Tradescantia, commonly known as Spiderwort, is a genus of plants in the family Commelinaceae comprising about 70 species of herbaceous perennials native to the New World.
Most of the species have long, sword-like leaves and three-petaled flowers with contrasting yellow stamens. The flowers are usually bright blue or purple, but are occasionally pink, red and white. Some species are valued for their variegated leaves, while others showcase beautiful flowers at various times throughout the season. These plants are amongst the easiest plants to grow as long as you understand their needs. They are great for borders, edging, hanging baskets or as groundcovers, and can add a lush texture to any garden.
The name for the genus honors John Tradescant (1608-1662), a royal gardener to King Charles I of England.
The common name “Spiderwort” comes from its sap, which forms threads like a spider’s web when stems are cut or broken.
Tradescantia symbolizes immortality, optimism and moral authority.
Interesting facts about Tradescantia:
Is Spiderwort Invasive?
Spiderwort is considered an invasive weed in some areas and climates.
However, not all species are invasive nor do they all thrive in the same weather conditions. It’s always important to keep in mind that not all species are invasive everywhere.
Is Spiderwort Poisonous?
The sap of most members of the genus is irritating to the skin.
Benefits and Uses
The main use of Tradescantia is as ornamentals and houseplants. However, some species such as Tradescantia zebrina are known for their medicinal uses.
Tradescantia zebrina, also known as “Wandering Jew” is an important medicinal plant with several traditional medicinal uses. The species has been used to treat a variety of ailments such as cold, cough, high blood pressure, dysentery, tuberculosis, urinary infections and kidney diseases. It has also been used to treat amenorrhea and to strengthen the blood. In Mexico, there is a drink called “Matali”. It is a popular herbal tea made from the plant Tradescantia zebrina, which contains lemon and sweetened leaves. It is used as a cold tonic drink and it’s very healthy.
The flowers come in shades of blue, purple, pink, red and white.
Spring, Autumn, Summer
This plant can reach up to 90 cm in height.
Spiderwort prefers fertile, moist and well-drained soil. The soil pH should be acidic, with a pH between 5.0 and 6.5.