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
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

Planting instructions for horsetail
March 10, 2009 - Re: Equisetum hyemale L. Canuela, Horsetail, Scouring rush, Scouringrush horsetail I bought a 1-gal Equisetum hyemale for my seep/pond. In searching the web, I find conflicting planting instructions...
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

Plants for floodplain in Fairfield, New Jersey
March 21, 2010 - I have an easy question for you... I hope... We just moved into the floodplains of NJ in Fairfield and are interested in some plants. We would like to know what plants are best suited to grow in flood...
view the full question and answer

Plants for pavilion over fountain in Washington State
December 26, 2008 - I have a tall fountain in a 7 foot square which is surrounded by pavers. Inside the 7' square there is about a 2' mulched soil bed around the center fountain and an iron type pavilion that goes up h...
view the full question and answer

BEST plants for keeping water clean
February 19, 2005 - We're in the process of building a small swimming pool that will utilize Texas native bog and marginal plants to clean the water for the pool. Do you know of some good resources (i.e. online, books, b...
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