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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - October 28, 2010

From: Wooster, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Plants for a pool fence in Ohio
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I live in Ohio and have a pool with a white vinyl fence. Each year I plant sunflowers around it, but they are so messy when the birds/bees find them. Previously I planted castor beans, however, they are so poisonous that I stopped doing that. Could you give me some ideas of tall full plants, annual or perennial, flowering or non-flowering that would do well in this area. I currently have clematis growing which do quite well along with other smaller flowering plants. Thank you for your help

ANSWER:

You don't mention what kind of growing conditions you have but I am assuming that around a swimming pool it is fairly sunny and that in central Ohio soil fertility is not an issue.  I am also assuming that you are dealing with a fairly narrow strip, which is why you are not considering shrubs.

Our Native Plant Database can generate lists of plants that are native to Ohio for you to choose from, but you will ultimately be limited by what plants are available in your local nurseries. You can perform a Combination Search selecting: Ohio, herb (herbaceous plant), and then the size (I chose 3-6 ft), conditions (sunny) and bloom time (I chose June/July/August as that is when you use the pool).  You can also go to the Recommended Species page, click on Ohio and then narrow your search in the same way. It will give you a shorter list of plants that are considered to do well in garden situations and are readily available.  You can locate native plant nurseries in your area by going to our Suppliers page and, again, selecting Ohio.  All of the lists have links to detailed infomation pages with photos for each plant. You can repeat the process for grasses and vines. 

You should be able to create a planting using a combination of these that is not only attractive and interesting but will also be easy to take care of.  Native plants are adapted to your ecosystem and require little extra water, fertilizer or pesticide.

I have selected some plants from those lists that I think would work well for you. 

Perennials (some tall, some shorter)

Agastache scrophulariifolia (Purple giant hyssop)

Aruncus dioicus (Bride's feathers)

Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis)

Echinacea purpurea (Eastern purple coneflower)

Heliopsis helianthoides (Smooth oxeye)

Liatris spicata (Dense blazing star)

Vernonia noveboracensis (New york ironweed)

Grasses

Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)

Sporobolus heterolepis (Prairie dropseed)

Vines

Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper)


Agastache scrophulariifolia


Aruncus dioicus


Coreopsis lanceolata


Echinacea purpurea


Heliopsis helianthoides


Liatris spicata


Vernonia noveboracensis


Panicum virgatum


Schizachyrium scoparium


Sporobolus heterolepis


Campsis radicans

 

 

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Kinnikinnick for a green roof
July 04, 2012 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I live just north of Seattle and want to build a green roof (outdoor kitchen) I'm concerned about the weight of the soil (saturated), drainage etc. am building from scratch and...
view the full question and answer

Native landscaping plants for Sherman, Texas
December 19, 2007 - We are starting from scratch on landscaping our new yard. We live in Sherman, TX and I would like to use plants and flowers that are native to Texas and have a good chance of surviving. What are you...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a mixed border in Houston
February 22, 2010 - I live in Houston and have a flowerbed I'd like to fill with plants that will look good year-round. The back is already lined with 6-foot shrubs so nothing like that. I'd like something with colorf...
view the full question and answer

Meadow garden for Colorado Springs CO
June 03, 2012 - We recently purchased a restored home on a mesa just above the downtown area of Colorado Springs on the front range. The previous owners seeded the front lawn with blue gramma and told me that all I ...
view the full question and answer

Will non-native hostas do well in South Carolina from Seneca SC
May 20, 2013 - I am moving to SC from CT and want to bring some of the hostas I grow in CT. If I plant them in the shade in SC, will they do well down there?
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