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Mr. Smarty Plants - Plants for pond, for incline and area with poor soil

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Monday - April 23, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Water Gardens, Erosion Control
Title: Plants for pond, for incline and area with poor soil
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have three plant recommendation questions for Austin, TX. 1. I have a large pond that I would like to put native aquatic plants in. What are some hardy aquatic natives I could put in? The pond is a solid cement bottom. 2. I have a fairly steep incline that is in partial shade. The soil is very thin and poor. Is there a native plant I could use to help stabilize the hillside without a ton of work on the soil? 3. What would be a good plant to put in an area that receives full sun and has poor soil?

ANSWER:

1.  Since you have a cement bottom in your pond, your plants will need to be in pots weighted with heavy stones and clay soil that will stay put.  You can cover the soil with pebbles to keep it in place—regular potting soil will mostly float away.  You can use pots of any size or shape and as many as you want. 

Here are some native aquatics that do well in ponds:

Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed) will have lots of blooms and can grow to 3 feet.

Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail) will grow well, but it will be good that you will have it in a pot since it tends to take over if it isn't contained.

Hymenocallis liriosme (Spider lily)

Marsilea macropoda (Bigfoot water clover)

Kosteletzkya virginica (Virginia saltmarsh mallow)

In saturated soil near the edge of the pond you can grow such things as:

Rhynchospora colorata (Starrush whitetop)

Adiantum capillus-veneris (Southern maidenhair fern)

Canna glauca (Water canna)

2.  Sedges grow well in part shade and their fibrous root system will help stop erosion.  You can buy them potted and divide the plants to insert in the soil at intervals over the area.  They will eventually spread and cover the area.  Here are several possibilities:

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

Carex planostachys (Cedar sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

3.  This is a tough question to answer because I don't know what size plants you want or if you want herbaceous or woody plants.   I am going to refer you to the Recommended–Central Texas page.  You can use the different options under NARROW YOUR SEARCH to find something for your site.  I chose "Herb" under General Description, "Perennial" and Lifespan, "Sun" under Light Requirement, and "Dry" under Soil Moisture and found these among the results:

Asclepias asperula (Spider milkweed)

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Prairie verbena)

Melampodium leucanthum (Blackfoot daisy)

Oenothera speciosa (Pink evening primrose)

You can change the criteria and find other possibilities.

 

From the Image Gallery


Pickerelweed
Pontederia cordata

Canuela
Equisetum hyemale

Spring spiderlily
Hymenocallis liriosme

Bigfoot water clover
Marsilea macropoda

Virginia saltmarsh mallow
Kosteletzkya virginica

Southern maidenhair fern
Adiantum capillus-veneris

Cedar sedge
Carex planostachys

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Spider milkweed
Asclepias asperula

Prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Blackfoot daisy
Melampodium leucanthum

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

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