Wandering Willy

21 Sep, 2021

Also known as Wandering Willie or Tradescantia it is a succulent perennial plant that is an environmental weed, causing major problems under trees and in bush reserves throughout the North Island in some parts of the South Island.

Tradescantia can form thick mats of vegetation in moist, shady areas within bush reserves, it stops new seedlings of trees and shrubs from establishing wherever it grows. Although it is not thought to produce seeds within New Zealand, it spreads due to the brittle nature of its stems, resulting in the plant fragmenting easily, and these sprout new roots and regrow easily and quickly.


It also gets into new areas through people dumping garden waste on roadsides, dispose of this plant thoughtfully to avoid its spread. Apart from being a major problem within bush areas and shady gardens, it can cause allergic skin reactions in dogs and other animals running through the foliage. It is also exceedingly difficult to get rid of once established.

Physical Control

Be careful not to spread the plant material around. Don’t put into your compost. Dispose of any plant material in bags, and either place in the rubbish or leave in a safe spot until the leaves and stems have completely broken down.


Cover the area with black plastic for 6 to12 months or rake into heaps and cover for 6 to 12 months.

Follow up every three months for best control.

Chemical Control

Apply Yates Hydrocotyle Killer which kills off broadleaf weeds and leaves grass unaffected. Be careful when applying in garden beds as other plants that aren’t grasses will be effected.


Mixing your weedkiller with Sprayfix increases the effectiveness, as it helps the active ingredients stick and penetrate the surface of the leaf. This is useful in this case as the glossy surface of the leaf can make it harder to kill.


When using sprays and chemicals always read the label and follow instructions carefully. Spray in the evening to avoid harming beneficial insects

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