Explore Plants

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
    
 

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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Plants for near a salt water swimming pool
April 01, 2009 - I need some suggestions of plants that will grow next to a public salt water swimming pool, located in Bossier City, Louisiana
view the full question and answer

Plants for southwest Louisiana courtyard
December 29, 2009 - Hi, I live in southwest Louisiana,very close to Texas. I would like to remove the grass in my townhome backyard (east sun exposure) and create a courtyard by adding pavers. However I am planning on...
view the full question and answer

Freeze damage to salvias in Port Townsend WA
January 21, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, We live in western Washington and had a multi-day hard freeze in December. Now, in mid-January, our salvia hot lips has no live leaves on it. The leaves that remain are green and...
view the full question and answer

Plants for narrow strip between sidewalk and fence
May 01, 2008 - I have a strip of land about 5 inches wide and 30 feet long -- between the fence and the sidewalk -- that I would like to plant something that would look nice and wouldn't require the weedeater every...
view the full question and answer

Color in non-native portulaca from Beach Haven NJ
July 21, 2011 - I bought a portulaca in a hanging basket and divided it up and planted it in my garden. It is doing ok..but I have almost entirely orange flowers..maybe two reds. I was hoping for multi-colored..red...
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.