How To Grow & Care For Spiderwort

Spiderwort is a beautiful and versatile perennial plant that adds a touch of wildflower charm to any garden. With its unique three-petaled flowers that come in shades of blue, purple, pink, or white, it is an attractive option for gardeners looking to fill borders or even container gardens. The flowers bloom in clusters and are complemented by slender, grass-like foliage that adds texture to the garden landscape.

Native to North America, Spiderwort is known for its hardiness and adaptability. It can thrive in various soil types and conditions, making it an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced gardeners. The ease of care combined with its lovely appearance makes it a valuable addition to any garden.

Interestingly, the name “Spiderwort” comes from the plant’s spider-like flowers and the sticky, thread-like secretion that appears on the stem when cut, resembling a spider’s web. Here’s an in-depth guide to understanding, planting, and caring for Spiderwort.

Common NamesSpiderwort, Widow’s Tears
Botanical NameTradescantia
Plant TypePerennial
Mature Size12-18 inches tall
Sun ExposureFull sun to part shade
Soil TypeMoist, well-drained soil
Hardiness Zones4-9
Native AreaNorth America

Spiderwort Care

Spiderwort is a relatively low-maintenance plant that does not demand much attention. Thriving in various environments, it is especially popular in native plant gardens, woodland settings, and even as an indoor houseplant.

While it’s an adaptable plant, understanding its preferences and providing the right care will ensure robust growth and prolonged blooming. The following sections delve into the specifics of caring for Spiderwort.

Light Requirement for Spiderwort

Spiderwort prefers full sun to part shade. In hotter climates, it appreciates some afternoon shade to protect it from scorching. Indoors, a spot with bright, indirect light works well.

Soil Requirements for Spiderwort

Plant Spiderwort in moist, well-drained soil that’s rich in organic matter. It tolerates various soil types, including clay and sandy soils, but thrives best in humus-rich soil.

Water Requirements for Spiderwort

Regular watering is essential for Spiderwort, especially during dry spells. The soil should be kept consistently moist but not waterlogged. Be careful to avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot.

Temperature and Humidity

Spiderwort is tolerant of various temperatures but prefers a range of 65°F to 75°F. It can withstand cooler temperatures but should be protected from frost. Moderate humidity levels are suitable for this plant.


Fertilize Spiderwort with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer in the spring to encourage growth and flowering. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application.

Pruning Spiderwort

Pruning can help maintain the shape and size of Spiderwort. Cut back the foliage after flowering to encourage a second bloom and to keep the plant looking tidy.

Propagating Spiderwort

Spiderwort can be propagated through division or stem cuttings. Spring or early fall is the best time for division, while cuttings can be taken during the growing season.

How To Grow Spiderwort From Seed

Planting Spiderwort from seed requires patience. Sow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost or directly outdoors in spring. Keep the soil moist until germination.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases


Aphids can be controlled by using insecticidal soap or neem oil.


Rust can be avoided with proper spacing and watering practices.

Common Problems With Spiderwort


Legginess occurs when the plant grows too tall and spindly. Ensure proper sunlight and consider pruning to shape.


Overwatering can cause root rot. Monitor water levels and allow the soil to dry slightly between watering.

Failure to Bloom

Insufficient sunlight or improper fertilizing can prevent blooming. Adjust care practices as needed.

Pro Tips

  1. Plant Spiderwort in groups or clusters for a more substantial visual impact.
  2. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage additional blooming.
  3. Divide the plant every 2-3 years to prevent overcrowding and maintain vigor.
  4. Provide mulch to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.
  5. Monitor the plant for signs of pests or diseases and treat promptly.