En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - July 10, 2011

From: Nokomis, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Septic Systems, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Can Carolina wild petunia be planted over septic tank in Nokomis FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Could you tell me the root depth of the Ruellia caroliniensis/ Carolina wild petunia? Trying to determine if I can plant it over septic tank.

ANSWER:

From a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on plants over a septic field:

"So far as we are able to determine, there is no list or database on root lengths of any plants, including natives. The root length of any plant is variable, depending on the plant size, genetics and age as well as environmental conditions. Keep in mind that when your system was designed, it was a well-known fact that something would grow over it-if not planted by you, then weedy volunteers. If those volunteers are not eliminated, some of them are bound to be woody plants, and that's what you're trying to avoid." 

We see no reason why your Ruellia caroliniensis (Carolina wild petunia) would not be fine in the area of the septic field. The plant roots will help to carry moisture up to the surface, and should not interfere with the lines. This plant is a perennial, and annuals are even better because their roots start over every year, but we don't think the Carolina wild petunia would become a nuisance. Follow the plant link above to find out what light and moisture requirements the plant has, bloom time and color, etc. What you do want to avoid is any woody plant, such as trees and shrubs, over or near a septic line because they will definitely cause problems. Another option is native grasses, not necessarily the kind you mow for a lawn, but taller ornamental grasses. Their fibrous roots will help to hold the soil in plant to prevent erosion and should cause no disruption in the septic lines.

 

From the Image Gallery


Carolina wild petunia
Ruellia caroliniensis

Carolina wild petunia
Ruellia caroliniensis

Carolina wild petunia
Ruellia caroliniensis

Carolina wild petunia
Ruellia caroliniensis

More Septic Systems Questions

Plants for a septic system in Poland IN
September 22, 2009 - Hi, we have a septic system under a large front yard at a newly acquired lake cottage in southern Indiana. The yard is completely unlandscaped. I'm trying to find if there are are any safe trees I ...
view the full question and answer

Will a 10-ft. yaupon damage my septic lines in Texas Hill Country?
July 18, 2009 - A 10 foot yaupon is growing in my Texas hill country septic field. The field pipe is 5 feet below the surface. Should I be concerned about the roots invading the pipes? What would be the best way to r...
view the full question and answer

Grass for septic drainfield in Georgetown TX
February 10, 2009 - We recently had a new septic drainfield installed. It is raised approximately 2-3 ft above ground level. I would like to plant it with a native grass/grasses that would attract wildlife yet still be a...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers and grasses for a septic field in Maine
November 18, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Pants: I want to know the length of root systems for native Maine wildflowers that will be planted over a septic system drain field in Maine. Also any grasses you can think of. This area ...
view the full question and answer

Tree roots vs. leach field in Heber Springs AR
February 03, 2010 - We need shade in front of our west facing house; however, our septic system and leach field are there also. What kind of fast growing trees can we plant that won't ruin our septic system?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center