Tradescantia Species, Cow Slobber, Ohio Spiderwort, Bluejacket Spiderwort

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)
Synonym:Tradescantia canaliculata
Synonym:Tradescantia difformis
Synonym:Tradescantia foliosa
Synonym:Tradescantia incarnata
Synonym:Tradescantia paludosa



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

Magenta (pink-purple)

Dark Blue

Medium Blue



White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

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


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

Merryville, Louisiana

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

Wellston, 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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 4, 2016, JBtheExplorer from Southeast, WI wrote:

Ohio Spiderwort is a nice plant for gardens, especially native gardens. Its blue color is rare and looks great with yellows, reds, oranges, and whites. Its clump will double in size each year, but is easy to divide every few years. I find seedings around the garden, but pull them all up in a matter of minutes. I don't find this plant to be too aggressive, but I imagine it could be for gardeners who don't keep an eye on their garden. It attracts Bumble Bees more than anything else, though I have seen other bees and flies on it. I recommend it if you are looking for something easy to grow, looking to add more natives, or looking for more blue color in your garden.


On Jun 24, 2015, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I'd almost want to give a negative on this plant, however the flowers are very pretty. For 20+ years I've been pulling this plant up as it loves my other words, it is a Weed. At one time I let a plant grow in my garden, it got as tall as five foot and spread a good three foot. I finally decided to dig it up and the roots are amazingly deep and water hogs. I still let a few dot my garden here and there, not that I have much of a choice, because they'll always be here.
Apparently the flower, young leaves and stems are edible, so I guess that is good, I'll never go hungry.


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 mo... read more


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.


On Jun 16, 2013, Chillybean from (Zone 5a) wrote:

We planted this in the spring of 2012, trying to incorporate natives on our property. These did not appear to thrive very well the first year, but the amount of blooms are increasing each year ... wow! Even though they do not have other tall plants supporting them, the long stems appear strong and are standing up straight. This attracts many little pollinators, the sweat bees, hover flies and other nameless beauties.

This is a low maintenance plant, if it is treated like the wild plant it is. I let the flowers go to seed and I cut nothing back. From experience, the Spiderwort does better when we get more rain or when we use saved rainwater on them. In years with less rain, the blooming season seems shortened, but no other harm done. Other than seed I collected for o... read more


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!


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.


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... read more


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.


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 effect... read more


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.


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


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!


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.


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.


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.