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

Possibility of root rot in Praire flame-leaf sumac
July 08, 2004 - I bought a prairie sumac two years ago and it was fine until recently when we had a lot of rain in Austin. Now the leaves are all brown and it appears to be dying. Is there something I can do? I reall...
view the full question and answer

Removal of weeds in buffalograss mix in Houston
June 15, 2009 - I recently attempted to seed a small lawn area with a buffalo/blue grama grass mix, unfortunately for me the area has been hit hard with weeds. Is there an environmentally friendly method to reduce...
view the full question and answer

Erosion prevention on shady Pennsylvania stream
July 28, 2011 - I'm looking for a few species to plant along a stream channel to help reduce erosion during heavy rains. The soil is moist and in full shade. Ferns and thorny bushes are the only current vegetation...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating crabgrass in Middletown MO
September 28, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am having trouble with my lawn, specifically with the crabgrass in it. It now covers over 1/3 of it. I started using corn gluten meal this year, with limited tangible succ...
view the full question and answer

Native border plants to stop erosion
February 18, 2015 - I need native border plants to assist in stopping soil erosion due to water run off from rain and the Catawba River.
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