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Spiderwort is an Old Favorite


Spiderwort or Tradescantia virginiana is native throughout the Eastern U.S. from Maine to Alabama, and was first introduced to Europe as a garden plant in 1629.

Arriving in my garden as a weed, it’s been a keeper for me, despite its famously unattractive appearance after flowering. The solution to that is to simply hack back the ratty-looking foliage, which produces regrowth and some reblooming — ain’t nature accommodating?


  • Hardy in Zones 4 — 9.
  • Happy in any exposure, sun through heavy shade!
  • Grows in 2-foot high spreading clumps.
  • Violet flowers from May into July.


  • Cut back the ratty-looking foliage after blooming, and the regrowth will look much better.
  • Spreads so vigorously in some areas — especially the Southeast — that it’s considered invasive. So watch out for that.
  • Highly drought tolerant, so supplemental watering is rarely needed.

by Susan Harris


Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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