Tradescantia pallida is an evergreen perennial plant of a scrambling, climbing growth habit and vine-like stature. Small aerial roots will form along the stem, which root the vine further in-place and give greater stamina to the overall plant body. It is distinguished by vivid purple, elongated and slightly pointed leaves - generally a glaucous green, turning more vividly purple in full sunlight and times of drought - and bearing small, three-petaled flowers of white, pink or purple. Plants are susceptible to overwatering, moderate frosts, or any temperature below about 40°F (4.44°C); in times of cold-induced seasonal die-back, the rootball will remain sheltered underground, eventually sprouting again from the base. In the coldest of regions, deadheading, fall pruning, mulching and placing the rootball just slightly higher than the planting hole—to ensure that pooling water beneath the roots is not a threat—are all key to the plant surviving cold and/or wet conditions.
The cultivar T. pallida ‘Purpurea’ has purple leaves and pink flowers.