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A picture of a Spiderwort

Spiderwort

Tradescantia spp.

Also known as

Wandering Dude

Silvery Wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina) 2 by Mokkie (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Tender

11b

USDA zone

7°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

80cm

Max

80cm

10cm

Min

30cm

2 years to reach maturity

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images

A photo of Spiderwort
A photo of Spiderwort
Tradescantia sillamontana
Tradescantia.albiflora.(fluminensis)

Overview

The genus Tradescantia consists of around 75, mostly evergreen, herbaceous perennials and is also known by the common name Spiderwort. They are typically grown for their attractive, lance-shaped foliage, which is often green striped, with purple colouration and their small 3-petalled blue, pink-purple or white flowers. Highly valued as ornamental plants, Tradescantia are grown worldwide and have been widely naturalised, with many hybrids and cultivars produced. They make great, low-maintenance houseplants with an attractive trailing growth habit that suits placement in hanging containers. May cause allergic reaction in some pets, if ingested. Plants in the genus Tradescantia have until recently been commonly known as ‘Wandering Jew’. This name is no longer used by the horticultural world due to its historical use in supporting antisemitic stereotypes.

Common problems

Pest and diseases include spider mites. Botrytis disease is the grey rot associated with wet/humid conditions. Can be prevented by drying plants out in between waterings.

Companion plants

Best planted on its own as it can overgrow other plants.

Harvesting

Not usually harvested.

Propagation

Seed

Cover seeds with potting soil/organic matter. Sow in spring or towards the end of autumn.

Cuttings

Take cuttings in the spring in cooler areas/autumn in warmer areas. Stem cuttings roots quickly placed in a smaller pot with moist potting soil in a warm, bright area.

Division

Remove stems with roots and replant to new areas.

Layering

Wherever the shoots touch soil, it roots and spreads!

Special Features

Pot plant

Plant using potting mix or organic matter. Be careful not to over-water and do not let soil dry out completely, prefers evenly moist soil.

Indoor plant

Also grown as indoor plants with bright, indirect light.

Attractive flowers

Attractive leaves

Uses

Ornamental

Cultivated as a garden ornamental. It is often grown as a ground cover, mainly for its colourful foliage.