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

Wednesday - March 23, 2011

From: Washington, DC
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Rain Gardens
Title: Rain garden plants for DC
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Please recommend deep-rooted, native, perennial plants, 1-3 feet high, for an area that is moist and gets approximately 3 hours of day of afternoon sun. During rain storms this garden is in a low area and can experience pooling water. Thank you!

ANSWER:

The situation you are describing is very similar to a rain garden or bioswale which is a created area much like you already have.  It is used to facilitate the infiltration of stormwater runoff, decreasing erosion and pollution.

You will find some very useful information about rain gardens here on the Landscape for Life website.  There are links to other sites with more information and plant suggestions.  Although none of them are specifically for the DC area, there are many native plants with broad ranges, so there will be plenty of choices for you.  You will find the plant lists posted on the Brooklyn Botanic Garden website particularly helpful.

You can also create a list of plants to choose from by visiting our Native Plant Database and doing a Combination Search.  Select: District of Columbia, herbaceous plant, part shade and wet conditions.  A list of 60 plants is generated that are native to your area and will survive in your conditions.  (If you feel that the conditions are not wet all the time, select moist as well and your choices will expand significantly). The plant names on the list are linked to detailed information pages.

Here are some suggestions from that list:

Aruncus dioicus (Bride's feathers)

Chelone glabra (White turtlehead)

Eupatorium perfoliatum (Common boneset)

Gaura biennis (Biennial beeblossom)

Iris versicolor (Harlequin blueflag)

Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower)

There are a number of ferns that will fit the bill as well:

Athyrium filix-femina (Common ladyfern)

Osmunda cinnamomea (Cinnamon fern)

Osmunda regalis (Royal fern)

Woodwardia areolata (Netted chainfern)


Aruncus dioicus


Chelone glabra


Eupatorium perfoliatum

 


Iris versicolor


Lobelia cardinalis


Athyrium filix-femina


Osmunda cinnamomea


Osmunda regalis


Woodwardia areolata

 

 

 

 

 

More Rain Gardens Questions

Plants for freestanding water in Oklahoma
July 28, 2013 - I have an overflowing gutter and the ground below becomes a muddy hole. I'd like to put a basin or pot in/or above the ground with a rain chain. Are there any plants--shrubs or otherwise that flouris...
view the full question and answer

Rain garden plants for Central Texas
February 06, 2014 - Do you have a list of rain garden plants for Central Texas?
view the full question and answer

Plants for a bioswale or rain garden
January 06, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, What plants do you recommend for a bioswale or rain garden in Austin, Texas?
view the full question and answer

Raingarden Plants for Brownsville, TX
March 14, 2014 - I'm a Landscape Architect in South Texas and I'm implementing raingardens and vegetated swales in my projects. What native plants could be used in these gardens/water runways. They would need to res...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a ditch in PA
June 09, 2012 - I have a property in the suburbs about 20 miles south of Philadelphia, PA. There is a small creek running across the property. The "ditch" holding the creek is about 5 feet across, but the creek i...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center