Add This Easy-To-Grow Garden Flower To Attract Pollinators To Your Garden

Published
Add This Easy-To-Grow Garden Flower To Attract Pollinators To Your Garden

If you’re looking to attract birds to your garden and create a pollinator-friendly environment, consider adding spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) to your yard. Despite its unappealing name, this plant produces beautiful green leaves and pretty purple flowers that will add a lovely touch to your outdoor space. And it’s these small blooms that will bring charming creatures to your garden.

Spiderwort grows best in USDA zones 4b to 12a and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and humidity levels. It thrives in sunny areas and well-drained soil that’s kept moist. When given a good growing spot, it can reach up to three feet in height and spread out to a foot and a half in width.

There are about 75 varieties of spiderwort, each with unique characteristics such as different shades of color. Some popular varieties include Tradescantia Amethyst Kiss, Tradescantia Concord Grape, Tradescantia Red Grape, Tradescantia Sweet Kate, and Tradescantia Purple Profusion. All spiderwort varieties are relatively easy to grow and bloom from early spring to late summer, making them an excellent addition to any garden. Plus, they attract the kind of critters you want to see in your garden.

Spiderwort will attract a range of creatures to your yard

Purple and green spiderwort

krolya25/Shutterstock

When you plant spiderwort in your yard, you may find that you love to spend time gazing at it thanks to the fact that the little purple and blue-ish flowers are such a lovely addition to the exterior of your home. Of course, you won’t be the only one who’s captivated by this particularly pretty plant. For instance, butterflies are definitely attracted to this specific flower and like to make a meal of the nectar found in them. That’s not to mention the various kinds of bees that will visit your property when you’ve planted spiderwort. Bees tend to appreciate the colors that spiderwort boasts, and honestly, who can blame them?

That’s why it’s able to attract honeybees and carpenter bees as well as halictine bees. That’s not to mention the plant’s biggest admirer and most prominent pollinator, which happens to be the bumblebee. On top of that, spiderwort is a favorite of syrphid flies. Although they may not be as well known as, say, a bumblebee, syrphid flies also enjoy feasting on the pollen found in the plant.

Spiderwort can harm your yard, you, and your pets

Dog in a yard

Tj_kloster/Getty Images

One of the reasons you might like to have spiderwort around — other than the fact that it attracts lovely creatures to your yard — is that it’s so easy to grow. Of course, this also means that it can get out of hand if you don’t keep it in check. In fact, spiderwort can take over your yard if you don’t trim it back after it flowers. If you don’t, then it will seed and more will continue to pop up around your property.

This isn’t ideal, because while spiderwort is fine when restrained, it’s also not good for you or any furry friends who live with you. That’s due to the fact that it can cause contact dermatitis, which happens when you come into contact with something problematic and results in an itchy, uncomfortable rash, per the Mayo Clinic. It’s thought to be toxic to humans, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, while the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals notes that spiderwort — which is also called an inchplant, dayflower, or purple heart — can also be poisonous to your pets. Because of this, make sure to only grow it in areas where you and any potential pets won’t accidentally touch it, but where pollinators can still enjoy it.

✿ Read More About Flowers.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.