Perry's Perennial Pages

Tradescantia x andersoniana 'Concord Grape'

    Perennial of the Month-- July 2003 

 (tra-des-kant’ ee-a)
(pronunciation at link, turn up volume if too low)

Common name: Spiderwort

Family: Commelinaceae (Dayflower, Spiderwort)

Height x Width: 12-15" x 2’

Growth habit: upright

Growth Rate: fast

Foliage: alternate, linear-lanceolate, to 15” long, 1” wide, straplike and folded lengthwise to form a groove, dark bluish-green

Flowers: purplish blue, borne in terminal umbels, parts in threes- three sepals, three petals, six contrasting yellow stamens;  each flower only opens for a day, various flowers in clusters open over a period of days for a relatively long period of bloom in midsummer.

Hardiness: zones 4-9

Soil: prefers moist to boggy, not waterlogged rather well-drained, but will grow well in just about any soil including drier sites

Light: full sun to partial shade.

Pests & Problems: none serious, snails and caterpillars may feed on young shoots, root rots in waterlogged soils, leaf burn if too dry

Landscape Habit, Uses: border, ground cover, rock garden, woodland, naturalized and wild gardens, moist areas along streams and ponds. Combines nicely with perennial geraniums, lady's mantle.

Other Interest: This genus was named after John Tradescant, and English Horticulturist and Botanist; when stems are cut the viscous secretion hardens to form a silky web, hence the common name. This cultivar recently introduced by Kevin Vaughn.

Other Culture: Cut back after bloom when the foliage gets ratty and it will soon develop lots of new growth.   This cultivar, in addition to attractive foliage and flowers, remains more upright than most others with foliage often remaining attractive and not needing cutting back.  Deadheading flower clusters after bloom may prolong blooming of additional flowers.

Propagation: division in spring or fall.

Sources: Sunny Border (wholesale) among others, and many specialty local and mail order

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