Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Virginia Spiderwort

As a life long nurseryman many friends and customers have shared cuttings, seed and divisions of plants in their landscapes with me. You might often find me early in the morning searching a friend or customers yard for the above mentioned items as well as a cup of coffee or a fresh muffin from the oven. About 21 years ago when I set out in the nursery business on my own the first person to share items from her yard with me was a lady named Lucy Hayes of Houstonville North Carolina. Mrs Hayes was going to make sure that I had a start of everything that she had. She was an avid lover of perennial flowers. My favorite plant that came from her was the Virginia Spiderwort (Tradescantia Virginiana). Mrs Hayes was in her seventies when she bagan to share plants with me and her mother and her grandmother had grown Virginia Spiderwort in their gardens.

Virginia Spiderwort is a native perennial. It has beautiful bluish to lavender flowers. It prefers some sun and does best if it has constant moisture. Late in the summer the plant can suffer during dry spells but if cut back hard can return to form on towards summer's end. The plants individual flowers only last a day or so and they open up in the morning and close up toward the end of the afternoon. It will continually open flowers each day for long periods in the summer. Virginia Spiderwort spreads or clumps by underground stems and takes to division very easily. It makes an excellent plant for the front of the border. Native Americans would crush the fleshy stems and leaves and put the juice on insect bites and to relieve other skin problems as well. Virginia Spiderwort is easily grown and its colorful three sided flowers are a joy to see when walking early on a summers morning.


  1. Thanks for your post! I have this plant in my garden and I just thought of it an hour ago when wrote a post about hellebores that has a spiderwort on one of the pictures. You gave some info that I didn't know, and I am grateful for that.

  2. Interesting! Love the section on Lucy Hayes. I have a little bit of an earth section on my patio..lots of sun that I have wanted to fill in with flowers...right now it is just dirt and a bicycle

  3. wow kevin. How nice that this lady shared her cuttings with you, now that is a great story of 'how it all began'! [s] nothing is as fun as going through a nursery with someone who loves plants. Wednesday, a still new friend and I perused our Natural Gardener..I had to curb my desire to buy as our big backyard makeover will be costly enough..oh, and I think that a recent light frost might've killed one of my flowering sennas (I bought two) that I planted recently. I hope that some of your plants are good for Central TX too (I know the beauty berry is on our green garden list), of course, the Virginia spiderwort is not..alas..