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How to grow and care for spiderwort indoors

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Some spiderwort plants are native to tropical climates in Mexico, South America and the Caribbean. While some spiderwort plants can be considered noxious weeds, others are valued as garden plants. Others, such as Tradescantia zebrina are grown primarily indoors as houseplants because of their vibrant patterns and dazzling leaves. The houseplant varieties also produce three-petal flowers, but they are less showy than their garden-varieties counterparts. The flowers are either white, pink, or purple depending on the variety and species. They appear frequently.

Spiderwort plants can be grown indoors year round if they are properly cared for. However, they must be planted outdoors in the early fall. If left to their own devices, they will quickly grow and become an invasive species in their outdoor environments. Indoor plants are more protected. Some Tradescantia can be mildly toxic for animals and humans.

Spiderwort Plant Care

There are many situations in gardening where one common name can be associated with multiple plant species. This is the case for spiderwort, a houseplant. This unique name actually refers to many different species of Tradescantia perennials, which include at least 75 herbaceous perennials.

Spiderwort plants require little to no care. The only thing that can be difficult when growing spiderwort plants in a houseplant setting is maintaining the proper moisture level. These plants love moist soil, but they don’t like waterlogging or being too wet.

Spiderwort plants thrive best in hanging containers. If they aren’t trimmed regularly, spiderwort plants can become sloppy and scraggly, with large sections of bare branches. The plant will produce as many dead leaves as new growth, which is why you’ll notice them. You can inspect the plant and remove any dead leaves every now and again to maintain plant hygiene.

However, most specimens will become leggy, scraggly and untidy after a few years. They are easy to propagate using small stem cuttings. This means that you can supply your home with an almost constant supply if you plan ahead.

Warn!

Spiderwort can be planted outside and is considered an invasive weed in the southeast part of the United States.

Light

Spiderwort plants thrive in indirect, but bright sunlight. You can place them near a window that receives at least eight hours of sunlight per day. However, avoid direct rays as they can cause leaves to burn. You can tell if your leaves are starting to lose their color or have a lot of variegation.

Soil

Spiderwort plants will grow in any ordinary potting soil provided it is not over-watered. They prefer soil that drains well. Their roots can easily get rotted if the soil is too moist. Mix a little bit of sand with a commercial potting mix that contains plenty of organic material to aid drainage.

Water

These plants thrive when they are kept moist. They can be watered once a week in summer, and then less often in winter and fall. You can feel the soil in your pot to determine if it is ready for watering. If the soil is dry, it’s time for you to water it.

Temperature and humidity

All spiderwort species will thrive in temperatures between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit, but they can also thrive in higher temperatures. The plants shouldn’t be kept below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for too long as this could cause discoloration or damage to their leaves.

Spiderwort plants are happy with higher humidity levels than average. Keep them in a humid area such as the bathroom or kitchen. A humidifier or misting the plant every day is another option. The signs that your humidity levels are too low could indicate that the leaves have turned brown.

Fertilizer

Spiderwort plants do not require much feeding, if any. A water-soluble fertilizer should be used at most bimonthly, diluted to half strength. If you feed the plant too often, it can lead to loss of variegation.

Different types of spiderwort

Tradescantia plants come in a variety of forms, with each having its own benefits and challenges. These are some of the most popular varieties:

  • T. pallida “Purple Heart”: This variety has eye-catching, solid purple leaves.
  • T. Zebrina Pendula: This is a more vibrant version of zebrina with reddish-colored leaves.
  • T. Callisia – This variation is yet another, with bold white stripes.

Pruning

Spiderwort can become very leggy if it isn’t tended to. Keep your spiderwort in check and encourage it to grow larger and more vigorously. To do this, trim the stems every so often. Regular pruning or pinching back stems to prevent legginess is a good way to avoid it.

Spiderwort propagation

Using stem cuttings, almost all of the plants in this family can be propagated very easily.

  1. Set aside a 1-inch length of stem with at least one leaf, and place it cut-side down in fresh soil. The cuttings can be placed in a container of water to root them before planting.
  2. Regularly water the cutting and it will take root in a matter of weeks.
  3. Place the seedling in a permanent container.

Common Pests

Spiderwort plants, like many other houseplants can be infested by aphids as well as mites. You should keep an eye out for signs and symptoms of infestation. If you suspect that your spiderwort plant is infected with either aphids or spider mites, remove it from the rest of your houseplants and treat it using a mild insecticide and/or horticultural oil such as neem oil.

  • Is spiderwort simple to care for?

    Spiderwort plants are one of the easiest houseplants you can grow and will give you a lush, full appearance with very little effort.

  • What is the growth rate of spiderwort?

    Spiderwort can be aggressive in the outdoors. It can be controlled indoors as well. It can grow about one inch per week. This is why it’s called an inch plant. It will mature into a fully grown plant within six months of being planted as a seedling.

  • How long can spiderwort survive?

    Spiderwort houseplants can only last a few years even with the best care.

Spiderwort plants are one of the easiest houseplants you can grow and will give you a lush, full appearance with very little effort.

Spiderwort can be aggressive in the outdoors. It can be controlled indoors as well. It can grow about one inch per week. This is why it is also known as an inch plant. It will mature into a fully grown plant within six months of being planted as a seedling.

Spiderwort houseplants can only last a few years even with the best care.

  1. north carolina extension gardener plant toolbox.
  2. Inch plant. ASPCA.
  3. Tradescantia Fluminensis North Carolina extension gardener plant toolbox

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