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Friday - February 18, 2011

From: Edinburg, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Rain Gardens
Title: Plants for a bioswale in TX
Answered by: Anne Bossart


Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, What kind of plants are best suited for a bioswale in Edinburg, Texas?


A bioswale (or rain garden) is an imaginative, attractive and functional method for slowing down stormwater to facilitate water infiltration into the soil, which in turn reduces pollution and erosion. Because it will be at times saturated with water and at others as dry as West Texas, you need plants that are adapted to both those conditions.

Because of the increased interest all over the country in this type of garden, we Green Gurus are in the process of compiling a Special Collection of Rain Garden plants, but it is not ready yet.  In the meantime, if you visit our Native Plant Database and search our Recommended Species lists for Central Texas selecting both wet and dry conditions (and shade to part shade), it will yeild 78 species.  You must then sort through them to see which plants will tolerate both extremes.

You will also find information and plant lists on the Texas A&M website that should be helpful (although not all their suggested plants are natives ... some are adapted aliens).

Here are a few favourites from our list.  If you click on the link it will take you to the plant information page for a detailed description. There are also shrubs and trees that are suitable for those conditions that would be too large for your site.

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Cooperia drummondii (evening rainlily)

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower)

Gaillardia suavis (perfumeballs)

Ipomopsis rubra (standing-cypress)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow)

Melica nitens (threeflower melicgrass)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

Passiflora incarnata (purple passionflower)

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan)

Salvia coccinea (blood sage)

Aquilegia canadensis

Bouteloua curtipendula

Cooperia drummondii

Echinacea purpurea

Gaillardia suavis

Ipomopsis rubra

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Melica nitens

Monarda fistulosa

Passiflora incarnata

Panicum virgatum

Rudbeckia hirta

Salvia coccinea




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