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 - 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)


Asclepias incarnata

Coreopsis verticillata

Conoclinium coelestinum

Hibiscus moscheutos

Lobelia siphilitica

Physostegia virginiana

Tradescantia virginiana

Chasmanthium latifolium

Panicum virgatum

Schizachyrium scoparium

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Calycanthus floridus

 

 

 

More Water Gardens Questions

Plants for pond, for incline and area with poor soil
April 23, 2012 - I have three plant recommendation questions for Austin, TX. 1. I have a large pond that I would like to put native aquatic plants in. What are some hardy aquatic natives I could put in? The pond ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for retention ponds in Grand Haven, MI
July 21, 2009 - I am president of a condo association. We have three retention ponds on the property. From two of them we pump water for irrigation so the water level goes up and down. We are going to try to stabiliz...
view the full question and answer

Request to use images from Image Gallery
February 04, 2009 - The Nueces River Authority is publishing a riparian plant guide and we would like permission to use one or more of your plant photos. Can you direct me to a person or process for this. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Looking for grasses for slope around retention pond in Florida
August 02, 2011 - I live in St. Petersburg, FL on a large retention pond. Most of my neighbors on the pond have seawalls. I do not nor do my neighbors to my left and right. I am interested in colorful grasses to put...
view the full question and answer

The origin of Juncus effusus var. Big Twister
May 04, 2008 - Juncus effusus, var. 'Big Twister' We're trying to figure out the nativity of this thing, and whether it is safe to plant in our very wet rain garden. Thank you for any assistance...
view the full question and answer

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