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?


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

Tuesday - April 06, 2010

From: Plano, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens
Title: Plants for a container bog garden in North Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I live in Plano, just north of Dallas. I've developed a recent interest in water gardens and am considering getting my toes wet with a container bog garden. I have an old galvanized wash tub that I think will be ideal. What native plants would be both small enough and happy in a bog? I've considered Cardinal Flower as it would be a bonus to attract butterflies and hummers to my patio. Any suggestions?


Mr. Smarty Plants doesn't have any "How to Articles" specifically for creating a bog garden; but I do recommend that you read, "Water Gardening" and "How to Create a Water Garden" in our "How to Articles" Both have information that will be useful for your bog garden and although "Water Gardening" addresses a larger project than you are planning, it still has information that will be useful for your smaller project.  For more specific information on bog gardens, however, here are a couple of articles—A Bog Garden by C. Colston Burrell from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Build a Simple Bog Garden from Rainy Side Gardeners. We have two plant lists on our Recommended Species page (under "Just for Central Texas") that should be helpful to you for your project—"Pond Plants for Central Texas" and "Wetland Plants for Central Texas".  Here are a few suggestions from these lists that should do well attracting butterflies and hummers to your bog garden in the Plano area:

Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)

Equisetum hyemale (scouringrush horsetail) doesn't attract butterflies or hummingbirds, but will serve as an attractive background for your colorful species and also serves as a good perch for dragonflies.

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower) is an excellent choice.

Physostegia intermedia (slender false dragonhead)

Justicia americana (American water-willow)

Pontederia cordata (pickerelweed)

Rhynchospora colorata (starrush whitetop)

These plants are relatively tall but for low plants, you might consider:

Marsilea macropoda (bigfoot waterclover)

Hydrocotyle umbellata (manyflower marshpennywort)

Bacopa monnieri (herb of grace)

Here are photos of the plants from our Image Gallery:

Asclepias incarnata

Equisetum hyemale

Lobelia cardinalis

Physostegia intermedia

Pontederia cordata

Rhynchospora colorata

Marsilea macropoda

Justicia americana

Hydrocotyle umbellata

Bacopa monnieri





More Container Gardens Questions

Placement of lemon cypress tree in Miami, FL
May 25, 2008 - Where is the best place to have a lemon cypress tree? indoors or out? Presently in south Miami climate, Scott's potting soil, clay pot, with good drainage.
view the full question and answer

Possibility of invasiveness of blackberry bush
March 27, 2008 - I bought a blackberry bush from Home Depot last year. My sister said if I planted it in the ground it would take over my lawn. So I put it in a big planter up against my fence, but I'd like to put it...
view the full question and answer

White specks on unknown houseplant from Ridgeway SC
June 20, 2013 - I have an unknown houseplant that seems to have some sort of pest or disease on it. It has white snowy specks atop its leaf. I bought this purple fuzzy leafed houseplant from Walmart in Winnsboro, SC ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for hanging baskets in Abilene
June 10, 2008 - I live in the DRY West Texas heat in Abilene. I'd like to put some hanging plants along my back fence. Preferably something that would attract butterflies. We have a pool in our back yard and almost ...
view the full question and answer

Indoor pot plants
November 20, 2007 - I just moved into a studio apt. where a lot of heat is provided. Do you have a listing of house plants suitable for warm apartments? I have four windows, all with indirect sunlight.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center