Spiderwort ( Tradescantia )

We grew spiderworts in the Victorian garden back home. They came with the Victorian home and were popular at the turn of the last century. We were surprised to find them growing wild down here.

Late spring they bloom and bloom. The rest of the year they look like long thick grass. They leaves tend to flop over and it is not the prettiest plant after blooming. Leaves can be shorn after blooming. Blooms open in the sunlight and close in at dusk never to reopen. It will bloom more the more sun it receives and I’m told more often if you do trim the leaves after blooming. Flowers come in pink, purple and white.

They prefer moist soil and are often grown around bog gardens.

Spider worts die back to the ground in the cold, heat or drought but will re-appear with moderate weather.

Spiderworts are a North American native. They were brought back to Europe. The Europeans believed that ‘Dancing sickness/madness’ was related to spiders. Spiderwort was believed to expel the poison and prevent infection when added to ale.

Did not survive the 3 months of triple digit heat and drought summer 2011