En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Soils for spiderwort from Round Rock TX

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
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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Evergreen plant to cover parents' graves in Louisiana
June 30, 2013 - We want to plant ground cover on our parents graves in Plain Dealing Cemetery in north Bossier Parish LA. Soil is red clay/dirt. Want native plant, slow growing, short not tall plant, that might sta...
view the full question and answer

Plants resistant to salt spray in FL
December 18, 2011 - What type of plants can I put in a small planter bed next to a waterfall with a saltwater pool? Everything I put in there dies. I live in Southwest Florida.
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

Salvia that needs dividing in Maryville MO
April 09, 2010 - I have some May Night salvia that is 3 years old. Last summer it split in the middle and spent a lot of the summer laid open. I'm wondering if it needs to be split or pruned in some way?
view the full question and answer

Pond Plants for Eureka Springs AR
May 16, 2012 - I have a 1 acre pond that we are cleaning up. This area will be used for recreation and fishing. We plan to put native rock around some of the edges and need perennial plants that do well in rocky are...
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