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From late spring to midsummer, Ohio spiderwort produces bluish-purple to light blue flowers above long, arching, grasslike leaves. The flowers open in the mornings and close in the heat of the afternoon. Preferring full sun conditions in average to dry, well-drained soils, Ohio spiderwort is recommended for native gardens, rock gardens, cottage gardens, pollinator gardens, beds, borders, slopes, meadows, and woodlands. This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region and current research.

  • Family (English) Spiderwort
  • Family (botanic) Commelinaceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Dry soil, Moist, Sandy soil, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Clay soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest late spring, early summer, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance Blue, Purple
  • Shape or form Arching
  • Growth rate Moderate
  • Wildlife Butterflies, Insect pollinators

Size and method of spreading:

Ohio spiderwort grows up to 2 to 3 feet tall and 1 ½ to 2 ½ feet wide at maturity. It spreads by self-seeding.

Native geographic location and habitat: (include C-value if appropriate)

The native range of Ohio spiderwort includes the Eastern and Central United States as well as California. C Value: 3.

Attracts birds or pollinators: 

Ohio spiderwort attracts a variety of bees and butterflies. 

Leaf description:

The long, arching, narrow (linear) leaves of Ohio spiderwort taper to a pointed tip and have smooth edges. They are up to 1 ½ feet long and 1 ¾ inches wide. The leaves are a medium to dark blue-green color and often have a waxy coating (glaucous). They have parallel veins with a prominent central vein. Ohio spiderwort leaves grow along the stem in an alternate arrangement. The bases of the leaves wrap around the stems (sheathing).

Flower description:

In bud, the flowers of Ohio spiderwort are enclosed by three green, mostly hairless, leaflike structures (sepals). When they open, Ohio spiderwort flowers are bluish-purple to light blue and have three rounded petals. The flowers are approximately 1 inch in diameter. In the center of the flowers are six long structures (stamens) that have yellow tips (anthers) and are covered in long, spiderweb-like hairs. The stamens surround a singular, long, thin, bluish-purple structure (style). Each flower has a hairless (glabrous) stalk (pedicel) that is green to pinkish-purple in color, and the pedicels grow in an umbel-like formation on the terminal end of the stems. Ohio spiderwort flowers tend to open in the morning and close in the heat of the afternoon. 

Fruit description:

The fruit of Ohio spiderwort splits into three parts when mature (capsule). Each of the three sections contain three to six seeds.

Plant Care:

During the summer, Ohio spiderwort may go dormant in warmer regions. In partial shade, fewer blooms may occur. A second blooming period in the fall may be encouraged by cutting back Ohio spiderwort to 6 to 12 inches in the midsummer. This species may require division to prevent overcrowding. 

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Ohio spiderwort does not have major issues with diseases. Deer, rabbits, box turtles, leaf beetles, and snails may be pests that feed on the foliage of this species.

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