Plant Care for Moses-In-The-Cradle


Moses-in-the-cradle, also known as oyster plant, Moses-in-a-boat or Moses-in-the-bullrushes, is an herbaceous perennial with a dense, spreading growth habit. Native to Central America and hardy in USDA zones 9 through 12, the plant cannot tolerate cold temperatures and is typically grown as a houseplant in most of the United States. Gardeners value the plant for its attractive, sword-shaped, green leaves with glossy, purple undersides, and its ease of care. Moses-in-the-cradle reaches up to 12 inches in height and thrives indoors with only minimal maintenance.

Step 1

Keep Moses-in-the-cradle in a location that receives six to eight hours of full sunlight each day, such as an east-facing window. Maintain an average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

Step 2

Use a spray bottle to mist Moses-in-the-cradle two to three times a day to increase the relative humidity of the air near the plant. Fill the spray bottle with lukewarm water to prevent shock and spray the air surrounding the plant.

Step 3

Water Moses-in-the-cradle once every five days during the spring, summer and fall months, allowing the soil to dry slightly between applications. Decrease watering frequency to once every 10 days during winter, as the plant is growing less actively.

Step 4

Feed the plant once each month during spring and summer using a balanced 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer. Do not fertilize during winter, when active growth has ceased. Apply at the rate indicated by the manufacturer's directions for the best results.

Step 5

Re-pot the plant during spring once every two to three years to provide a fresh soil mix and additional room for root growth. Use a growing medium made of one part peat moss, two parts loam and two parts perlite. Increase the size of the container by 3 to 4 inches each time.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray bottle
  • Fertilizer
  • Peat moss
  • Loam
  • Perlite
  • Container


  • Plant of the Week: Rhoeo spathacea, Moses-In-The-Cradle
  • Michigan State University Extension: Moses-In-The-Bullrushes
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Rhoeo spathacea, Oyster Plant, Moses-In-The-Cradle
  • "Pad: The Guide to Ultra-Living"; Matt Maranian; 2000

Who Can Help

  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: moses-in-the-cradle, oyster plant, moses-in-a-boat

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including