Growth Facts

Sweet Kate Spiderwort
Tradescantia x 'Sweet Kate'
A jolt of color to energize your borders or mixed containers.
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Sweet Kate has a sassy attitude—this is no shy wallflower! Sweet Kate Spiderwort is a charismatic plant that will enliven your landscape with luminous lemon-yellow foliage. But that’s not all! In early summer, a parade of deep blue–purple blooms appears, making a sharp contrast with the neon foliage. Use Sweet Kate as an accent in any of the high-visibility beds and borders around your home, or make it the star of a mixed container planting. Wherever it goes, it will add some drama. You may also find this plant under its other name, Blue and Gold Spiderwort.

Growth Facts

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The Story

Nobody is exactly sure how Spiderwort got its unfortunate name, but it may have come from its sap, which forms threads like a spider’s web when stems are cut and pulled apart. Sweet Kate is a hybrid selection discovered in England by an amateur gardener, Hazel Stevens, who named it after her daughter. Mrs. Stevens could have made a nice sum of money off her find, but she instead had the nursery that acquired the rights donate the proceeds to the McIndoe Burns Centre, which was instituted to treat airmen who had been badly burned during World War II.

The Details

Spiderwort blooms are at their best in the morning, so plant Sweet Kate where you will see it then. The flowers tend to close by late afternoon if it is sunny out.

How to Grow

Sweet Kate Spiderwort will be happiest in a mostly sunny site, with shade only during the hottest part of the day. It needs bright light to bring out the gold tones in its foliage, but harsh sunlight can lead to burning. The soil should be moist, organic, well drained, and somewhat rich. Basically, it prefers good conditions, but overly fertile soil will result in floppy growth, so don’t overdo it. Staking may be require if growth does become lax; you can always cut plants back and let them resprout if you’d rather not stake them. Cut old growth back before new shoots emerge in early spring.

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