Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Ohio Spiderwort, Bluejacket, Snotweed
Tradescantia ohiensis

Family: Commelinaceae (ko-mel-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tradescantia (trad-es-KAN-tee-uh) (Info)
Species: ohiensis (oh-high-EN-sis) (Info)

6 vendors have this plant for sale.

24 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

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)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Magenta (Pink-Purple)
Medium Blue
Dark Blue
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Floridian
Thumbnail #1 of Tradescantia ohiensis by Floridian

By dwoodhyr
Thumbnail #2 of Tradescantia ohiensis by dwoodhyr

By ButterflyGardnr
Thumbnail #3 of Tradescantia ohiensis by ButterflyGardnr

By ELLEN2078
Thumbnail #4 of Tradescantia ohiensis by ELLEN2078

By TamiMcNally
Thumbnail #5 of Tradescantia ohiensis by TamiMcNally

By kennedyh
Thumbnail #6 of Tradescantia ohiensis by kennedyh

By Levy_Florida
Thumbnail #7 of Tradescantia ohiensis by Levy_Florida

There are a total of 32 photos.
Click here to view them all!


11 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative coriaceous On Apr 16, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

An aggressive, high-maintenance perennial grown for its long season of bloom.

Individual flowers last only a day, and while flowering goes on over a long season, the accumulating black deadheads make the inflorescence look ugly within a week. It isn't practical to deadhead each flower individually---you need to cut the stem to the ground. The plant will respond well to cutting back with more stems and often more flowers.

The habit is leggy and sprawling. Plants need cutting back frequently.

This is a tough weedy plant that can spread aggressively by self-sowing. Resistant to glyphosate, and very difficult to dig out completely, as plants can regenerate from small bits of root.

To keep it looking acceptable, this plant requires more work than it's worth, in my opinion. This plant has been heavily promoted far beyond its garden value. It looks like the pictures only briefly, and looks a mess for most of the season. There are too many better garden plants to bother with this one.

Most cultivars are Tradescantia x andersonia, a group of complex hybrids developed from T. virginiana, T. ohioensis, and T. subaspera.

Positive Sherilou On Jul 7, 2013, Sherilou from Panhandle Gulf Coast, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This pretty flower grows and blooms, profusely, in FULL shade! Honey Bees love it.

Positive Chillybean On Jun 16, 2013, Chillybean from Near Central, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:

We planted this along with Swamp Milkweed and Hibiscus last spring. We desire to have more natives on our property. These did not appear to thrive very well, but we figured it could have been any number of things, like my black thumb.

We did not think any came back this year, but to my surprise, this morning, I saw several of our plants had bloomed. I look forward to seeing this beauty in the years to come.

Oh, the reason I chose this was because of its lesser known common name... Cow Slobber. That cracked me up. I am not sure I will tell the youngsters that it is also called "Snotweed". :)

Edited to add:
For those disturbed by "the flop", remember it is a native to US "wildflower". It would be growing with other things just as tall which holds it up. This is true for many of the other natives we plant around the yard for landscaping/whatever, when its original habitat was not shortgrass monoculture. ;) Consider this detail and the possible spread before planting anything.

"Ugly" is in the eye of the beholder. I appreciate its spread, which hasn't been very far and find the clusters of going-to-seed Cow Slobber interesting. In saying that, ones' opinion of appearance should not determine another person's opinion. I will stand up for this plant as it is native to the US and feeds the pollinators pure food since I use no chemicals, but then I find beauty in the perfect star-shaped flower of the weed known as Lamb's Quarter. But even so, this is still my opinion. :)

I also wanted to say, as of today 6 October 2014, it is still blooming! This is much later than the usua lMay to July in my area. For a time we had the dreaded Northern Corn Rootworm adults coming from that row crop monoculture we are surrounded by. They would eat at the blossoms before they opened, but the damage ended up being minimal as the beasts were active only about a month and a half of this year's blooming season. They were not here until mid-August when the corn dries and I have not seen any recently.

Positive PammiePi On Jul 23, 2010, PammiePi from Green Cove Springs, FL wrote:

Found as a native throughout NE Florida, you can find these growing just about everywhere. Referred to as "Ditch Lillies" locally, these plants are easy to grow. I have them in full sun and shade, in moist soil and dry. If they like the conditions too well the can become a "weed", but are easy to control. This is one of my favorite plants. I love them!

Positive AmyMorie On Jul 22, 2010, AmyMorie from Green Cove Springs, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Great little native anywhere east of the Rockies! Takes a lot of abuse and transplants easily. Drought tolerant.

Positive jazzy1okc On May 4, 2010, jazzy1okc from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

I know that this plant does very well in OKC as my neighbors have it and there are also two lovely clumps of spiderwort against the fence that forms a border between the parking lot and the perennial section of the nursery where I work. One has magenta blooms and the other has blue blooms.
Both clumps receive sun during the hottest part of the day, from midday to late afternoon. I'm sure the drainage is good as we never have standing puddles in the parking lot after heavy rains. We sneak the spiders a drink once in a while when we water the plants along the inside of the fence, but that's about it.
However . . .
the spiderwort I planted two years ago in a protected alcove just outside my south facing front door is languishing. I think maybe it needs a little more water and sun so I am moving it this week to a spot nearer to a downspout just about three feet outside of the alcove.
That should afford it a few more hours of sun as well.
Will see if it helps!

Positive QueenB On May 19, 2006, QueenB from Shepherd, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

It can be invasive, but I don't mind! I found a massive wild population down under a local river bridge that covers several acres, and I've found just about every color you can imagine growing there. With dark bluish-purple being the most common, white and/or white varigated with blue is the rarest. I've gotten at least six different colors from the same location, and plan to go back and look for more.

Positive JaxFlaGardener On Apr 18, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have HUNDREDS of these plants, and I am not unhappy about it! They came with my property as the most frequently occuring wildflower, along with lots of lantana and an overabundance of Bidens alba.

The Spiderworts transplant easily, so I dig them up and move them to the back edges of my flower bed borders. They grow both in full sun and deep shade. When they are forced to compete with other taller plants to reach the sun, they will grow as high as about 4 ft. I sometimes leave one or two where they choose to grow if they add to a planting in situ. Not much is needed in transplanting them except to dig them up and heel them into a trench at the new site. I've also done a mass planting of them in an area about 3 ft by 4 ft. Jammed closely together, they make an effective display. I will interplant this area with Impatiens to hide the Spiderwort foliage during its "down" times.

I've collected other varieties of Spiderworts, including the white "Alba" from Wal-Mart, and the pink "Blushing Bride" and a double-flowering blue "Plenum" from eBay sellers. Someday when I truly have nothing better to do, I plan to try some selective breeding to see what might result in combinations of the different varieties. I will currently just watch for anomalies of variations that may occur naturally from the intermixing of the varieties that I have.

I noticed today that, despite my having several dozen varieties of flowers in bloom right now, the honey bees seem to prefer the T. ohiensis for pollen gathering.

I started a thread in the DG Plant I.D. forum to try to determine if I had T. ohiensis or T. virginiana. The answer seems to be that T. ohiensis lack the hairs on the sepals that are present on T. virginiana. Close examination with a magnifying glass disclosed that I do seem to have T. ohiensis. All of my Spiderworts that I examined had sepals that were glabrous (smooth) rather than pubescent (with cilia).


Neutral sadie_mae On Dec 11, 2004, sadie_mae from Central, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

These reseed readily in my garden, am constantly pulling up seedlings. They are a good filler while the foliage is nice but get quite ugly for me by late summer and are cut back to the ground. I have the blue and the white, the clumps of blue seem to enlarge more quickly than the white. Mine receive much more shade than sun and do quite well.

Neutral tcfromky On Oct 11, 2004, tcfromky from Mercer, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Ohio spiderwort is a smooth erect perennial. The flowers are in clusters at leaf nodes or atop a stem. The blooms are 3 petaled, blue or violet, rarely white, with 6 yellow tipped stamens.

Young stems and leaves were eaten in salads or fried with other greens and eaten by native Americans. Spiderworts were thought to cure spider bites

Positive carolinecuz On Jun 4, 2004, carolinecuz from Clinton, NC wrote:

It is extremely agressive, doubling to tripling every year in my garden. The flowers will stain clothing, so watch out. I intend to save the seeds, now that I know they seed in the fall. Will share them with my friends, my neighbors already have plenty. I wonder how they made it to southeastern North Carolina? I have seen them everywhere between here and the coast. I am glad that I found your website!

Positive Boofy60 On Aug 9, 2003, Boofy60 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant does extremely well in southwest Ohio (zone 6). Bloom cycle is from late spring through late summer. It is also a hardy plant that can withstand the abuse of trampling by children, weedwhacking by husband, and "scenting" by every male dog in the neighborhood. Although not listed on this page I have found it to grow very well in total shade. It is harmonious with the fern family and the hosta family. The combination of the three makes an attractive, minimal maintenance shade bed.

Positive FL_Gator On Nov 29, 2002, FL_Gator from Dunnellon, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a wonderful perennial in Florida. It has a very long early spring well into summer bloom season, and can throw more blooms from summer through early winter. It is very reliable here, and is native to my area. The one caution I would give on this plant is that it does selfsow, and has invasive potential in very moist spots.

Positive ButterflyGardnr On Nov 26, 2002, ButterflyGardnr from Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is a very hardy plant that can withstand a bit of abuse (including being mowed). It forms nice clumps and in the south blooms almost non-stop throughout the year. In zone 9a, I find it will die back to the ground twice per year (aroud Feb./Mar. and again in July/Aug.) It is a prolific bloomer, though the blooms will shrivel up in the hot afternoon sun. There are three color variations: blue (most common), white (uncommon), and pink/magenta (rare). These plants will spread readily by seed. Plants may also be divided.

The flowers, leaves, and stems are edible and a great source of water--if you can stand the mucous-like excretions.


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

Midland City, Alabama
Quartz Hill, California
Bartow, Florida
Brandon, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Deland, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Green Cove Springs, Florida
Inverness, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)
Lake City, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida (2 reports)
Panama City, Florida
Williston, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Brunswick, Georgia
Dacula, Georgia
Troy, Illinois
Washington, Illinois
Carmel, Indiana
Flora, Indiana
Yale, Iowa
Shawnee Mission, Kansas
Salvisa, Kentucky
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Franklin, Michigan
Royal Oak, Michigan
Kasota, Minnesota
Leakesville, Mississippi
Cole Camp, Missouri
Frenchtown, New Jersey
Alden, New York
Buffalo, New York
Clinton, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Northfield, Ohio
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Spencer, Oklahoma
Springfield, Oregon
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Mc Minnville, Tennessee
Sweetwater, Tennessee
Dallas, Texas
Fate, Texas
Houston, Texas
Shepherd, Texas
Mechanicsville, Virginia
Lakewood, Washington

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America