Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Zigzag Spiderwort
Tradescantia subaspera

Family: Commelinaceae (ko-mel-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tradescantia (trad-es-KAN-tee-uh) (Info)
Species: subaspera (sub-AS-per-uh) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

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:
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

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

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By KSBaptisia
Thumbnail #1 of Tradescantia subaspera by KSBaptisia

By KSBaptisia
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No positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Terry On Mar 18, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

The stems form in a zig-zag pattern; hence the common name. Broad, dark green foliage (looks almost like iris leaves) help differentiate this plant from T. virginiana.

The species is tolerant of poor soils, and may self-seed too freely in ideal conditions. The foliage starts to look pretty rough after flowering; it should be cut back (to the ground) after blooming to encourage new growth, and possibly a second flush of blooms in the fall.


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

Beatrice, Nebraska
Greenville, South Carolina

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