Introducing the 'Plant-that-shall-not-be-named'
Yes, Virginia, that purple plant really is called a Wandering Jew.
For the past several summers, at least one person has arrived at my home and commented on the beautiful deep purple plant in the flower pot on the railing of our back deck.
The flower pot has changed as the plant has grown. We bring it in in the winter and nurture it on the kitchen window sill. But, the plant getting the compliments is the same one -- just another year older.
Then comes the inevitable question…what kind of plant is that? What is it called?
It’s a question I avoid. I typically answer that it came from a clipping from a friend of mine, which is true, and try to leave it at that.
The reason for trying not to voice the name of this “Plant-that-shall-not-be-named” isn’t that my friend didn’t tell me what it’s called. She did. I just wasn’t sure she told me the correct, or shall I say politically correct name.
The plant in question goes by the name “Wandering Jew.” Those of you with greener thumbs than I, are probably already aware of that fact.
It wasn’t until my mother-in-law came to visit this summer and asked about the plant that I actually decided to try to verify the name of this purple beauty. My mother-in-law is a gardener and she was truly interested in this plant and even the history behind its name. So, once again, I hit the Internet to do some research.
Here’s what I found out: there are three species of the spiderwort plant known as "Wandering Jew" and my purple one is counted among these.
According to an article on gardeningknowhow.com, years ago, before there were so many nurseries and greenhouses where people could purchase plants, most housewives knew how to grow the Wandering Jew. “Gardeners would share cuttings from their wandering jew houseplant with neighbors and friends and like the Jews from long ago, the wandering jew houseplant would travel from place to place,” the article says.
Anyone want a clipping?