• Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Upcoming Garden Events

    Sept. 30: The Nashville Herb Society presents Through the Garden Gate: A Glimpse of Edwardian England, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Cheekwood Botanic Hall. Celebrate the gardens, foods and flowers that delighted Downton Abby family and friends at the turn of the 20th century. The event begins with a hearty Edwardian breakfast, followed by three speakers: Marta McDowell on Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life; Geraldine A. Laufer on Tussie Mussie – Victorian art of expressing yourself in the language of flowers; and Terry White, The English Garden event florist . Registration includes breakfast, box lunch in the garden with music, English tea and cookies. To learn more or to register, visit www.herbsocietynashvlle.org.

    Tips & tasks – September

    Cut the dead tops of coneflowers, but leave enough for goldfinches to enjoy the seeds.

    Plant cool-weather vegetables for a fall crop: spinach, mustard and turnip greens, radishes, leaf lettuce.

    Start a new lawn of cool-season grass, such as fescue, or refurbish or repair establish lawns.

    Don’t let the soil of newly planted grass dry out. New grass needs about an inch of water per week.

    It’s still warm, so continue to water and weed garden beds as needed.

    Remove dead foliage, spent flowers and other garden debris; replenish mulch as needed.

    Continue to harvest produce, which may be getting a boost now from slightly cooler weather. Keep watering sage, rosemary and other perennial herbs so they’ll be in good shape to get through winter.

    Prepare to bring houseplants back indoors: remove dead leaves, scrub soil from the sides of the pots, treat for insects. Bring tropical plants in before nighttime temperatures dip to 55 degrees.

  • Categories

  • Archives

Spiderwort: Love it or loathe it?

QUESTION: We have clumps of spiderwort popping up all throughout the perennial beds. The little flowers are pretty, but the plants are taking over parts of the beds, and more I pull up the more they grow. How do you get rid of them?

Spiderwort 3It is hard to remain neutral about spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) if you’re a gardener. Either you love it for its pretty blue flowers and the fact that it grows without complaint just about anywhere, or you hate it because it’s a thug that muscles its way in and runs over everything else in the garden.

The individual blooms last only for a day, but the buds grow in large clusters, and some are always blooming. That’s one of the good things about spiderwort. It reproduces by letting its seeds blow all over the place, which is why you’ll find spiderwort suddenly growing up in inconvenient places – through the center of a clump of favorite daylilies or in the middle of the iris bed, as they do in my garden, for example. Not so good.

Getting rid of it is not easy. The roots are strong and fleshy and grow in large, wide clumps so pulling it out only works when the plants are very young. Digging is required, and you must dig up every bit of it because what’s left in the ground will grow into more spiderwort. If you feel you must bring in the chemicals, use a product that contains glysophate (such as Roundup), but use it only as the label advises, and keep it from drifting onto other plants.

It may be easier to control spiderwort if you deadhead it (cut off the flowers before they can disperse seeds), and pull up new shoots as soon as you see them emerge from the ground.

Spiderwort 1I remember visiting a friend’s shade garden several years ago and seeing a vigorous clump of spiderwort growing at the edge of the path. She was surprised when I told her that I dig it up and toss it out whenever I find it in my beds. “The little flowers are pretty,” she said. “And it grows so well in the shade!”

Yes, that’s the part to love. Just remember how watchful you have to be to keep it from taking over your yard.


5 Responses

  1. I always wondered what that plant was! Thanks for all of the great info.

    • There’s a plant that looks similar called dayflower (I think) that blooms later and also is pretty aggressive. I’m already pulling them up whenever I find them.

  2. I love mine! It grows in a shady bed that gets dry into July/Aug, so that seems to keep it under control and it provides pretty blooms from May-July.

    • The blooms are pretty, aren’t they? I also discovered that rabbits nibbled it in early spring, and maybe that keeps it from getting too much out of control.

  3. I have been gardening here for 30 years and for all 30 years I have been trying to get rid of Spiderwort. There is more than ever. The same thing applies to tall tall lilies, Hemerocallis fulva. Both are impossible to eliminate if they are mixed in with desirable perennials because of the pernicious spreading roots.
    I have very large garden beds. Both plants remind me of mosquitos….ubiquitous, stubborn, and annoying. Both of these were here when we bought the house.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: