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How to Care for a Rheo Plant

By Bridget Kelly ; Updated September 21, 2017

The rheo plant, also known as the boat lily or oyster plant, is an annual, low-growing plant with green and pink or purple sword-shaped leaves. Because its leaves resemble the Yucca plant, many gardeners in hardy zones use it in rock and cactus gardens. Indoors, the rheo will grow to about 12 inches high.

Give your rheo lots of bright light, as lots of light will determine the intensity of the color of the foliage. This plant is not particular about the type of soil in which it grows, but be sure that the soil has good drainage.

Water the rheo just enough to keep the soil moist and then allow it to dry out before watering again. Rheo is susceptible to root rot, so carefully monitor the amount of water given.

Fertilize your rheo plant with a water-soluble, all-purpose 20-20-20 fertilizer at the rate shown on the label. Apply the fertilizer once a month, in the spring and summer only.

Place the plant out of the reach of children and pets as the sap from the leaves is toxic to mucous membranes. Skin rashes also can occur.


Things You Will Need

  • Water
  • Azalea fertilizer

About the Author


Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.