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Tradescantia ohiensis (Spiderwort)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Tradescantia ohiensis

Spiderwort or bluejacket

This Spiderwort of Pennsylvania provenance is a great landscape plant for hot sunny locations, unlike others in the genus. Attractive bluish-grey foliage with flowers in blue, pink or purple from early June to September. Think of a flowering grass-like, drought-loving native perennial.

SIZE
Tradescantia ohiensis LP50 - 50 per flat Availability
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Height

24-36 Inches

Spread

12-18 Inches

Spacing

12 Inches

Bloom Color

Light Blue

USDA Hardiness Zone 4-9

Spiderwort Interesting Notes

Reflexed spiderwort is a robust, multi-stemmed, perennial that makes an excellent garden addition. In late summer, this spiderwort produces attractive blue to violet-blue three-petaled 1” diameter flowers atop plants 2½-3’ tall. With its sword-like blue-green foliage and upright arching habit, reflexed spiderwort combines well with other foliage textures in the garden. It grows well in full sun to filtered shade and in a wide range of soils from alkaline to acidic that are well-drained to quite dry. Combine reflexed spiderwort with Liatris microcephalaPackera anonymaSchizachyrium scopariumCallicarpa americanaPhlox pilosa ssp. ozarkana, and Chrysogonum virginianum. - Mt. Cuba Center

T. ohiensis can be found in the prairies, wood margins, roadsides and meadows of the Eastern US, Massachusetts to Minnisota, Florida to Texas. The Cherokee used Spiderwort as an ingredient in several preparations for female and kidney problems. They used a tea for digestive problems and would rub crushed leaves on insect bites (stings). A root poultice was used for cancer. 2bnthewild.com

I am not sure why I feel compelled to make excuses for some of the plants I describe, especially those with vaguely unsettling names that I worry might rebuff rather than entice you. I suppose I want you to love them as I do - all their idiosyncracies included - with an eye unbiased by name or reputation. Spiderwort is one of those words that wriggles and resonates from the depths of the unconscious with hints of dark basements and foul witches' brew. However, in reality, nothing about these dayflowers suggests anything sinister, and my best guess is that the name referrs to the delicate weblike filaments that decorate the anthers of each 3-petalled flower like a feather boa in miniature. The lightly fragrant flowers pop out one or two at a time from the folds of a leaflike bract. They open broad and flat in the heat of the day, then wither and curl under to be replaced the next morning by a new batch of blooms. The foliage of spiderworts looks very similar to a daylily's, especially when it is first emerging. (I remember confusing the two on tests in my perennial class in college.) The basal fans elongate in flowering to become leafy stems with alternate foliage arranged like sweet corn and blossoms appearing out of the topmost bract leaves. Bill Cullina

 

 

Tradescantia ohiensis Growing and Maintenance Tips

Prefers moist to dry, well-drained, sandy, acidic soils in full to partial sun. Propagate by seed, cuttings or division. Deadhead to prolong season and cut foliage back after flowering. Best used as a border perennial, in open meadows and rock gardens.

 

 

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Sun
Full Sun
Part Sun
Part Sun
Summer
Summer
Dry
Dry
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Well-Drained
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Propagation Type
Open pollinated
Attributes
Native to North America
Dry Sun
Meadow