The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group, a place where everyone is welcome to note the observations you have made of the natural world around you. Insects, weather, fish, climate, birds and/or flowers: all are worthy additions to the bucket. Ask questions if you have them and someone here may well have an answer. All we ask is that you let us know where you're located, as close as you're comfortable revealing.I like low-maintenance plants. Native perennials are right up my alley. Give them growing space that's to their liking, and they will return year after year. Some occupy more or less the same space each year. Others will expand their territory. Spiderwort falls into the latter category.
There are numerous species in the genus Tradescantia. Probably the most common is T. virginiana, or Virginia spiderwort. The species is widely distributed across the eastern United States. It often grows along roadsides and other locations with partial to full sunshine. The plant readily grows back after mowing.
Plants tend to grow in clusters, reaching a maximum height of around 3 feet. Flowers are usually blue or purple (rarely white). Blossoms only last for a portion of a day, but healthy plants will produce daily blooms for much of the growing season. The flowers attract bees, as my photos attest.
Once established, spiderworts are reliable perennials. If they like your garden spot, they will quickly expand their territory by seed and by root growth. Be prepared to remove excess plants, lest they crowd out other wildflowers. Spiderworts are a good choice for naturalizing areas that you'd prefer not to cultivate or mow frequently.
Things I didn't know until today, gleaned from wildflower.org
Each hair on the stamens of this showy spiderwort consists of a chain of thin-walled cells; the hairs are a favorite subject for microscopic examination in biology classes because the flowing cytoplasm and nucleus can be seen easily.
The genus is named after John Tradescant (1608-1662) who served as gardener to Charles 1 of England.
Here is a typical plant cluster.