Tradescantia

Tradescantias are persistent plants-easy to grow that sow their seeds widely.

spiderwort swirl

Photo: dragonflysky (flickr)

Its flowers are usually a pretty blue, but it can also appear in pink and white.

Tradescantia is a native American plant that is named after an Englishman, John Tradescant who was King Charles I’s gardener. He was brought a plant from Virginia, and it now bears his name, plus its place of origin, Tradescantia virginica.

It is commonly called Spiderwort because in years past it was used as a cure for spider bites.

The plant grows from 1 to 2 ft tall and begins to flower in early summer and grows virtually in any soil in sun or part shade.

Easy Seeding

It sows seeds widely and so new plants appear readily and sometimes inconveniently. However, if it gets bedraggled and it is cut down, it happily springs forth again and continues to flower all season.

Its flowers are usually a pretty blue, but it can also appear in pink and white. The flowers have 3 petals and 3 sepals so it is sometimes also called the Trinity flower.

The flat flowers appear in clusters and each flower has a boat shaped bract at the base. The leaves are elongated and attached to the stem by a sheaf.

Each flower last for only one day. The hybrids have the best looking flowers but do not come back true from seeds. Though easy to grow, this is not a plant I treasure.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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