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

Friday - March 21, 2014

From: Cincinnati, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Butterfly Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Natives for wet soil in Cincinnati OH
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I live in Cincinnati and the soil in my back yard is wet (soggy) all year round. There are moss and grass growing in the yard. The area is shaded in the afternoon but receives sun earlier in the day. The soil is clayish and brown/red but there are a few centimeters of organic matter on top. I want to plant native perennials (herbaceous and shrubs) that will survive the wet conditions. Also I would like to plant wildflowers to provide food for bees and butterflies. Could you give me some plant recommendations?

ANSWER:

We have a great tool ready to help you with giving suggestions for this type of thing.  One of the options on the “Explore Plants” list on the right side of the webpage is “Recommended Species”.  If you select the collection for Ohio, that gives you a list of 146 native plants which are native to your state.  You can also sort the list for certain characteristics by choosing them in the “Narrow your selection” option on the right hand side.

  Thinking Wildflowers might be a good demonstration – I selected “Herbs” and “Wet-saturated” as the Soil Moisture.  This returned eight wildflowers that really ought to do well in your back yard:
Actaea pachypoda (White baneberry)
Claytonia caroliniana (Carolina springbeauty)
Eutrochium fistulosum (Joe-pye weed)   [Birds, Butterflies, Pollenators]
Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower)     [Birds, Hummingbirds, Bees]
Lobelia siphilitica (Great blue lobelia)  
Monarda didyma (Scarlet beebalm)   [Hummingbirds, Butterflies, Bees]
Penstemon digitalis (Mississippi penstemon)  [Hummingbirds, Bumblebees]
Silphium perfoliatum (Cup plant)   [Butterflies, Hummingbirds]

I noted where several of these are also listed as good butterfly or bee attractants within the plant record.  Similar efforts can give you suggestions for shrubs, trees or groundcovers – and you can get more options if you think a plant which is good at thriving in soils that are merely moist may apply to your yard.    

 

From the Image Gallery


Common boneset
Eupatorium perfoliatum

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Scarlet beebalm
Monarda didyma

Mississippi penstemon
Penstemon digitalis

Cup plant
Silphium perfoliatum

Great blue lobelia
Lobelia siphilitica

More Butterfly Gardens Questions

Amending soil for butterfly garden in Houston
April 01, 2013 - My girl scout troop will be planting a butterfly garden at a middle school in Houston. In researching plants to use, we have come across some such as echinacea, rose vervain, galliarda and Texas gay...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly/hummingbird garden in Texas
September 09, 2005 - I am coordinating a butterfly/hummingbird garden on 100 acres that our religious organization has. We want to use native Texas plants as much as possible. Are these two types of gardens compatible an...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly plants for Kolkata, India
August 06, 2009 - I am from Kolkata, India. I have a garden of 200ft x 50ft size, mostly shadowed by big trees. I want to attract butterflies in my garden. Can you please let me know the flowers / plants I plant for bu...
view the full question and answer

Maintenance of milkweed from Austin
September 12, 2013 - I help plant and maintain a Monarch Waystation Garden in San Leanna, Texas (South Austin). Should milkweed plants be cut back during the winter? Last year we cut them back a bit late and some died c...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for butterfly garden in Waco, TX
February 03, 2008 - Few weeks ago I sent you a letter but never got an answer back. I would like to have your suggestions of native plants for a butterfly garden (30'x 30') here in Waco. The plants must be (1)drought ...
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