PlantFiles is getting a new look! Just in time for spring, we're rolling out a new look for the best online plants database. It will also work with your smart phones and mobile devices, so now you can take it with you on garden center visits or botanical garden tours. Questions or comments? Please post them here.
Family: Commelinaceae (ko-mel-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tradescantia (trad-es-KAN-tee-uh) (Info)
Species: ernestiana




18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


Unknown - Tell us


USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Medium Blue

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Beatrice, Nebraska

Concord, North Carolina

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 5, 2009, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant which is native to Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. Ernest's Spiderwort (Tradescantia ernestiana) can have deep blue, purple or rose-red blooms. It rarely roots from the nodes. Tradescantia ernestiana is easily confused with, T. virginiana. The two species can be distinguished from each other only by the width of the leaf blades and sheath of the distal leaves. T. ernestiana leaf blades are 1 to 4 cm wide with the distal leaf blades wider than sheaths when the sheaths are opened, then flattened. T. virginiana leaf blades are 0.4--2.5 cm wide with the distal leaf blades equal to or narrower than sheaths when the sheaths are opened, then flattened. (Information from Flora of North America, Vol. 22, pp. 179, 180).