Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wildflower/Native Wednesday-Tradescantia

From In the Garden

This month's Wildflower Wednesday (brought to you by Gail of Clay and Limestone)Tradescantia virginiana. This native wildflower is a favorite of mine because it thrives in woodland conditions. I have a lot of woods here and a lot of shade. Thanks goodness for these sweet little spiderworts!

Spiderworts come in all shades of pink, purple, and blue. I grow all the colors and I think they tend to hybridize freely so I never know what kind of mix I am going to get. I also have a special cultivar called 'Sweet Kate'. This little spiderwort has chartreuse foliage with a dark blue flower. It has grown in my garden for five years and I've never found seedlings of it-though they'd be welcomed.

Spiderworts can grow to a height of one foot to three or more feet. I have a big mix of them here and enjoy them all. Some are squat, some are tall and gangly, but all are easy care perennials that return each year without fail.

An interesting note is spiderwort is named after John Tradescant. Tradescant was a famous plant collector who helped to introduce many native North American plants to Great Britain and Europe.

Do you grow spiderwort....

in the garden....

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,
In the Garden


  1. Tina,
    I've grown to love spiderworts, they are so enchanting in the morning. We have 4 kinds here, the Red Grape I posted a while back has been really nice though it is still in a pot. Never seen one with chartreuse foilage.

  2. Spiderwort is one of the first flowers I learned, can't hardly kill them. They are cute and have nice foliage.

  3. I don't grow them on purpose..they are pretty enough, I just have a love/hate relationship with them...a little on the invasive side in my yard.

  4. Hi Tina, I grow tradescentia, never thought of them as wildflowers. i guess everything orginally was wild somewhere ... anyway in my garden they seem indestructible and have come back every years for at least ten years. Sometimes they droop and don't look much but they always come back. They prefer shade. I have the purple. Never heard of spiderwort. thanks for enjoyable post. cheers, catmint

  5. Hi Tina, thanks for showing a great plant for the wildflower day. We have them too, they were here when we bought the property. They will also grow in full sun in the driest of soil. They do seed a little too freely here and are hard to pull, but those cool shades certainly add to the flavor mix of the garden. :-)

  6. Hi Tina,

    Lovely photo and great info.

    I do grow one tradescantia, but the name escapes me right now (still jet-lagged and too lazy to get off my bum to look at my plant tags).

  7. I don't have any Tina, and they probably wouldn't like all this hot sun I have now. But...what beautiful blooms!

  8. I love this plant and don't mind that it can reseed~It's just what's needed in a shady garden on a hot day! 'Kate' is a looking plant with her lime leaves. I am hoping to find a white spiderwort to add to the mix. So glad you are participating! xxgail

  9. Good Morning All.
    Tina that is a lovely little flower. We have them here growing wild on the side of the road. They are a hardy lot. I didn't know they came in different colors.
    I hope all have a great day.

  10. I like a point. It has taken over some areas of the garden. One 'problem' with it is that it doesn't pull out easily. Getting ready to take my shovel out there to give some of the other plants a fighting chance. I will say Sweet Kate is a dream....she behaves like a lady.

  11. Grow lots of them. They are a favorite of mine too, but they need just the right spot in our dry area.

  12. Gorgeous photo, Tina! I don't have any spiderwort in my garden, but we do have some in the Idea Garden. If I watch carefully, I might be able to get a few starts the last time they divide it up.

  13. I grow them and love them! I have T. virginiana 'Zwanenburg Blue' and an unknown T. virginiana pink that's rather tall, plus some love children. For a year I had Hairy Spiderwort but that died over our wet winter.

  14. Good morning all!

    Randy, I like those spiderworts for sure. Google 'Sweet Kate' for chartreuse foliage. A real keeper and easily found.

    Dawn, I find them to be most sweet too!

    Darla, That could be a problem for sure. They are not so bad in my garden though I wish they'd self seed more (keep away all the other nasty weeds like poison ivy. It is run amok here.

    Catmint, They may have been imported to Australia? Perhaps from Great Britain where they were imported to from North America. How exciting~! The common name of them here is spiderworts. They kind of look like spiders I suppose with their gangly arms and all.

    Frances, Now if I had full sun I'd surely give those spiderworts a try. Good to know they grow in sun and dry soil. My sunshine is quickly disappearing. I can almost sit here and watch the trees fill in since they are growing so fast now that we thinned them out properly. Urgh. But it's okay. Cuts down on the sunburns:)

    Cameron, I bet you are up at like 4 in the morning wishing you could sleep! That jetlag is the one thing I hated about international travel. Cruises would be more my style-easy on the body and time change is gradual maybe?

    Linda, Texas is so different from here so I think you are right. I know these are native in the eastern half of the U.S. We have such a big country with such varied climates. P.S. My bluebonnets are not looking happy. Beginning to dry up. What shall I do?

    Gail, Sweet Kate is indeed sweet. A well behaved girl. She grows out back and brightens my woodland garden. Most of my spiderworts are in the front garden in full shade. They do indeed brighten that!

    Lola, Hardy indeed! All different colors too. Many don't know they come in colors other than blue. A whole rainbow here. I enjoy them.

    Janet, Never tried to pull any out so I had no idea they were hard to pull. Probably a survival technique. A good trait but yes the self seeding might need to be managed.

    Sheila, Yup, the right spot is always a great thing for plants. The trick is finding it! You must've found it though to grow them. Super!

    Rose, Most folks will gladly give you starts. Just ask around. They are sweet plants but will self seed a bit. Mine grow in full shade and are easy care tough as nails. Gotta love that.

    Sweetbay, They sure are sweet little plants for a wildflower garden!

  15. Good morning. Lovely shade of blue. I've never grown spiderwort. Interesting name, wonder where it comes from. They don't look spidery.

  16. I'm ashamed to say I don't have any of these beauties in my garden. Need to rectify this problem soon... ;)

  17. Good morning Marnie, I have no idea where the name comes from but now feel a need to go research it. Soon!

  18. It is very pretty and with what Lola said I wonder if that is what I kept seeing on the sides of the road in FL. I kept wanting to stop and take a picture and sending it to you to id but it is hard to do that on the highway. Even harder with Papa with me. Had it been Nana and I, we would have stopped. Teehee.

  19. Hello everyone. Sunny day and a bit windy with low humidity in GA. Just the way I like it :-)

    I do not have spiderworts but love that purple and gold color you show today Tina! I may have to add this to my garden at some point. I think they are lovely and wild one at that.....

    I must ask but think this is what my dad by their house. When there on my next extended visit, I must pluck some for my gardens....

    Jean, I know what you mean. It is like pulling teeth to get the Saint to pull over for me to take a peek at something growing on the roadside. In a congested area, I would never ask but on a country road with no traffic, I dont understand him. Some times I insist and he will give me that look but still pull over for me. Men, they have no sense of adventure at times...

  20. Wow! Your wildflower looks tropical. Thanks for sharing spiderworts with me – you’d think they’d pick a prettier name for such a gorgeous bloom.

  21. It's a pretty flower Tina but I don't grow them. Thanks for the comment on my blog. Do you have a link for Noelle s blog? thanks.

  22. What a pretty color and I bet the leaves look really pretty against it.
    I do have one spiderwort which I keep moving. It should be blooming soon.

  23. Jean, that was probably what you saw. It's a shame you couldn't have pulled over {with shovel} & gotten a souvenir. lol

  24. Hi Tina! I grow them in containers but not directly in the garden. Not sure why?

  25. What a good choice. What is good about them are that their young shoots are susceptible to snail damage.Also, their foliage sprawls in an unattractive manner by mid-summer.

  26. Aren't spiderwort the best? Two of mine are blooming, two in shadier locations have buds. I love them!