En Español

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?


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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - March 07, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Rain Gardens
Title: Native Texas plants for rain gardens
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I am looking for native Texas plants that would do well in very shady and partial shade rain gardens. Do you have any suggestions?


Rain garden plants need to be able to tolerate growing in standing water, but also need to be able to thrive when the water dries up. The plants below should meet those criteria and will do well in partial shade (2 to 6 hours sun per day). Plus, the violets (Viola soria) and groundnut (Apios americana) will do well in complete shade (<2 hours of sun per day):


Inland sea oats, Chasmanthium latifolium
Eastern gamagrass, Tripsacum dactyloides


Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis
Roughleaf dogwood, Cornus drummondii
False indigo, Amorpha fruticosa
Marshmallow hibiscus, Hibiscus moscheutos
Scarlet rose mallow, Hibiscus laevis
Palmetto, Sabal minor
Baccharis, Baccharis halimifolia


Groundnut, Apios americana


American waterwillow, Justicia americana
Cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis
Physostegia sp. (e.g., Obedient plant, P. intermedia)
Swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata
Blue water leaf, Hydrolea ovata
American germander, Teucrium canadense


Meadow violet, Viola sororia
Phyla sp. (e.g., Texas frogfruit, P. nodiflora)
Water clover, Marsilea vestita


More Rain Gardens Questions

Rain garden Plants for Colorado
April 22, 2010 - Can you recommend native plants for a rain garden in Colorado Springs
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for a water collection pit in Bronson, FL
August 22, 2013 - I live near Gainesville, FL in a low rural area with many cypress swamps around & bought this 5 acres 2 years ago. About 15 years ago a pit was dug on my 5 acres to give the rainwater somewhere to go...
view the full question and answer

Rain garden plants for Austin
March 20, 2010 - I have a 7'x1' shaded area in between my house and sidewalk where the downspout is, and would like to add plants for a more eco-friendly drainage solution. Which plants would be best? I know that th...
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

Plants for a ditch in PA
June 09, 2012 - I have a property in the suburbs about 20 miles south of Philadelphia, PA. There is a small creek running across the property. The "ditch" holding the creek is about 5 feet across, but the creek i...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center