizer that in addition to nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (macroelements) also has microelements such as magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn ), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), all important for a correct and balanced growth of the plant.


The flowers of Rhoeo they are small, white and form during the summer at the base of the leaves protected by red-violet bracts that take on a particular conformation: they resemble a miniature boat.

The flowers don't last long but the bracts are very persistent and last several months.


Usually the plant of Rhoeo it cannot be pruned. The leaves that gradually dry up or become damaged must simply be eliminated to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.

Make sure that the tool you use for cutting is clean and disinfected (preferably with a flame) to avoid infecting the tissues.


Lin Rhoeo multiplies by suckers.


The plant easily forms basal shoots. Once the shoots have reached a height of at least 15 cm they can be taken from the mother plant with some roots and planted in individual pots using a compost as indicated for adult plants. during this period the temperature and humidity must remain constant, cover the pot with a sheet of plastic (use sticks that you will place in the soil to keep the plastic high) and place it in a semi-shaded place.

Every day open the casing and check the humidity of the soil and make sure that it is always moist and eliminate any condensation that has thickened in the plastic.After about 4-6 weeks the roots should have taken root at which point the plastic is removed and treat the plant as if it were an adult.


The Rhoeo they are not plants particularly prone to diseases. In any case, the pathologies that can be encountered are the following:

The leaves wither and shrivel

This symptomatology is to be attributed either to too low temperatures, especially in winter, or to cold air currents.
Remedies: make an analysis on how you are raising the plant according to the indications given in the various previous paragraphs and adjust accordingly.

The leaves appear burnt and turn brown

This symptomatology is to be attributed to too much light or worse to direct sunlight.
Remedies: place the plant in a more suitable position.

Spots on the underside of the leaves

Spots on the underside of the leaves could mean that you are in the presence of cochineal and in particular mealy cochineal. To be sure, it is recommended that you make use of a magnifying glass and observe yourself. Compare it with the photo on the side. They are features, you can't go wrong. Also if you try to remove them with a fingernail, they come off easily.

Remedies: remove them with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol or if the plant is large and potted, you can wash it with water and neutral soap, rubbing very gently with a sponge to remove the parasites, after which the plant is varisced very well to eliminate all the soap. For larger plants planted outdoors, you can use specific pesticides available from a good nurseryman.

Presence of small whitish animals on the plant

If you notice small white-yellowish-greenish mobile insects you are almost certainly in the presence of aphids or as they are commonly called lice.Observe them with a magnifying glass and compare them with the photo on the side, they are unmistakable, you can't go wrong.

Remedies: treat the plant with specific pesticides readily available from a good nurseryman.


To the family of Commelinaceae belong many species of mostly herbaceous plants that grow spontaneously in subtropical and tropical areas of the American continent or are cultivated for ornamental purposes. Often they are distinguished by the showy color of their leaves, their flowers are usually modest in size and their lifespan is short (about a day). [1]

Some grow as neophytes others are considered to be semi-succulent. Their main features are as follows: [2]

  • The flowers, hermaphrodites, have only three petals, always separated from the sepals, as they do not form a perigonium.
  • The ovary, beyond it, is divided into three.
  • The fruit is usually capsule-shaped.
  • The leaves are arranged alternately around the stem of the plant.

According to Watson & Dallwitz the family includes 500 species distributed in 38 genera: [3]

The classification of this family is controversial, but its existence is never seriously questioned and is fully recognized by the APG III Classification.


The flower typically arises in a tangled shrub which then comes carefully pruned and cared for. All flowers have a shape of their own: for example, you can find the flat rose, vase or with pompoms. The rosebuds bloom in the spring period. The most fascinating feature of this plant is the presence of thorns in such a graceful flower: each thorn has a particular shape.

The rose is a spontaneously growing plant and therefore is preparing to be born on any substrate. However, it must be well looked after and watered moderately. Non-natural cultivation takes place in the spring and the pruning in winter. The rose loves full sun exposure. The rose is a plant widely used in the culinary field for tea and also for its scent.

Rhoeo - Commelinaceae - Cultivation and care of the Rhoeo

Richard Henley, Thomas H. Yeager, Richard Beeson Jr. - Department of Environmental Horticulture University of Florida

Fact Sheet ENH 148, Environmental Horticulture Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Date of publication: February 2000.

Translation and adaptation by Paolo Marzialetti

In 1997, Dr. Richard Beeson Jr. at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka carried out a survey in collaboration with the Florida Nursery Association, the Water Management Authority and the Association of Merchants at 'Ingrosso, involving about 90 Florida companies to ascertain the "opinions" they had formed during their growing experience about the irrigation water needs of container plants.

The survey results provided the background information for a research on nursery water use that Dr. Beeson is continuing.

The technicians of the nurseries were asked to indicate on a questionnaire whether the plants with which they had had experience in their opinion required low, medium or high levels of irrigation "during nursery breeding". The responses obtained for the plants listed ranged from a few indications up to 65 reported for Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. In most cases, the responses agreed within one of the three irrigation levels.

When the answers did not all belong to the same category, the two most frequent levels were indicated (for example, low-medium). The following table summarizes the evaluations of the operators in the nursery sector regarding the irrigation needs of the plants (low, medium, high level).

Keep in mind that these irrigation levels are based on subjective assessments, ie responses to a questionnaire and not on scientifically controlled objective measurements. They also refer to plants characteristic of Florida nurseries.

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Botanical name: Callisia repens

Vulgar name: Callisia.

Family: Commelinaceae.

Place of origin: tropical climate zones of Central and South America.

Description: It has long and branched stems, usually prostrate or drooping, which rain down when cultivated in suspended pots. The leaves of Callisia repens are rounded and pointed, with a waxy consistency, light green on the upper side and purplish on the lower side. The flowers are small, white in color, and appear during the summer season

Cultural needs:

Temperature: it also tolerates the rather cold temperatures of the winter months.

Light: diffused and intense light.

Watering and environmental humidity: watering must be frequent and abundant.

Substrate: does not require particular soils, as long as they are well drained.

How to grow the fruit

Canistel tree care is relatively simple for those wishing to grow this fruit. Thriving in tropical climates, eggplant trees are widely adaptable to a variety of soils, including sandy ones. Growers without a frost-free climate are also capable of growing canistels. Due to its fast-growing nature, eggplant trees are ideal candidates for container culture. Growing this fruit means protecting trees from frost and cool temperatures. Potted plants should be moved indoors when temperatures are expected to drop below 40 F. (4 C.).

Depending on where you live, it may be difficult to find canistel trees in local nurseries and garden centers. If you choose to order plants online, always make sure you only order from reputable sources to ensure high quality, disease-free fruit saplings.

For planting, select a well-draining location that receives direct sunlight. Well-draining soil is essential, as these trees can be prone to root rot. Dig a hole or choose a container that is at least twice as wide and twice as deep as the root of the tree. Gently place the tree in the hole and cover with soil. Water thoroughly.

Depending on the age of the planted sapling, the trees should start bearing fruit within one or two years.

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