Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Sunday - January 11, 2009

From: Santa Ana, CA
Region: California
Topic: Pests, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: What flowers will ducks and swans not eat?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live by ducks and swans. They love eating my flowers. Any suggestions on what flowering plants they won't eat?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants really hates to admit being stumped, but this may be the one. We have lists of deer-resistant plants but not duck-resistant. When you say you "live by" ducks and swans, do you mean someone keeps a swan and duck farm next to you (if there is such a thing) or do you live along a waterway of some sort? We found a quote from a book, Encyclopedia of Water Garden Plants by Sue Speichert and Ann Lovejoy, that does mention ducks and swans savaging plants:

"Geese, swans and ducks, although they are fun to see visiting, love the very same plants you do, but for food and nest building. Geese and swans love grassy things; anything grassy-looking is fair game for geese and swans. Ducks tear up plants but seem to do their damage by nesting in the plants rather than really eating them. Harassment is the best we have been able to do for birds. Loud noises, sprays from a garden hose, dogs, picking up their nests-all give birds the message they are not welcome. We have had much success with a motion-operated sprinkler."

Then we found this list of California Native Plants that Attract Birds to your Garden from the San Luis Obispo Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. We scanned the list and found a few that listed attracting ducks, at least, so you would probably want to avoid those plants. 

Beyond that, about all we can suggest is either seeing if the owner of the duck and swan farm (if there is one) could contain his flocks a little better, or moving your gardens farther from the water.

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Evergreen grasslike plants for Austin TX
April 15, 2008 - Hi, I'm in Austin, TX and looking for some evergreen grass-looking plants. Would you explain the similarities/differences between Butterfly Iris and Lily Grass in this regard? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Native flower bed with part sun
December 05, 2008 - I have recently put in three small flower beds and replaced the hard clay with decent dirt. The site is shaded in the AM but mostly sun in the PM. I would like to plant natives - what can you recommen...
view the full question and answer

Ornamental grasses under desert willows from Dallas, TX
September 06, 2013 - I am planning on planting 3 desert willows in full sun, below the power lines at the back of my back yard in the White Rock Lake area of Dallas. I would like to plant some ornamental grasses in the be...
view the full question and answer

Non-invasive, drought tolerant turf grass for Brownsville TX
May 22, 2010 - Since Bermudagrass is considered "invasive" by many in the industry, what drought tolerant, non-invasive turf grass would you recommend for South Texas lawns? (Brownsville area)
view the full question and answer

Cottage-style landscaping for Chesapeake VA
August 02, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plant staff, I recently moved into a cottage style home that has a poured concrete/paver patio. I am trying to come up with ideas for plantings that would 1. give me a bit of privacy,...
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.