Spiderwort

Q:  In past years I have just mowed these down pretty purple flowers.  What are they and can they be transplanted into a group?

Q:  In past years I have just mowed these down pretty purple flowers.This year I have a small group of them in my yard and they are rather attractive.  What is it and can it be transplanted into a group?  It would be very inexpensive landscaping.

A:  This spring I have received dozens of calls on this plant.  It is interesting how some years the wildflowers are extremely showy and attract a great deal of attention?  I appreciated the photo you sent me which made it very easy to identify.  I believe your plant is probably the Common spiderwort, Tradescantia ohiensis.  This plant is considered a wildflower by many people but it can be classified as a weed if located in the lawn.  Common spiderwort is a perennial, which means it returns from season to season.  It may die back during cold weather but returns during the warm spring temperatures. It is asily grown in well-drained, acid, sandy soil.  Common spiderwort prefers full sun to part shade.  It is very tolerant of part shade but it may produce fewer blooms under these conditions.  These plants can be transferred from one site to another.  They are propagated by division, similar to dividing lilies, and can be easily grown in groups.  The stems may grow over 2 feet tall, but they should be cut back to 6-12″ in mid-summer to encourage new growth and a possible fall bloom.