En Español

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
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

Fragrant perennial plants for shade in Dallas
July 11, 2011 - I am looking for shade-loving perennial plants to provide fragrance in my garden. What plants would you recommend for my North Texas (Dallas) garden that is fully shaded by huge pecan trees? My curren...
view the full question and answer

How to eliminate roadside thistles
May 26, 2015 - When we drive along the highway we see lots of wildflowers and no thistles in the median. How does the Highway Department keep the thistles out? Here in Kerrville, we are overwhelmed by thistles thi...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping for a wedding in Memphis MO
October 13, 2009 - I am pretty new at this landscaping flower thing, but I love it. We just moved out to the country in NE Missouri from Colorado (Huge difference, but love it). We have decided to have our wedding at o...
view the full question and answer

Pest Dug Up and Ate Hypoxis Corms
August 06, 2015 - After years of no problems, something recently dug up and ate all my Yellow star-grass corms. What is attracted to them and is there an organic way to prevent it?
view the full question and answer

Giant Thistle-Like Plant from Elgin, TX
June 01, 2014 - I have a giant thistle like plant in my field we have been unable to identify. It looks like a milk thistle but it is short..only about a foot tall..stocky...and the flowers are giant..about 6 to 8 i...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center