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 - July 05, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Water Gardens
Title: Plants for edge of intermittent stream
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a friend in Washington DC who is having runoff problems. She is having a drycreek installed. What kind of plants are native to her area that will withstand flash flood and intermittent dry conditions?

ANSWER:

The plants you describe are exactly the kind of plants needed in rain gardens.  Here is the description of rain garden plants on the Montgomery County (Maryland) Department of Environmental Protection RainScapes site:

"The plants for rain gardens need to be able to withstand extreme conditions of moisture from the very wet to the very dry."

The Rainscapes site has an excellent list of native plants, Rainscapes Plants for Rain Gardens, that have been used in the Montgomery County area. Your friend can use that list in conjunction with our Native Plant Database to look for plants for the new drycreek area.  The easiest way to search in our Native Plant Database is with the botanical name.  However, some of the botanical names have changed (e.g., Aster sp. has now become Symphotrichum sp.) and searching by botanical name in this situation will not yield positive results.  Searching by common name will probably work in that case. Here are a few suggestions from that list:

Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)

Coreopsis verticillata (whorled tickseed)

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower)

Hibiscus moscheutos (crimsoneyed rosemallow)

Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia)

Physostegia virginiana (obedient plant)

Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia spiderwort)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush)

Calycanthus floridus (eastern sweetshrub)

 

 

 

More Water Gardens Questions

Plants for NY wetland yard
April 30, 2011 - We have standing water in our yard for the entire spring and sometimes summer if it's a rainy one. We dug a ditch and found that our yard has a natural spring, which explains a lot. I need to know ...
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

Remake of church grotto in Highlands, TX
April 24, 2010 - I'm looking to reform our Church Grado. I would like some beautiful (fitting) flowers that are native to Texas. Low upkeep preferred. Possible some nice water flowers to put into waterways. Plan to a...
view the full question and answer

Can Juncus effusus winter outside in Mountville PA?
June 28, 2010 - If we have the juncus effusus spiralis outside in a small pond and you say to let it outside in the winter does that mean we should let it in the pond? thanks for your time
view the full question and answer

Tropical-looking landscape in Austin, TX
March 24, 2005 - I'd like to have a tropical-looking landscape in my front yard. What plants would you recommend for Austin, Texas? I would prefer plants that can stay outside year-round, but will take suggestions on...
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.