En EspaŅol

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
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

Monday - February 08, 2010

From: laurel, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Plants/grasses for a bioswale in Maryland
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm looking for a good seed mixture, wetland plant/grass mix, to use in Bio-Swales in central Maryland. Can you help me?

ANSWER:

Yes we can! Planting a bioswale/rain garden is a very important component of sustainable gardening as it an effective way to reduce storm water runoff; increasing inflitration and reducing pollution.  It is more attractive than a drainage ditch filled with rip-rap and can provide a little piece of much needed wildlife habitat in an urban setting.

Plants that will thrive in a bioswale have to be tough in order to withstand the exreme wet and dry conditions of a bioswale, but there are plenty of native plants that fit the bill.

The website Rainscapes will be a valuable resource for you in this project as it provides information for your part of the world, being published by the Maryland Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection.  You will find instructions as well as plant lists on their website.

Ultimately, your plant choices will be limited by what plants and seeds are available in the nurseries in your area.  You will find a link to some native plant nurseries associated with the Wildflower Center on our Suppliers page and there is also a link on the Rainscapes website.

You can begin the selection process by visiting our Native Plant Information Network.  Do a Combination search by selecting Maryland and then narrowing your choices to wet conditions.  That way you can make a "wish list" of grasses, perennials and even shrubs, depending on the size and location of your swale. One of our Associates, Wildflower Farm offers a pre-planned Rain Garden plant list you will find helpful.  They are located in Ontario but the plants they recommend are native to your area as well.

Here are some plants we recommend:

Grasses

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)

Perennials

Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)

Chelone glabra (white turtlehead)

Eupatoriadelphus fistulosus (trumpetweed)

Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia)

Monarda didyma (scarlet beebalm)


Andropogon gerardii

Chasmanthium latifolium

Elymus canadensis

Panicum virgatum

Asclepias incarnata

Chelone glabra

Eupatoriadelphus fistulosus

Lobelia siphilitica

Monarda didyma

 

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants for steep clay bank in Summerfield OH
April 07, 2012 - Hello, We have a steep 15-20 foot high bank behind our house here in southern Ohio. Probably 50 ft.long. What could we plant for beauty and erosion control. It is nasty clay soil with lots of shale an...
view the full question and answer

Habiturf for East Texas
May 14, 2012 - We live in east Texas, right on the beginning of the piney words, the soil is a little sandy. We have taken up a wooden walkway but can't get anything to grow there. Could the soil be dead from year ...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower field for sewage leach field from Olga Washington
August 01, 2012 - I am interested in planting a large native wildflower field at a resort in the San Juan Islands in Washington State. It would be over a sewage leach field for many cabins and bathrooms. Are there any ...
view the full question and answer

Native Indiangrass as a hedge
December 13, 2009 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I would like to create a grass hedge as a foundation planting for a portion of our garden. One side of the planting is a concrete sidewalk to our garden shed, the other side wil...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Muhly grass in late summer from Wimberley TX
August 02, 2012 - Can I transplant Muhly grass in July/August?
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center