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
2 ratings

Monday - April 19, 2010

From: Philadelphia, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Water Gardens, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Best time to plant wetland plants in NY
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Hello Mr. Smarty Plants - I'm working on a fresh water, shoreline wetland creation project in New York State. I've created two zones of native wetland plantings, an emergent shallow marsh zone and a emergent shoreline zone (see list below). Within these zones I'm proposing to vegetate with 2" plug plantings. This project has been delayed a bit and the landscaping can't take place until the fall. Is it 'ok' to plant plugs in the fall and if so what window of time should we aim for? Emergent Shallow Marsh: Pontederia cordata, Scirpus cyperinus, Peltandra virginica, Sagittaria latifolia, Carex vulpinoidea, Acorus calamus, Leersia oryzoides Emergent Shoreline: Asclepias incarnata, Lobelia cardinalis,Iris versicolor, Juncus effusus, Carex stricta, Epilobium coloratum, Scirpus atrovirens, Chelone glabra

ANSWER:


It is absolutely fine to wait until fall to plant.  I think the reason spring is considered "the time to plant" is because there are more plants available in nurseries at that time and more anxious gardeners wanting to plant them!  Early fall is ideal ... plants are generally not heat or water stressed (yours certainly won't be water stressed!) and they have time to settle in, generate some roots and harden off before winter dormancy.

You can double-check with your local agricultural extension office, but I would say that September or October are ideal. You will probably be fine well into November depending on the weather.

Your plant choices are excellent ... we applaud your efforts.  Lady Bird Johnson always said that we should leave the land "better" than we found it and the basic premise of the Sustainable Sites Initiative is that every landscape can be a functioning ecosystem.  Your are obviously doing your part!

 

 

More Water Gardens Questions

Plants for NY wetland yard
April 30, 2011 - We have standing water in our yard for the entire spring and sometimes summer if it's a rainy one. We dug a ditch and found that our yard has a natural spring, which explains a lot. I need to know ...
view the full question and answer

More than you want to know about planting a pond in Austin Texas
December 10, 2010 - Winterizing Water Garden QA from Nov 27 Austin American-Statesman: Would the garden (60-gal aluminum) with those plants (papyrus, horsetail, water lily) be placed in the sun, shade, part shade or ? I ...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for a pond in MO
September 10, 2011 - I have a spring fed pond in Missouri and would like to plant perennial wildflowers in the area around it. Are there any that would do better or others that are not recommended? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Plant ID at the Wildflower Center from Austin
June 18, 2012 - I was at the Wildflower Center today and loved the green plants with delicate white flowers that were in both clay pots in front of the auditorium. Please let me know the name of the plants.
view the full question and answer

Plants for swan food
July 03, 2012 - Dear Mr Smarty Pants, I have a farm in VA with a large pond or lake fenced in. I am rescuing a pair of swan and want to grow plants around the fence and pond that they can eat. Could you suggest an...
view the full question and answer

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