Saturday, May 18, 2019


It is likely I would never have noticed the fragrance of this little flower had it not been at nose level last year. Not would I have noticed the simply stunning structure of the tiny flowers.

The flower is Callisia fragrans, sometimes known as basket plant, chain plant, or inch plant for the way it inches its way along the ground. It can be grown as a ground cover in partial shade but also works well in a hanging basket. That was where I had it last year, on the wall as you enter the front courtyard garden from the side door. When it flowered there was a sweet fragrance on the air which caused me wonder its origin.

The basket plant is hanging down to the right beneath the soap aloe. It is a busy planter with Agave demettiana and aloes and couple of other succulents tucked in the top. All enjoy the filtered sun under the oak tree.
The flowers this year are in a different place, growing at ground level, not so accessible to the nose but clearly perfuming the air. Our mild winter meant that the plant survived under the shade and shelter of the Lady Banks rose and is blooming early. Endemic to Mexico, the plant is only hardy to around 32° so must be protected in winter. It is easy to break off the small plants that form along the chain and root them to save over winter. Or the plant can be grown as a houseplant.

Looking a little worse for the wear after a winter outside. It has something in common with its companion plant Tradescantia pallida  purple heart. The synonym for Callisia fragrans is Tradescantia dracaenoides.

New plant forming along the chain
This year the I changed the planter on the entry garden gate to include not only the Huernia schneideriana but also a piece of the basket plant I had saved over winter. Maybe I will be lucky enough to get a bloom this year and it will wow visitors to the garden with its fragrance.


  1. Can see why it's synonym is Tradescantia because it is very close in appearance. Fragrance is always such a nice surprise and one to be cherished as fewer plants seem to carry one these days. Lovely planters by the way.

  2. Loree (danger garden) wrote about this plant once and I mail-ordered one to try. Mine's blushed prettily but has yet to flower. (It'd probably be helpful if I watered it more often!) I look forward to seeing - and smelling - those fragrant flowers one day.

  3. I've grown T. pallida before as a houseplant, but this one is new to me. It's beautiful! How nice that you discovered the sweet fragrance by accident, and now you can fully enjoy it.

  4. This is a fantastic plant. I have it growing here in s.e. FL and it spreads like crazy and the scent of the tiny blooms is just wonderful!!!

    Happy Gardening ~ FlowerLady

  5. Thanks to Lori I came home from Austin with a few of these, and then mail ordered a few more. Good to know if my plants ever bloom there will be a fragrance to look forward to.


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