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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


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.


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:


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)


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)


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







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