How to grow and care for Virginia Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) Indoors

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Botanical name: Tradescantia virginiana
Family: Commelinaceae

Virginia Spiderwort also called Spider Lily or Common Spiderwort is a perennial herbaceous plant with alternate, simple leaves, on tubular stems.

Virginia Spiderwort bears long, erect or arching bright green leaves. The plant is a prolific bloomer with each flower lasting only a day.

The flowers in Virginia Spiderwort are blue, purple, magenta, or white and are borne in summer.

The Virginia Spiderwort spreads by means of underground stolons forming clumps and grow 2-3 feet tall by 1 foot wide.

Virginia Spiderwort is native to the eastern and central USA.

How to Grow Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia Spiderwort)

Light for Virginia Spiderwort

Virginia Spiderwort prefers bright, indirect light. Keep your Virginia Spiderwort away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to water Virginia Spiderwort

Water your Virginia Spiderwort thoroughly during the growing season and maintain the soil moist at all times.

Reduce watering your Virginia Spiderwort during the cold weather to keep the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal.

Avoid soggy soil for your Virginia Spiderwort as it can lead to root-rot. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature for Virginia Spiderwort

Average warmth with a minimum 130C is ideal for your Virginia Spiderwort. Protect your Virginia Spiderwort from cold draughts.

Humidity for Virginia Spiderwort

Virginia Spiderwort has no need for high humidity. However, mist the leaves of your Virginia Spiderwort or set the pot on a wet pebble tray where the temperatures are too high to raise humudity. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Virginia Spiderwort

Feed your Virginia Spiderwort with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period.

Withhold feeding for your Virginia Spiderwort during the cold season as the growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to repot Virginia Spiderwort

Repot your Virginia Spiderwort during the growing season only when the plant has become pot-bound.

Use a rich, free-draining soil and a pot one size larger for your Virginia Spiderwort. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot.

How to Prune Virginia Spiderwort

Pruning your Virginia Spiderwort involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain the plant neat and tidy.

To control the growth of your Virginia Spiderwort and encourage bushyness, pinch the growing tips.

Cut back leggy stems of your Virginia Spiderwort at the beginning of the growing season to rejuvenate growth.

How to Propagate Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia Spiderwort)

Virginia Spiderwort can be propagated during the growing period by plants divison or from stem-cuttings.

How to propagate Virginia Spiderwort by plant division

Take out your Virginia Spiderwort from its pot and carefully divide it into sections. Ensure each sections has adequate roots and at least one set of leaves.

Pot the Virginia Spiderwort sections in individual pots in free-draining soil.

Place the set up in a cool shaded place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges.

Allow the new Virginia Spiderwort to be well established before transplanting.

How to propagate Virginia Spiderwort from stem cuttings

Virginia Spiderwort 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.

Fill your rooting container with free-draining rooting mix 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 Virginia Spiderwort cutting.

Carefully insert your Virginia Spiderwort cutting in the hole made previously to a depth of about 3 in.

Place the set up in a cool shaded place and maintain the soil moist through out until new growth emerges.

Allow the new Virginia Spiderwort to be well established before transplanting to individual pots.

Common Problems in Growing Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia Spiderwort)

  • Why is my Virginia Spiderwort losing leaf color?
  • Inadequate light is the cause of loss of leaf color in your Virginia Spiderwort.

    Move your Virginia Spiderwort to a brighter spot, as it prefers bright, indirect light. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

  • Why is my Virginia Spiderwort dropping its leaves?
  • Your Virginia Spiderwort will readily drop its leaves if the light is inadequate.

    Ensure to place your Virginia Spiderwort in bright, indirect light while protecting it from direct hot sunshine to avoid scorching of the leaves.

  • Why is my Virginia Spiderwort growing elongated weak stems (spindly growth)?
  • There are three causes of weak spindly growth in your Virginia Spiderwort.

    One cause of elongated weak stems (spindly growth) in your Virginia Spiderwort is too little light.

    Move your Virginia Spiderwort to a brighter spot as it need bright, indirect light.

    The second cause of elongated weak stems (spindly growth) in your Virginia Spiderwort is underwatering.

    Maintain the soil moist at all times for your Virginia Spiderwort and never allow the soil to dry out completely.

    The third cause of elongated weak stems (spindly growth) in your Virginia Spiderwort is inadequate feeding.

    Feed your Virginia Spiderwort once a month with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer.

  • Why does my Virginia Spiderwort have limp stems, yellow and spotted leaves?
  • Underwatering is the cause of limp stems, yellow and spotted leaves in your Virginia Spiderwort.

    Water your Virginia Spiderwort liberally during the growing season and maintain the soil moist through out.

  • Which plant diseases attack Virginia Spiderwort?
  • The most common plant diseases in Virginia Spiderwort are Root-rot and Leaf Spot.

  • Which plant pests attack Virginia Spiderwort?
  • Common plant pests in Virginia Spiderwort are Mealy Bugs, Aphids and Scale Insects.

    Isolate the affected Virginia Spiderwort and treat appropriately. Mist the leaves regularly to reduce infestation by these pests.

Is Virginia Spiderwort toxic?

Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia Spiderwort) is mildly toxic to humans and pets.

If Virginia Spiderwort is ingested the plant sap causes burning in the mouth, tongue and throat. The sap may also cause skin irritation in sensitive skin; always wear gloves when handling.

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