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

Wednesday - January 07, 2009

From: El Campo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Water Gardens
Title: Flowers for a pond area that will not hold water
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We are in area code 77437 in the Coastal Plains of Texas. We have a 1 acre pond that will not hold water (dug to deep into the clay)and we would like to fill this pond with flowers (maybe wildflowers) that are native to the area and that does not require daily care. Please advise.

ANSWER:

Too bad about your pond, but perhaps we can make it look beautiful anyway.  Since it was designed to be a pond, I imagine when it rains it is going to fill with water that will persist for short while before draining away.  In that case we need to consider plants that will grow and thrive in such conditions.  These condtions are essentially the same as those for a rain garden where plants need to be able to tolerate growing in standing water, but also need to be able to survive when the water dries up.  There is an article about rain gardening, "Showering of Gifts" by Julie Bawden Davis, in the Summer 2006 (Volume 22, number 4) issue of Native Plants, the former name of the Wildflower Center's quarterly magazine. You may be able to find a copy in your local library if you would like to read it. Members of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center now receive our new publication Wildflower, published quarterly. Here are some suggestions for plants that would be suitable for a rain garden in El Campo, Texas.  Since I don't know your sunlight/shade conditions, you should check the "Growing Conditions" section of each of these plants to see if they match your situation:

GRASSES/GRASS-LIKE:

Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly)

Tripsacum dactyloides (eastern gamagrass)

Sedges such as:

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

HERBACEOUS PLANTS:

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Physostegia intermedia (slender false dragonhead)

Physostegia pulchella (showy false dragonhead)

Pluchea odorata (sweetscent)

Hydrolea ovata (ovate false fiddleleaf)

Teucrium canadense (American germander)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies)

SHRUBS:

Amorpha fruticosa (desert false indigo)

Hibiscus laevis (halberdleaf rosemallow)

Kosteletzkya virginica (Virginia saltmarsh mallow)

Sabal minor (dwarf palmetto)

You can search for more possibilities by visiting our Recommended Species page and selecting the South Texas area from the map or the pull-down menu.  This will give you a list of "commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in South Texas".  You can then NARROW YOUR SEARCH and select species by "Soil moisture" and/or "Light requirement".


Andropogon glomeratus

Muhlenbergia capillaris

Tripsacum dactyloides

Carex blanda

Carex cherokeensis

Carex texensis

Carex texensis

Lobelia cardinalis

Physostegia intermedia

Physostegia pulchella

Pluchea odorata var. odorata

Hydrolea ovata

Teucrium canadense

Monarda fistulosa

Oenothera speciosa

Amorpha fruticosa

Hibiscus laevis

Kosteletzkya virginica

Sabal minor

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Water Gardens Questions

Poor drainage in clay soils in Langhorne PA
September 15, 2009 - Our backyard has very poor drainage, to the point of up to 3 inches of rain can sit until it is evaporated. Talking to neighbors, they informed us that there use to be a terrain that ran through our ...
view the full question and answer

Companion plants for irises
April 22, 2007 - Hello...what do you suggest as a companion plant for irises? I live in the Texas Hill Country. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Flowering vine for trellis behind fountain in Anaheim Hills CA
June 05, 2010 - We are looking for a flowering vine to plant on a trellis surrounding a water fountain. The fountain splashes leaving the soil constantly wet. We have tried numerous vines, but they all die due to t...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for a littoral zone in Fort Myers, Florida
June 05, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, What native plants would you recommend for the littoral zone on a pond in Fort Myers Florida? Damon's Mom
view the full question and answer

Winter tank pond care in Austin Texas
November 09, 2010 - Suggestions for winterizing a water garden in Austin Texas. Water contained in a 60 gallon aluminum horse tank. Garden contains papyrus, horsetail and water lily. There are no fish in the pond and no...
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