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Spiderwort Photos © Kim Hosen; Merrimac Farm Wildlife Managemen Area, Nokesvile VA; May 2015
Text by: Betty McGuire

Tradescantia virginiana
Dayflower family, Commelinaceae

A native perennial, spiderwort receives its name from the secretion that pours from the stem when it is cut. The threadlike liquid hardens into a silky material reminiscent of the spider’s web. The stems can carry the plant up to 3 feet tall and a single plant will spread out to about 1.5 feet maximum.

Prime bloom times for this flower are between May and July. The three-petaled flowers are blue or a blue-violet combination accented by contrasting yellow stamens which open up, a few at a time, each for only one day, from terminal clusters (umbels).

Spiderwort likes partial shade to full shade and needs a good amount of water. They can tolerate clay soil although they prefer soil with lots of humus.

Bumblebees are the most important pollinators of the flowers, but other bees will also visit the flowers including honeybees, Little Carpenter bees, and Halictine bees. In addition, they also attract butterflies.

There are no known serious problems with insects or disease. It has been observed that seedlings are vulnerable to snail damage.