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?

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

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
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

Need water absorbing plants in Syracuse, NY
August 18, 2010 - I'm Looking for water absorbing plants and shrubs -not so much trees. My rain barrels and downspouts are still creating too much run off. I want to line a walkway and keep rainwater run-off from drai...
view the full question and answer

Specifying sizes of plants for pond edge plantings in Austin area
December 19, 2014 - I am working on a list of pond edge plantings for the Austin area that will be in the fluctuation zone and I have my list of my plants but I need to know how to spec the sizes and to make sure my list...
view the full question and answer

Restoring a slope in the Mississippi sandhill region
August 01, 2011 - We are building on 5 acres (leaving 60% as is, natural). Only building a small (900-1200 sq ft house) & clearing 1 acre of the valley for a pond. There is a steep slope (where we had to put field dra...
view the full question and answer

Note on pond over oak roots from Round Rock TX
December 23, 2012 - Thanks very much to Barbara for answering my question about the live oaks - covering parts of their root systems with a pond. Your answer inspired discussion, and we changed our pond plan and moved th...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID at the Wildflower Center from Austin
June 18, 2012 - I was at the Wildflower Center today and loved the green plants with delicate white flowers that were in both clay pots in front of the auditorium. Please let me know the name of the plants.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center