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How to Grow Cyanotis


Cyanotis–commonly called teddy bear plant or pussy ears–is a low-growing, compact creeping evergreen plant native to tropical forests in Africa and Asia. It is grown as a houseplant in temperate regions.

Cyanotis grows to about 5 inches (12cm) tall and 12 to 16 inches (30-40cm) wide. The leaves may be oval or triangular; they are dark green above and red beneath. The leaves are covered with short, felted brown hairs.

Cyanotis bears short-lived, shallowly cup-shaped 3-petaled flowers that can be purple, violet, or blue. Flowers appear in summer.

Cyanotis is a genus of about 30 species of low-growing, evergreen perennials. Cyanotis is related to the genus Tradescantia; it is more succulent and has a tolerance for dry conditions.

Get to Know Cyanotis 

  • Plant type:  Evergreen perennial
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 13-15
  • Hardiness: Tender
  • Optimal growint temperature:  day, 65° to 70°F (18° to 21°C). Cooler at night.
  • Height and width:  5 to 6 inches (12-15cm) tall, 12 to 16 inches (30-40cm) wide. 
  • Foliage: Lance-shaped to broadly ovate or oblong leaves, dark green above, red beneath, densely covered with short, felted, ginger brown hairs.
  • Flowers:  Shallowly cup-shaped, 3-petaled purple, violet, or blue flowers
  • Bloom time:  Summer
  • Uses:  Houseplant, hanging baskets, in tropical regions plant in an herbaceous bed or border
  • Common name: Pussy ears, teddy bear plant 
  • Botanical name:  Cyanotis
  • Family name:  Commelinaceae
  • Origin:  Rocky areas in Africa and Asia
Cyanotis, commonly called teddy bear plant
Cyanotis, commonly called teddy bear plant

Where to Plant Cyanotis 

  • Light outdoors: Full sun with some midday shade.
  • Light indoors: Full sun from eastern or western exposure. Teddy bear plant requires direct light, 
  • Soil outdoors:  Moderatly fertile, well-drained soil.
  • Soil indoors: Use an all-purpose soil mix. 
  • Cyanotis can tolerate dry conditions.

When to Plant Cyanotis 

  • Set Cyanotis outdoors  any time of the year in tropical regions.

Planting and Spacing Cyanotis 

  • Space  Cyanotis 12 to 16 inches (30-40cm) apart.

How to Water and Feed Cyanotis 

  • Water: Keep the soil evenly moist; allow the soil to dry moderately between waterings. . Humidity at about 35% is best.
  • Feeding: Fertilizer should be applied once or twice in spring or summer; use a mild liquid fertilizer. 

Cyanotis Care  

  •  Established plants rarely need repotting. 
  • Excessive feeding can cause untypical growth.

Growing Cyanotis as a Houseplant

  • Cyanotis requires direct light, average temperature, and very high humidity.
  • Do not mist Cyanotis; direct application of moisture can damage the hairy leaves.
  • The soil should be allowed to dry moderately between waterings.
  • Fertilizer should be applied once or twice in spring and summer.

Cyanotis Pests and Diseases  

  • Cyanotis bear plant can be damaged by aphids and mealybugs. 

Cyanotis Propagation  

  • Cyanotis can be propagated by stem cuttings that include at least three pairs of leaves. The cuttings should be planted in an all-purposed soil mix.

Cyanotis Varieties to Grow  

  • Cyanotis kewensis, teddy bear plant. Trailing plant with gray-green leaves with purple underside; leaf hairs are reddish brown.  
  • C. somaliensis, pussy ears. Shiny green foliage covered with long white hairs.  


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