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How to Grow Tradescantia

Tradescantia (trad-es-kan-tee-a)

Commemorating John Tradescant (died 1637), gardener to Charles I (Commelinaceae). A genus of 60 species of hardy perennial and greenhouse plants from North America and tropical South America. The hardy varieties are commonly called spiderwort, flower of a day, Moses-in-the-bulrushes, or devil-in-the pulpit. According to some botanists the garden plants grown under the name T. virginiana belonging to a hybrid group known as T. x andersoniana.

Species cultivated T. albiflora, wandering Jew, trailing, fast-growing greenhouse or house plant with shiny • stems, swollen at the nodes, leaves narrow, pointed, South America; several variegated forms are known with cream and yellow-striped leaves, green and white, or with faint red markings. T. blossfeldiana„ creeping or trailing greenhouse or house plant, dark green leathery leaves, purple and whitely-hairy beneath, Argentine. T. fluminensis, wandering Jew, trailing greenhouse or house plant, often confused with T. albiflora, leaves slender-pointed, green, purplish-red beneath; several variegated forms, South America. T. virginiana (or T. x andersoniana) spiderwort, etc., hardy perennial, 14-2 feet, flowers violet-blue from June to September, eastern United States; vars. alba, a white form; coerulea, bright blue; 'Iris Prichard', white, shaded violet at the centre; 'J. C. Weguelin', large azure-blue; 'Osprey', large, white,' with feathery blue stamens; rosea, pink, rubra, dark ruby-red.

Cultivation The tender species and varieties require a minimum winter temperature of 55°F (13°C), and should be potted in March or April, in ordinary potting soil. Avoid a rich compost which may cause the leaves to turn green and lose their variegations. Hardy varieties can be grown in ordinary garden soil in sun or partial shade. Lift and divide in autumn or spring every three or four years. Propagation of tender species is by cuttings taken from April to August and insert-d in pots of sandy soil in a warm propagating frame; they will root in four to six weeks. Hardy varieties may be increased by division in the spring.

 



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