En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - April 10, 2009

From: Cicero, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Getting Tradescantia (spiderwort) to stand up straight in Indiana
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is there a way to keep Tradescantia plants on a thicker base so as not to fall over? Mine are spreading like wild fire, but most fall over and look like weeds.

ANSWER:

We found two members of the genus Tradescantia native to Indiana in our Native Plant Database: Tradescantia bracteata (longbract spiderwort) and Tradescantia ohiensis (bluejacket). That doesn't necessarily mean those are the species you have in your garden, they are just good examples to look at. We really couldn't find an answer to your question. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, they grow profusely, but I do notice they seem usually to be in a situation where there are rocks to lean against. We have a lot of rocks on the grounds of the Center! Both of the above species are mentioned as having "stout" stems or "upright" stems. About the only suggestion we can make is paying attention to their cultural requirements. They do not require much water, and they do like shade. Their flowers open in the morning and close as the day goes on, so perhaps they are drooping over in protest against too much sunlight. Once they have ceased blooming in the summer, they can be cut back severely, and other plants, perhaps annuals, can be interspersed to keep the area attractive. Since they are perennials, they will come back and, of course, spread. In some places, they are considered invasive, so you do need to be conscious of where they are going. 


Tradescantia bracteata

Tradescantia bracteata

Tradescantia ohiensis

Tradescantia ohiensis

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Unknown ailment of Turk's cap in northeast Texas
July 01, 2013 - I just moved from the Dallas area to Emory in the north east part. I brought two young Turk's cap plants in pots. I had to leave the mother plant behind. The tops have a very curled and shrunken a...
view the full question and answer

Clover in grass in Marysville WA
March 05, 2009 - I noticed clover growing in my grass and know that this is a sign of poor nitrogen in my soil. I would like to know of some native plants / shrubs that I could put near my house in Washington that ...
view the full question and answer

Are there edible nettles native to the Austin, TX area?
September 13, 2011 - Are there any nettles native to this area? I would like to cook with them (if there is a good substitute, please advise). Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Difficulty with Clay Soil from Palm Bay, FL
August 22, 2012 - I had a very nice little native shady area behind my house for over 40 years, but now it has been cleared except for a 100 foot tall live oak in the center of this raised mound (50' x 80'). I've be...
view the full question and answer

Pruning practices from Austin
May 16, 2013 - I need to do some pruning in my front beds and I know nothing about plants. From what I have been able to identify I have bicolor irises, plumbago, Japanese Aralia. I don't even know where to begin o...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center