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Spiderwort - Tradescantia virginiana

by gbrow
Edible (34)      Groundcover (2)     

A Tradescantia Spiderwort in a hanging pot

Common Name: Spiderwort

Scientific name: Tradescantia virginiana

The Spiderwort is a very easy plant to grow both indoors and outdoors in a garden, pot or as an edging border. The colour of the flowers can vary from blue, purple, pink, white or red and have three petals. The flowers will bloom in the early morning sun and close up at night.

Contrasing colours on the leaves of a spiderwort.

The leaves of the Spiderwort will have a purple edging with the purple centre line, which will contrast with the pale green colour of the rest of the leaf.

The bell shaped section from where the flower emerges is a great device for capturing those small droplets of water.

Contrasing colours on the leaves of a spiderwort.

This plant can be grown in a series of clumps in the garden bring a beautiful colour during the summer months. Depending on where planted to flowers may only last a day, but due to the number of flowers the plant can produce there will be new flowers ready to open the next day.

Spiderworts are considered an edible plant and can be used in salads or as the finish touches to a plated dish. They can also be used as a ground cover if they are trimmed down regularly in height.


Spiderworts will grow to around 60cm in height and can spread out to about 90cm in diameter if planted in a garden. If they are grown in a pot the will still grow to around 60cm in height, but can be contained to the diameter of the pot.

Contrasing colours on the leaves of a spiderwort.

The Spiderwort can be grown in partial shade or full sun. If grown in a garden that has full sun it would be best advised to plant a number of spiderworts of different colours together, as they will spread creating a sea of different colours. The plant tends to grow extremely well in a well-drained sandy soil so that the rots do not rot. It is a very drought tolerant plant, but if left un attended can grow to look much like a weed.

The Spiderwort can grow by the spreading of the seeds that have fallen onto the ground causing them to spread into even bigger clumps. After a period of three to four years you can divide the clump into separate clumps and replant. This is usually done in early spring to promote new growth.

You can also propagate the plant by cutting off the tips and planting it into a pot or tub. Keep out of the direct sunlight and plant in a good potting mix. Make sure to not over water as the roots may rot.

Contrasing colours on the leaves of a spiderwort.

When to plant:
Best to plant in the early months of spring to promote new growth and plenty of flowers. Once the flowering has finished by the end of summer you will need to cut the plant back by about half its height.

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