General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 24-36 inches
Plant Spread: 12-18 inches
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Spring ephemeral
Fruit: Dehiscent
Other: 3-sectioned capsule
Fruiting Time: Summer
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Blue
Bloom Size: 1"-2"
Flower Time: Spring
Late spring or early summer
Underground structures: Rhizome
Uses: Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Humidity tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Self fertile
Stratify seeds: 3 months at 40 degrees
Seeds are hydrophilic
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Root

Common names
  • Spiderwort
  • Virginia Spiderwort
  • Spider Lily
  • Lady's Tears
Botanical names
  • Accepted: Tradescantia virginiana
  • Synonym: Tradescantia albida
  • Synonym: Tradescantia axillaris
  • Synonym: Tradescantia virginica
  • Synonym: Tradescantia congesta

Photo Gallery
Location: Aberdeen, NC
Date: March 12,  2022
Spiderwort #102; RAB p. 271, 38-3-; LHB p. 198, 31-4-2;  AG p. 53
Photo by Hamwild
Location: Aberdeen, NC
Date: March 30, 2022
Spiderwort #102; RAB p. 271, 38-3-; LHB p. 198, 31-4-2;  AG p. 53
Location: Nora's Garden - Castlegar, B.C.
Date: 2016-05-15
 8:58 am. Each blossom lasts a day.
Photo by Hamwild
Location: Roberta Georgia
Date: May
Ack! They've over-run the place!
Location: Southern Maine
Date: June 21 2022
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2011-06-09
Photo by poisondartfrog
Location: Hood, Alabama 
Date: 2023-04-21
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2013-06-15
note hover fly on right bloom
Location: C&O Canal Park in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Date: June
credit: Daniel J. Layton
Location: Our Prairie to be, near Central Iowa
Date: June 2015
What a purple!
Location: Maryland
Date: 2015-05-26
Location: Chicago
Date: 2020-06-22
Location: Broken Arrow, OK

Newly planted, Spring emergent growth
Location: central Illinois
Date: 5-8-12
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2016-09-29

Courtesy Gardens in the Wood of Grassy Creek
  • Uploaded by vic
Location: Maryland
Date: 2015-05-22

Date: c. 1836
illustration from 'Curtis's Botanical Magazine', 1836
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2011-06-02
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2014-07-16
This plant is tagged in:
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  • Posted by Catmint20906 (PNW WA half hour south of Olympia - Zone 8a) on Aug 27, 2014 4:08 PM concerning plant:
    Virginia spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) produces purple blossoms in the late spring to early summer. Reaching up to 3 feet tall, it likes average to moist soil and part sun. Native to eastern North America, it is a nectar source for butterflies and has special value to native and bumble bees. In my zone 7a garden, it is mildly aggressive and its deep roots make it a chore to dig up.
  • Posted by Chillybean (Iowa - Zone 5a) on Jul 22, 2015 6:15 PM concerning plant:
    This plant also goes by the common names of Cow Slobber and Snotweed. I already have an abundance of Ohio Spiderwort in a wetter area of our property. I planted the bare roots for the Virginia near our Prairie-to-be in early April. They came up nicely and I was very surprised and pleased that they bloomed. What a gorgeous, deep purple! My favourite colour!

    If I had any disappointments, it is the fact that after their time of blooming, leaves and all died. There is absolutely no sign of their existence. I do not know if this is usual or not, but I'll be watching for them next spring. They have a chance as they are earlier than many of the weeds I have to battle. I hope the Cow Slobber flourishes as much as the Ohio variety.
  • Posted by Catmint20906 (PNW WA half hour south of Olympia - Zone 8a) on Aug 2, 2014 7:28 PM concerning plant:
    According to the NPIN, Tradescantia virginiana has special value to native & bumble bees.

  • Posted by Mindy03 (Delta KY) on Feb 12, 2012 12:32 PM concerning plant:
    Honey bees get nectar and pollen from this plant.
  • Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Feb 7, 2014 6:08 PM concerning plant:
    Leaves (tea or salad) and seeds are edible.
Plant Events from our members
Catmint20906 On May 13, 2015 Bloomed
WebTucker On March 12, 2022 Bloomed
dnrevel On April 12, 2023 Plant emerged
I have one area in the front yard that I am allowing this plant, which tends to be aggressive, to continue growing. Front yard by sweet peas, south side of house.
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