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May 19, 2018

QuestionI have a question about the enclosed picture.  I moved to a rental house a few months ago and don't know what all the plants are that have showed up in the backyard.  Can you tell me what the little purple flowers are?  Also, people have told me that the vine behind the plant is poison ivy but I'm not sure as it has more than three leaves.  Would you be able to tell me what that is and if it is poisonous?  There is a lot of this ivy in the yard.


AnswerThe plant with purple flowers is a spiderwort (Tradescantia).  The vine behind it often gets confused for poison ivy but it is Virginia creeper.  Poison ivy has leaves of three with the two bottom leaves attached close together and the middle leaf has a little bit of a stem.  Virginia creeper often has three leaves when the plant is young, but gradually advances to five leaflets.  All of the leaves, regardless of numbers, are attached at the same point.  


May 2012

QuestionI am attaching a picture of a flower which I see "in the wild" or along roadsides. I want to transplant a few of these plants into my garden and would like to know the name and if there are any particular care tips available.


Answer      The plant in question is commonly called spiderwort – Tradescantia sp. They are fairly common across Arkansas and can get a bit weedy if you aren’t careful. If they are growing on your property, you can dig and divide or transplant them, but if you do it now, they may wilt for a few days while they re-establish. There are also improved varieties available at local nurseries. The flower color is traditionally a blue or purple, but there are also white and pink varieties. If they are growing in the wild, and not on property that you own, you must get permission from the landowner before digging. They do well in full sun to partial shade, and like ample moisture. If they get tall and leggy mid-summer, you can give them a haircut and they will bounce back and bloom.      


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