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
5 ratings

Thursday - August 08, 2013

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Soils, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Soils for spiderwort from Round Rock TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have spiderworts growing naturally in our backyard. We put a large circle around them them with limestone rock (as our beds have) to make their own bed as they clumped in one area. What kind of soil should we use to build up the bed? Every website I have explored says something different.

ANSWER:

There are 16 members of the genus Tradescantia (spiderwort) native to North America, of which 10 are native to Texas. Seven of those are native to Central Texas, 2 specifically native to Williamson County. Each and every webpage we visited had this sentence on it:

"Tradescantia species will hybridize in just about any combination." Also, they are considered weeds by many farmers and gardeners. So, we don't know why we spent the time figuring out which spiderwort you might have in your garden, their needs all seem to be alike. And, each webpage had this information on it:

"Warning: All parts of this plant contain volatile oil that can cause severe skin inflammation, itching, and blistering on direct contact or if borne by sooty smoke. Washing thoroughly with soap or swabbing with alcohol immediately on exposure removes the oil irritant. The berries are poisonous if eaten."

We chose Tradescantia gigantea (Giant spiderwort) as a sample, because it is very showy and its webpage had more information on it. Here are the Growing Conditions specified:

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Clay, Clay Loam Medium Loam, Sandy Loam, Sandy, All soils.
Conditions Comments: Tradescantia gigantea has a dainty, three-petal flower with slender, hairy stamens. The flower color can be an indicator of the PH of the soil. Acidic soils produce bluer flowers, while more alkaline soils create varying shades of pink and purple."

It looks to us as though these plants will grow anywhere in just about all soils and conditions. Perhaps you might consider an electrified fence instead of rocks around it. We don't believe you need to worry about it thriving.

 

From the Image Gallery


Giant spiderwort
Tradescantia gigantea

Giant spiderwort
Tradescantia gigantea

Giant spiderwort
Tradescantia gigantea

More Soils Questions

Native grass mix for Bastrop County, TX
February 25, 2014 - I plan to put in a small lawn on a tract of land near Rosanky, TX in Bastrop County. There are scattered oaks but the yard space will be mostly open. Soil is basically sandy. Is there a good native...
view the full question and answer

Patience for slow-growing Baptisia
July 07, 2004 - I have three different varieties of well established Baptisia that I have had for several years ... none of them bloom. One of my plants got a very small flower in April, but just pooped out after th...
view the full question and answer

Growing Loblolly Pines Outside Native Range
April 03, 2014 - I would like a stand of pines on my property but do not know if they will grow in my area. Do you know if the soil in Waelder, Texas will support pines?
view the full question and answer

Fruit in the compost bin
June 07, 2009 - I have a compost bin and I use the pulp from fruits and vegetables as one of the ingredients in my compost pile. We juice everyday so will all this pulp be too potent for new seedlings?
view the full question and answer

Erosion control on slope from Columbia SC
April 25, 2013 - We are in the process of having a new home built in Columbia South Carolina. Part of the front yard has a steep slope starting approximately four feet from the corner of the house and running to the ...
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.