En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Need help replacing a non-functioning pond in Houston, TX.

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
1 rating

Tuesday - March 30, 2010

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Water Gardens
Title: Need help replacing a non-functioning pond in Houston, TX.
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I have a non-functioning, shell-shaped, concrete pond in a shaded part of my backyard that has been a great place to grow mosquitoes since I got this place. I have decided that it is time for a change of scenery as well as wildlife, and would appreciate some suggestions as to what to plant that can survive this hot, humid climate combined with a fair amount of shade and no drainage--AND possibly attract some butterflies or hummingbirds. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, and I thank you for your time and consideration.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants finds this to be a challenging question because it raises several questions for him.

e.g: What makes the pond "non functioning"? Maybe you could contact the folks in the Houston Pond Society to help you get it functioning again. This might be the most practical solution, in the end.

Are you planning on just filling it with soil and planting plants in the space?  Your comment about "no drainage" seems to indicate that you realize that this is not a good idea.  You will end up with a soupy mess of dead plants that is a bredding ground for mosquitoes and other "undesireables".

Aside from its shape and composition, you don't tell us anything else about the pond, e.g. depth, size (area), surrounding vegetation/setting.  If you really think you would like to put plants "in" it you will have to drill drain holes in it.  Depending on how thick-walled it is, you may be able to do it yourself with a rental tool and concrete drill bits.  Once you have achieved that and filled it with soil you will have to observe how wet the conditions are and choose appropriate plants.  The conditions of the "garden" will become alkaline over time due to the concrete "planter".

I would imagine that you will always have pretty wet conditions so you should start the plant selection process by visiting our Native Plant database. Choose the "Recommended Species" function for East Texas and then Narrow Your Search choosing wet conditions and then light according to your site and the type of plants (shrubs, perennials) you are interested in.  The plant names in the list are links to detailed information pages that will tell you which plants are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

On that same page you will find "Special Collections".  Many plants on the list "Hummingbird Plants for Central Texas" will be appropriate for Houston as well.

Good luck with your project ... I still think it might be easier to get the pond going again!

 

More Water Gardens Questions

Restoring a slope in the Mississippi sandhill region
August 01, 2011 - We are building on 5 acres (leaving 60% as is, natural). Only building a small (900-1200 sq ft house) & clearing 1 acre of the valley for a pond. There is a steep slope (where we had to put field dra...
view the full question and answer

Water-loving native plants for Pottstown, PA
September 11, 2009 - I live about 40 miles west of Philadelphia. I am looking for a water absorbing evergreen tree/bush/plant that I could plant in the rear of my yard. We get a small stream every good rain and the back...
view the full question and answer

Note on pond over oak roots from Round Rock TX
December 23, 2012 - Thanks very much to Barbara for answering my question about the live oaks - covering parts of their root systems with a pond. Your answer inspired discussion, and we changed our pond plan and moved th...
view the full question and answer

Need water absorbing plants in Syracuse, NY
August 18, 2010 - I'm Looking for water absorbing plants and shrubs -not so much trees. My rain barrels and downspouts are still creating too much run off. I want to line a walkway and keep rainwater run-off from drai...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for water garden in Garland, TX
June 13, 2006 - Hello, I was interested in creating a water garden-koi pond in the landscaping and was interested to know what plants you would suggest for this usage that would be perennial? Furthermore I was intere...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center