Tradescantia bracteata, Long-bracted Spiderwort

There are three species of Spiderwort native to Minnesota, each with its distinct habitat and two with habitat overlap. Ohio Spiderwort, native to eastern North America, hits its limit, like so many eastern species, in the bluffs and valleys of southeastern Minnesota. Western Spiderwort, has territory following Interstate 94, in well-draining, glacial soils from the counties southeast of the Twin Cities up through the Fargo-Moorhead region.  

Long-bracted Spiderwort, aka Prairie Spiderwort (why we need botanical nomenclature), grows natively to a large swath of relatively dry sites beginning north of the Twin Cities and traveling all the way up toward the Red River Valley. Nearly all the counties south of this line are home to Long-bracted Spriderwort and it is the the only Spiderwort that natively grows over such a large area in Minnesota.

You're likely to hear some gardeners grumble about Spiderwort taking over, impossible to rid, etc. There's only one way to make sure you don't become one of them -do not think of Spiderwort as a specimen plant in a conventional garden! Plant this as part of a prairie or prairie garden that includes a community of plants and all should be fine. For companions, consider any of the prairie grasses, Prairie Onion, Prairie Phlox, Butterflyweed, Hoary Vervain, Liatris aspera or Liatris punctata, Leadplant, White Wild Indigo and more. It will do best in dry soils that are not richly organic.

Blooms: lavender-blue to red-purple, June to August

Height: 12 inches

Conditions: sun to pt sun, medium-dry to dry soils