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How to Care for Spiderwort Plants

A mounded, bushy plant with long, lance-shaped leaves and bright purplish-blue bossoms, the spiderwort looks a little like fireworks bursting out in your summer garden. Grown as a native plant in many areas of the country, the spiderwort is an easy to care for perennial friend that will delight you with plenty of show all season long.

Choose a location with full sun to part shade. Moist, well drained soil is preferred for spiderwort. Too much shade will result in a spindly, droopy plant. Full sun should prove the most conducive to flower production.

Prepare the soil like any perennial bed. Add up to 4 inches of organic compost and till with the soil to a depth of one foot. This provides nutrients and allows the plant to successfully establish roots.

Plant spiderworts 12 to 18 inches apart to allow for mature growth and air circulation. Cultivars may grow as tall as 2 feet, with shorter varieties at 12 inches in height.

Water after planting. Spiderworts are perfect for the carefree gardener, as overly moist soil is tolerated as well as drought by these hardy perennials.

Cut back foliage to soil level if it begins to look spent or go dormant. New growth and a possible second bloom cycle may be the reward. Cutting back spent blooms and seed pods will also prevent rapid spread of spiderworts through self seeding, a trait for which this perennial is infamous.

Transplant Spiderwort Plants

Spiderwort (Tradescantia spp.) In fact, if it grows somewhere it likes, spiderwort will spread on the spot. Early spring is the best time to transplant most plants, including spiderwort. It may not survive transplantation. Wait until the season's growth is over and most of the spiderwort has died back. If you can, wait for the first of a few days of cloudy, drizzly weather. When transplanting spiderwort, plan the job so that you can get the plants in and out of the ground as quickly as possible.


Spiderworts have curious little flowers that open in the morning and close in the heat of the day, only to bloom once and complete their life cycle. Fortunately, new blooms will open for several weeks after flowering begins.

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