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CALLISIA fragrans

Image of Callisia fragrans

James H. Schutte

Family

Commelinaceae

Botanical Name

CALLISIA fragrans

Plant Common Name

Basket Plant, Chain Plant, Inchplant

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Thin, fleshy leaves that are light green and purple line the sprawling, octopus-like stems of chain plant and small fragrant white flowers appear in late winter. A succulent tender perennial from Mexico, it can become a large mounded mass of foliage outdoors or a lovely hanging basket specimen as a houseplant.

The long, lance-shaped leaves are a bright green with edges thinly or messily lined in dark purple. The leaf undersides are usually this same deep purple hue. These leaves are spiraled along the fleshy stems that can be upright or fully flopped. In winter, stem tips (from the young rosette of youngest leaves) bear a long tufted flowerspike that resembles a grass plume or chain. The small tufts are clusters of fragrant white flowers.

Grow chain plant outdoors in areas that are frost free or only lightly nipped by a frost in winter. Partial shade in a coarse, well-draining soil is ideal. It will be killed back by light frosts to lower parts of its stems or to the roots, from which it will rejuvenate in spring. Indoors provide it with bright light and allow it to become quite pot-bound; in winter rarely water. It is a great plant for partially shaded rockeries or as a rambling groundcover in well-drained soils in a tropical border. Leaves are striped in the selection 'Melnickoff'.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Shade

  • Height

    2'-5' / 0.6m - 1.5m

  • Width

    3'-5' / 0.9m - 1.5m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Winter, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Spreading

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Purple, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Purple, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Purple, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Purple, Light Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Groundcover, Hanging Basket, Houseplant, Rock Garden / Wall, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes