Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Short flowering plant that will grow in sand in Black Creek WI
June 03, 2010 - I would like to know what kind of flowering plant would grow good in sand? A short plant.
view the full question and answer

Need plants to fill in spaces where wooden expansion joints were removed in a patio in Seguin, TX
July 11, 2015 - I have removed the rotted wood in the expansion joints in my patio. I would prefer replacing them with some sort of plant. The patio gets partial sunlight.
view the full question and answer

Need a source of mature horsetail plants in Memphis, TN.
May 06, 2012 - Where can I find mature horsetail plants in Memphis,Tn.? Need enough to fill a 6 foot long by one foot wide planter Need for it to look like it's been there forever.
view the full question and answer

Lantanas failing to bloom, turning brown
October 06, 2007 - The lantana in my front yard does not bloom, is not overwatered but does get watered, leaves turned brown and plants generally have not grown. The lantana in the rest of the yard are in bloom and lo...
view the full question and answer

Source for book on Mimosa pudica from West Palm Beach FL
September 07, 2012 - Where can I find the TickleMe Plant Book -the guide for growing the sensitive plant mimosa pudica seeds?This is the plant that plays dead when touched.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.