Queen is one of the toughest plants for zone 7-10 and partnered
here in a complementary color scheme with Goldilocks lysimachia.
Each morning I
pull into my parking spot which is right in front of our cottage
garden. This time of the year it is the bluest blue greeting me thanks
to our native spiderwort. Spiderworts are known botanically as
Tradescantia virginiana and native over a huge range of the country
covering some thirty states. Those states where it is not native have
the Tradescantia occidentalis which is called prairie spiderwort.
special, if not eye opening. In the past though, I have absolutely
treasured the blue blooms I have given the plant a zero for attracting
pollinators despite what the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
reported. It is a rare native indeed that doesn’t serve some other
purpose when it is blooming. But today there were both bumble bees and
honey bees that made my heart sing. It was kind of like one of my
favorite plants had just been validated. It also proved the
www.wildflower.org site remains the top authoritative site for
in a range blue shades as well as pink and rose and even some double
selections. Throughout our cottage garden we see a variance in colors.
It seems the darker the blue the more I love it especially in contrast
with the golden yellow stamens. The showy stalks supporting the
flowers reach about three feet tall.
We have one area
where they are partnered with pink Satsuki or late blooming azaleas
and Blue Glory thunbergia. In another area we have them with the showy
white blooming Chinese snowball viburnum. It seems the native
spiderwort can fit any location when grown in fertile soil with
We have another
Tradescantia in a different section of the garden. It is Blue Sue
Purple Heart known botanically as Tradescantia pallida. Though
you might not recognize the name Blue Sue you most likely are familiar
with its old botanical name Setcreasea or old common name Wandering
Jew which it is still often referred to in the trade.
typical dark purple foliage Blue Sue is a stunning blue green and
though it is not as cold hardy as its cousin the spiderwort it will
thrive from zones 7-10. It has the ability to develop into a most
showy groundcover reaching 18-inches tall and spreading to 5-feet over
a period of years. It too offers spiderwort-like lavender
flowers but it is the foliage that will steal your heart. We have ours
partnered with Wedding Dance white amaryllis or Hippeastrum.
pallida is native to Eastern Mexico, Texas, Louisiana and Florida and
is about as tough a plant as you could grow. The purple leafed forms
have been called Purple Jew, Purple Spidewrort, Purple Heart and the
official common name now Purple Queen. I once did a Southern Gardening
TV segment with the concept that if you wanted a planting bed where
you could feel reasonably assured that it would still look good when
you returned from vacation then plant Purple Queen (Tradescanthia),
New Gold lantana and a large rock. Others have sworn to have driven a
truck over it and it still returned. You have to admit that is pretty