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Sunday - July 05, 2009

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


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?


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




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