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
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


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


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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Making Ruellia nudiflora thicker in pot from Tucson AZ
June 25, 2012 - Can Ruellia Nudiflora be propagated in the same pot as the parent plant? Can it be cut back to stimulate a denser plant? I have plants in several pots and would like to 'thicken' the plant. Tha...
view the full question and answer

Golden groundsel plants or seeds for Bulverde TX
October 02, 2011 - Where can I find golden groundsel, plants or seeds?
view the full question and answer

Can non-native coleus grow in mulch from San Antonio
May 12, 2013 - Can Coleus plants grow in Mulch only?
view the full question and answer

Plants to stabilize sandy slope in Massachusetts
September 23, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smartypants, I am working on a small public housing project in Chelmsford, MA, northwest of Boston. We have a steep, sunny and SANDY slope and I am stumped as to what to recommend that wi...
view the full question and answer

Plants for pool area in Florida
May 09, 2008 - My husband and I have a pool with 4 planters and are looking for plants that we can put into our screened in pool area. We live in Central Florida and looking for ideas of plants that are slow growin...
view the full question and answer

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