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Botanical name: Tradescantia virginiana
Common names: Virginia Spiderwort, Common Spiderwort, Spider Lily
Virginia Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) also called Common Spiderwort or Spider Lily is a perennial herbaceous plant with alternate, simple leaves, on tubular stems.
Common Spiderwort bears long, erect or arching bright green leaves. The plant is a prolific bloomer with each flower lasting only a day.
Spider Lily flowers are blue, purple, magenta, or white and are borne in summer.
Virginia Spiderwort spreads by means of underground stolons forming clumps and grows 2-3 feet tall by 1 foot wide.
Tradescantia virginiana is native to the eastern and central USA.
Virginia Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) thrives in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, average warmth and consistently moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season. It has no need for high humidity.
Tradescantia virginiana requires repotting only when extremely pot-bound as it grows best when slightly root-bound. Regular pruning is needed to keep it neat, to reduce pest and disease infestations, to encourage a bushy, compact growth and to rejuvenate growth. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.
Virginia Spiderwort grows best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves.
Common Spiderwort can also grow under a grow light where the natural light is not adequate.
Rotate the pot regularly to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth.
Water Virginia Spiderwort thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to maintain the soil consistently moist.
Water less during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.
Average warmth with a minimum 130C is ideal for Virginia Spiderwort. A room temperature that is comfortable for you is ideal for this plant.
Keep the Spider Lily away from draughts as they can cause leaf drop and reduced growth.
Virginia Spiderwort has no need for high humidity. Moderate (average) air humidity is ideal for this plant.
However, if the temperatures are too high, set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.
Feed Virginia Spiderwort with a balanced, liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period for lush growth.
Stop feeding the Common Spiderwort during the cold season as the growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn.
Repot Virginia Spiderwort during the growing season only when the plant has become extremely pot-bound. Use a pot one size larger than the current one.
Ascertain that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and death of the plant.
The best soil for Virginia Spiderwort should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.
Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal. Buy quality Potting Mix for the Common Spiderwort online from Etsy.
Pruning Virginia Spiderwort involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain the plant neat and tidy as well as minimize pest and disease infestations.
To control the growth and encourage bushyness, pinch the growing tips. Cut back leggy stems at the beginning of the growing season to rejuvenate growth.
Virginia Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) can be propagated during the growing period by plant divison or from stem-cuttings.
Water the Virginia Spiderwort thoroughly at least 1 day before to make it easier to divide and also hasten establishment. A well hydrated plant suffers less shock and takes a shorter time to take root.
Take the plant out of its pot and carefully divide it into sections. Ensure each sections has adequate roots and at least one set of leaves.
Select a 6 or 8 in. pot and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.
Fill the pot with loose, free-draining soil and make a hole in the center of the pot. Ensure that the hole is slightly wider than the root base of the section.
Place the section in the previously made hole and lightly firm the soil around the base while taking care not to bury it too deep; maintain the section at the same soil level it was in the previous pot.
Water the soil thoroughly and place the set up in a well-lit, warm place until the new Spider Lily is well established after which you can begin routine care.
The stem cuttings root easily so there is no need for rooting hormone. Take a stem cutting from a healthy Virginia Spiderwort of about 4-6 in. and ensure it bears at least two sets of leaves.
Allow some time for the formation of a protective callus tissue over the cuts of the cuttings to prevent rotting.
Fill a rooting container with loose, free-draining soil to a depth of about 4 in. Lightly moisten the soil.
With a pencil or similar object make a hole that is wider than the diameter of the cutting. Carefully insert the cutting in the hole made previously to a depth of about 3 in.
Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist through out until new growth emerges.
Allow the new Common Spiderwort to be well established before transplanting to individual pots after which you can begin routine care.
Virginia Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) problems indoors include leggy growth, loss of leaf color, plant death, dropping leaves, yellowing leaves, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.
Virginia Spiderwort will readily drop its leaves if the light is inadequate (too little). The plant grows best in bright, indirect light but away from direct sunshine
Ensure to position the Spider Lily in a brightly lit place where it can receive bright, indirect light away from direct hot sunshine to avoid scorching of the leaves.
If the lighting in your home is not adequate, consider investing is a grow light to supplement it.
Loss of leaf color in Virginia Spiderwort is caused by inadequate light (too little light) as it grows best in bright, indirect light but away from direct sunshine.
Move the Common Spiderwort to a brighter spot where it will receive bright, indirect light but away from direct sunshine or instal a grow light if you do not have adequate light in your home.
There are three possible causes of leggy growth in Virginia Spiderwort. One possible cause is too little light. This type of growth is an attempt by the plant to reach the light source.
Position the Spider Lily in a brighter spot as it requires bright, indirect light to thrive or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate for this plant.
The second cause of leggy growth in Common Spiderwort is underwatering resulting too little moisture in the soil and thus the plant does not get enough water and nutrients necessary for growth.
Water the plant thoroughly to maintain the soil moist at all times during the growing season and reduce watering in the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
The third cause of leggy growth in Spider Lily is inadequate feeding (underfeeding).
Feed the Spider Lily every 4 weeks with a balanced, liquid fertilizer to promote healthy growth.
Limp stems and yellow leaves in Virginia Spiderwort are due to underwatering. This results in too little moisture in the soil.
Underwatering means that there is not enough water in the soil for the plant to take up. As such, the stems become limp and the leaves begin to die.
Water the Common Spiderwort liberally during the growing season while allowing the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to maintain the soil consistently moist.
Lessen watering in the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
Virginia Spiderwort is dying due to root-rot disease which is promoted by soggy soil (excess water in the soil) due to poor drainage.
Make sure that the soil is free-draining and that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
Also, decrease watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and thus the plant does not require a lot of water. Read more on how to treat root-rot in houseplants.
Another common disease in Virginia Spiderwort is leaf spot disease. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat the plant appropriately for the disease.
Common pests in Virginia Spiderwort are Mealy Bugs, Aphids and Scale Insects. Isolate the affected plant and treat it appropriately for the pests. Read on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.
Virginia Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) is mildly toxic to humans and pets.
If ingested, the plant sap can cause burning in the mouth, tongue and throat. The sap may also cause skin irritation in sensitive skin; always wear gloves when handling Common Spiderwort.