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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.

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

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Wednesday - June 13, 2007

From: Sarasota, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Water Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Tradescantia as a water plant
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have a spiderwort plant, and when I found it at the nursery, it was in water by the pond plants, (I had no idea what kind of plant it was at the time) So I bought it, took it home, and repotted it with aquatic plant soil, and stuck it in my pond. Now after some research about it, I realized that somebody probably set the plant down in the wrong spot at the nursery, but I have had it in my pond for about a week now...so far it seems fine. My question is, what do you think? Should I remove it from my pond? I certainly don't want to drown it, it is a lovely plant, one of my favorites right now! Please let me know what your advice for this would be, I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you.

ANSWER:

Spiderwort is a member of the genus Tradescantia which is characterized as a prairie wildflower, so if you haven't done so already, I suggest getting the plant out of the pond.

The genus contains as many as 71 species, several of which bear the common name Spiderwort, so it is difficult to know which species you may have. Many of the commercially available spiderworts are in the Tradescantia-Andersoniana group. This group contains several cultivars of complex hybrid orgin. Two native spiderworts that are found in Florida are the Ohio Spiderwort Tradescantia ohiensis (bluejacket) and the Zigzag Spiderwort Tradescantia subaspera (zigzag spiderwort).


Tradescantia ohiensis

Tradescantia subaspera
 

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