Spiderwort (Tradescantia spp.) is a clumping perennial, often planted as an ornamental. Spiderwort is exceedingly easy to grow. In fact, if it grows somewhere it likes, spiderwort will spread on the spot. To keep spiderwort from outgrowing its garden bed, dig up and transplant a few spiderwort plants every four to five years. Spiderwort will bounce back quickly after transplantation when tackled at the right time of year.
Spring is the Best Time to Transplant
Early spring is the best time to transplant most plants, including spiderwort. Pick a day when the weather is still cool and moist and the spiderwort is still dormant. In its new spot, the spiderwort will break out of dormancy and put on a quick flush of new growth that will help it get established. Do not attempt to transplant your spiderwort once the season's growth gets going. It may not survive transplantation.
Transplant Spiderwort in Fall in Mild Climates
If the temperatures in your area do not frequently fall below freezing, you can transplant spiderwort in fall. Wait until the season's growth is over and most of the spiderwort has died back. In cold climates, it is a bad idea to transplant spiderwort in the fall. Without an established root system, the spiderwort can't stand up to the freeze-and-thaw cycles. It probably won't survive the winter in its new spot.
Transplant Spiderwort in the Afternoon
The best time of day to transplant spiderwort is late in the afternoon, once the sun is waning. If you can, wait for the first of a few days of cloudy, drizzly weather. Newly transplanted spiderwort needs two to three days to establish itself before it can fare well under direct sunlight. If you can't avoid transplanting during a few days of harsh weather, erect a shade over the plants during the hottest part of the day for the next 72 hours. A wicker chair or plant shade will work wonders.
Transplant Spiderwort in a Timely Fashion
When transplanting spiderwort, plan the job so that you can get the plants in and out of the ground as quickly as possible. The less time the roots are exposed to the air, the better. Before you dig up existing plants, have the new holes dug and watered. If you need to erect any shelters, have them ready at hand.