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Protocol Information

David J. Horvath
Nursery Manager
Illinois Department of Natural Resources - Mason State Nursery
17855 N. CR 2400E
Topeka, Illinois 61567

Family Scientific Name: Commelinaceae
Family Common Name: Spiderwort family
Scientific Name: Tradescantia ohiensis Raf.
Common Synonym: Tradescantia ohiensis Raf. foliosa
Common Name: Ohio Spiderwort
Species Code: TRAOHI
Ecotype: Central Illinois, 650 feet msl elevation
General Distribution: T. ohioensis is found throughout the eastern united states west to the Great Plains; from eastern Nebraska to Texas.
Propagation Goal: Plants
Propagation Method: Vegetative
Product Type: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 1+0 container plugs
Target Specifications: Height: n/a, herbaceous perennial.
Caliper: n/a, herbaceous perennial.
Root System: firm root plug.
Propagule Collection: In May and June, cuttings are taken from mature plants with white flowers.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Keep the cuttings misted and out of the sun so they do not dry out.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:

Propagation Environment: Fully controlled greenhouse.
Propagation Method: Succulent cuttings.
A unique form of Spiderwort appears with a white flower. This can only be kept through propagation of cuttings. It does not remain true to seed. One plant can be cut back to a few inches and still reflush and bloom the same season, while it may be used for cutting material.
Container Type and Volume: Multipot #3, #4, or #6 are used. Cell volumes are 6, 9, and 6 cubic inches, respectively. Cuttings may be stuck in a bottomless container. These containers facilitate air, root pruning. Cuttings may be stuck in a bark-mulch, peat moss mix with an added slow release fertilizer mixed in.
Total Time to Harvest: 7-11 months, depending on weather and plant/root development.
Before sticking the cuttings, make a fresh diagonal cut one half inch below the node and dip the basal portion of the cutting in Hormodin #3. Make a pencil type insertion into the media before sticking to prevent the powder form rubbing off. Remember to keep the materials as sterile as possible in the cutting process.
Hardening Phase: The first greenhouse crop will be moved to a hoop house in late January to February.
To acclimate the plants, the irrigation rate is reduced to 50 ppm before moving and greenhouse temperatures are decreased to 55 - 60 degrees day. The second and third crops are moved directly to the shadehouse in April and May.
Again, greenhouse controls and fertilization rates are adjusted in preparation for the move. Plants that reach 8-10 inches in the shadehouse will require pruning.
Length of Hardening Phase: 1 month
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Harvest Date: Flats may be unplugged in October or November as long as most of the tops have died down.
Storage Conditions: Plugs that are not shipped during this fall's planting season may be stored for spring planting in cold rooms above freezing, preferably 40-50 degrees. Try to remove most of the dead foliage as you can before bagging the root plugs for storage. Store them on plastic bags to ensure the roots do not dry out.
Storage Duration: Approximately 4 to 6 months. Plugs may be shipped at any time as long as the receiver has cold storage.
Length of Storage: 4 to 6 months
Outplanting performance on typical sites: Outplanting Site: Illinois prairie sites to include State Parks, highway roadsides, and limited private lands. Prefers mesic prairies.
Outplanting Date: September to November

Flood, Roberta Mountz; Blessman, Gary.; Horvath, David J. 2001. Propagation protocol for vegetative production of container Tradescantia ohiensis Raf. plants (1+0 container plugs); Illinois Department of Natural Resources - Mason State Nursery, Topeka, Illinois. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://www.nativeplantnetwork.org (accessed 28 August 2015). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.