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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - April 30, 2011

From: Fredonia, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Water Gardens
Title: Plants for NY wetland yard
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson


We have standing water in our yard for the entire spring and sometimes summer if it's a rainy one. We dug a ditch and found that our yard has a natural spring, which explains a lot. I need to know what plants I can put in my garden that will LOVE the water. What do you suggest?


Sure, New York has a selection of native plants that love a wet soil.  Your yard is likely not the only place with a natural spring bubbling up!

For selecting plants, I use the “Recommended Species” webpage, then click on New York and in this case, narrowed my selection down to those that flourish in “Moist-saturated” soils.  This search revealed 22 species of native plants that fit your request.  There were full-fledged trees, ferns and several attractive flowering plants.

Depending on your choice of color and blooming times for flowers, ones that should work well  in that planting include Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower)Lobelia siphilitica (Great blue lobelia) and Rosa palustris (Swamp rose).   The name is a bit indicative, isn’t it!

Lobelia cardinalis
                       Lobelia siphilitica            Rosa palustris

If you are looking for shrubs,  Rhododendron maximum (Great laurel) and Amelanchier canadensis (Canadian serviceberry) are in this selection.  Another plant with a name suggesting its habit is Pteridium aquilinum (Western bracken fern).

Rhododendron maximum
          Amelanchier canadensis          Pteridium aquilinum

   Hopefully this selection method and a little bit of planning for your yard foliage will give you a good wetland garden!


More Water Gardens Questions

Plants for area around a fountain in full sun near Dallas
May 19, 2010 - I'm seeking advice on what I can plant around the base of a fountain, in full sun, that can tolerate the fountain water splash/spray. I'm seeking something that can be maintained to a maximum h...
view the full question and answer

Propagation information from Queens NY
October 04, 2012 - Hello. I would appreciate information on when to plant the following plants. I found on the USDA website that all these plants could withstand the cold. ALthough they can withstand harsh weather, ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for wet soils in North Carolina
October 03, 2009 - I'm looking for evergreen plants (shrubs or ground cover)that will tolerate wet conditions for the zone 8 area of North Carolina. The local garden centers here do not stock these types of plants, eve...
view the full question and answer

Note on pond over oak roots from Round Rock TX
December 23, 2012 - Thanks very much to Barbara for answering my question about the live oaks - covering parts of their root systems with a pond. Your answer inspired discussion, and we changed our pond plan and moved th...
view the full question and answer

Plants for swan food
July 03, 2012 - Dear Mr Smarty Pants, I have a farm in VA with a large pond or lake fenced in. I am rescuing a pair of swan and want to grow plants around the fence and pond that they can eat. Could you suggest an...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center