Tradescantia virginiana

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 2 Professionals
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: spider lily
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Commelinaceae
Native Range: Eastern United States
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 1.50 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: Blue to violet-blue, rarely rose or white
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Clay Soil, Black Walnut

Culture

Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, acidic soils. Tolerant of poor soils. Divide clumps when they become overcrowded. Foliage declines after flowering and should then be cut back almost to the ground to encourage new growth and a possible fall bloom. Can self-seed and spread in ideal growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

This species of spiderwort is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial which grows up to 3' tall. Violet-blue to purple, three-petaled flowers (.75-1.5" diameter) accented by contrasting yellow stamens open up, a few at a time, each for only one day, from terminal clusters (umbels) containing numerous flower buds. Flowers bloom in succession from late May into early July. Arching, iris-like, dark green leaves up to 1' long and 1 inch wide are folded lengthwise forming a groove. A Missouri native plant that is commonly found on open wooded slopes and moist shaded bluff ledges in the eastern part of the State. When the stems of spiderworts are cut, a viscous stem secretion is released which becomes threadlike and silky upon hardening (like a spider's web), hence the common name.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Young shoots are susceptible to snail damage. Foliage sprawls in an unattractive manner by mid-summer.

Garden Uses

An interesting and long-blooming perennial for native plant gardens, woodland or shade gardens, wild gardens or naturalized areas. Also can be grown in borders, but mid-summer foliage decline is a potential disincentive for this placement.