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April 11th, 2018

Spiderwort – Florida Wildflower

by R.S. Walsh

Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) is a native perennial and a true Florida wildflower. It is just as likely to be found in wetlands as non-wetlands and residential landscapes. Spiderwort emerges in the early springtime. The plant itself has round fleshy stems that look like long grass leaves about 12-15 inches long. The flowers are a beautiful blue-purple color about 1 to 1-1/2” in diameter with 3 petals. The center of the flower has beautiful deep blue stamens with yellow tips, which many find very striking. Although each flower only lasts 1 day, this plant will produce flowers for several weeks, and generally will seed in the summertime.

With is structure and small size, Spiderwort can be used as a groundcover or a border planting in a wildflower garden or casual setting. This plant actually prefers our island’s sandy, lime rock soil. It attracts pollinators especially bees, which are very important to our eco-system.

Other common names for this plant are Bluejacket and Ohio Spiderwort. Although some people see Spiderwort as a weed since it can spring up in different areas, other gardeners enjoy the wildflower for its free spirit and beauty. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder (and gardener).

This plant column is a joint effort by all at In The Garden, Sanibel’s garden center, located at 3889 Sanibel Captiva Rd., Sanibel, Florida.

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