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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems






Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spider What?


Spiderwort is assuredly not the most endearing name for a plant.

In contrast to its name it is actually quite a cheery and charming flowering perennial. Right now oodles of them, in massed bunches, can be seen along the roadsides growing wildly in our area.

They are also catching my attention each morning as new blooms unfold brightly in my back garden. My how they've grown since first planted last spring.

If anyone had told me a few years ago I'd get the least bit excited about this rugged little plant with the dainty purplish-blue flowers I might have laughed at the thought. After all many do consider it a weed.
But in my quest for native plants the Common Spiderwort, Tradescontia ohiensis seemed to be a good fit for the then newly cultivated wildflower garden. They are pretty wild alright. And cold hardy, too! They prefer a well drained soil in sun or partial shade.
The bees are visiting them first thing in the mornings and enjoying them right now as much as I am. Don't look for the blooms in the afternoon, though. Once the sun comes out full on, they close up until the succession bloom opens the next morning.

Easy, non-care, nearly indestructible plants are topping my list of must-haves these days. Spiderwort is being celebrated for those characteristics. Even though, I admit, I DO wish it had a finer name.

33 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I am with you in that I just love those perky blue flowers.

FlowerLady said...

I also love this plant. It does spread easily, and that can be considered a bad thing, but they make me happy and they can always be dug up and moved.

Enjoy. Those are lovely photos you took and make me want to go out to enjoy my clumps of blue blooms.

Have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady

Kerri said...

Any blue flower is a welcome addition to my garden! I ended up with spiderwort as a stowaway with a daylily that I bought several years ago. Their new foliage looks similar. I had to dig up the lily to separate the tough spiderwort, which now flourishes in another spot. But I noticed last year that a little piece of the lily went along with it. So it's digging time again!
Your clump of those little blue faces looks so cheery :)
Don't you wonder how they come by those unflattering names?

Patricia said...

Beautiful! It just so happens that I posted a spiderwort photo yesterday, as well. I never thought of cultivating them. I love how they grow throughout the pasture and field this time of year.

Floridagirl said...

I'm glad to see you're growing this in your garden, Meems. A couple months ago, I planted some that I had taken from my son's property. I had watched them there for the past year put on quite a show, and, yes, as you said, they bloomed throughout all that cold! I had been worried, though, that they might reseed in my neighbors' perfect lawns. It's kinda nice to see them growing...on purpose...in so many other Florida gardens.

Kara said...

How interesting! Blue blooms are always welcome in a garden, especially early ones.
Lungwort, or Pulmonaria also blooms blue.
I have neither plant, but wish I did.

Noelle said...

They are just lovely. Sometimes I wonder who gives some plants such bad names?

sanddune said...

When I was growing up I was enlisted to pull buckets full of the Spiderwort from my Mom's yard.She considered them a nusance weed. But I can attest to their toughness.They seemed to always return in her yard.

Vonnie said...

I found these in a small patch of garden in my front yard. It's the same area where the beautiberry used to be. We accidentally removed it, not knowing what beautiberry was. I won't make the same mistake again with the spiderwort. There are so pretty. Funny, my hubby just told me that he was the one who cultivated them from somewhere else int he yard!

Ami said...

I love this blue/purple color flower in the mass. Your pictures are so beautiful as usual.

ldybug said...

A list of "easy, non-care, nearly indestructible plants" is in my future. So glad you brought this up.

Cameron said...

I grew a lot of the spiderwort at a previous home. I have one clump here, planted last year. It's in a holding bed right now waiting for a companion combination!

keewee said...

They sure are a lovely shade of blue.

Island Rider said...

Oh, gosh. I wish I had known that they made such nice additions to the garden. I have them all over my pasture and youngest son just mowed a big patch down. I will try to dig them up and move them to a flower bed next time!

marmee said...

what's not to love other than the name...i would give it a nickname like "blue flush" or "so worth it spider blue." i love having something in the garden repertoire that is indestructable...great choice. <3

NanaK said...

The spiderwort look very cheery in your garden. This spring they do seem to be all over the roadsides and an even more electric blue in color than I've seen them before. Since learning to enjoy this native plant I'm much happier as a gardener. If you can't eradicate 'em, cultivate 'em! But I do wonder about the name. And what's with "toadflax"? They are both pretty wildflowers with not so pretty names.

Aunty Belle said...

Some years back a sister an Autny B went to toodle dow nthe florida backroads an 'ase clutch after clutch of this endearin' wildflower--why in the world ain't the florida beatification committe planted these lovelies along the interstate embankments? Wouln't that be a good maintenance free selection fer state roads?

Sure is purty at yore place, Meems.

NellJean said...

Try to rethink the name as 'wort' being Latin for 'flower' rather than thinking of a warty spider.

Tradescantia makes a good border for the back of a bed because it blooms ahead of most everything else and such a lovely blue. When the flowers with the nicer names bloom out, I cut mine all the way to the ground since they're already getting ratty by then.

Penny McCrea said...

I think the name would have been given by either the early settlers in the colonies or by one of the John Tradescants, the father and son botanists and collectors. I believe both brought back plants from the New World for royal and private gardens in London. Spiderwort, Tradescantia virginiana, was named for one of them.

Penny McCrea said...

BTW, that would have been in the 17th century.

perennialgardener said...

I don't have any of these pretty little bloomers in my garden. Last spring I almost picked up a pot at our local Native Plant sale. Heard they can spread quite vigorously though...so be careful. :)

Janis said...

Meems, Your Spring garden looks great and whats not to love about a native blue flower. Janis

Gail said...

I like them, too! I've let them seed about in the back garden~just for those reasons you named...pretty, easy to take care of and the bees like them! Your photos have captured their charm. gail

Darla said...

We have them everywhere too...not a very pretty name.

joey said...

Hi Meems. I love this photogenic plant and, though a beauty, is a beast in my garden. With no manners, it wanders everywhere and intertwines, buddy-buddy, choking out my daylillies and other beloved perennials ... I am constantly digging, separating, giving them away only to find they are still hiding here and there, refusing to behave. Have you ever had that problem!

Susan said...

When I was a kid my mother hated it when these plants showed up in her yard, so I've always considered them a weed. But I love their "true blue" color, and they grow great in a wet area in my garden. Their blue color can, however, produce a nasty stain on clothing.

Kimberly said...

Such gorgeous color combinations! Nice addition and wonderful photos!

hanako! said...

How lucky you Floridians are to have such gorgeous native plants! I will disagree with you about its name-- I find that plants with -wort in their names sound really quaint and old timey, as if a botanist from the Old World with a thick British accent and powdered wig laid in the grass next to it with a leather-bound sketch book, scribbled a likeness of it, and splashed a bit of watercolor on the sketch for posterity. Perhaps an ode or two was penned about it by that same artist. At least that is what I imagine people did back in those days :D

Lola said...

Love this quaint plant. Haven't thought too much about putting it in my garden as I didn't know whether it would roam or not. I've seen it on the side of the road. It seems to be much bluer/brighter this yr. Was just wondering if I should get a start in my Back Corner Garden. Maybe behind the Flowering Almond which is just now giving out. Maybe the 2 of them would over bloom each other.

Rhonda said...

I love the spiderworts. As usual, your photography highlights the beauty of the flowers.

Grace Peterson said...

Hi Meems Dear~~

How fun to see these lovelies along roadsides. Although they're hardy here, they're not indigenous. In fact they're kind of stealth. I'm wondering if the "wort" means "to ward off" like the other common "wort" monikers. Like maybe they keep spiders from invading the home or a foliage poultice will lessen the sting of a spider bite. I'm sure somebody much smarter than me knows this. :)

Regardless of the name a spiderwort by any other name would look as sweet.

Zoƫ said...

I loved this post so much I was determined to have spiderwort in my garden as well. Sadly my nursery considers it such a weed they don't sell it. :( So I guess I won't be able to have any in my garden, as pretty as they are.

Babs said...

The spiderwort has become quite prolific in N. Miss. They are easy to transplant from natives found along the roadway. We have tried to get them to over winter in the Chicago area without success. We really don't see them much farther north than Memphis.


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