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

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

User comment on native grass mixes from Robstown TX
March 21, 2014 - As a followup to my question on seed spreaders, native grass and prairie seed mixes seem a good fit for my location in far western Nueces County which is more semi-arrid than 30 miles away in Corpus w...
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for Year Round Interest
February 16, 2015 - I'm involved in a paradigm shift from traditional bedding plants (petunias, zinnias, begonias, etc.) to native plants. I realize that native plants have natural life cycles where they look pretty bad...
view the full question and answer

What plants grow well in Athens, TX?
January 18, 2011 - Athens, Texas, we have very sandy soil mixed with clay, what plants grow well here?
view the full question and answer

Planting Muhlenbergia rigens in Austin
August 16, 2010 - I have a question about when I can plant Deer Muhly (AKA Muhlenbergia Rigens). It's pretty hot now, but I would like to know how much it needs to cool down before I can plant these grasses?
view the full question and answer

Grass lawn from Durham NC
October 08, 2013 - Durham, NC. Want to plant a small front grass lawn, full sun, dry. Willing to mow. Not good about watering. Advice?
view the full question and answer

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