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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - May 09, 2012

From: Zionsville, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Rain Gardens
Title: Raingardens in Indiana
Answered by: Anne Ruggles

QUESTION:

I need to have annual native plants to add to a demonstration rain garden to fill in while we wait for the perennial plants to mature. The only plant I can think of is annual phlox. Do you have any other suggestions? The rain garden is located in Zionsville, IN, it is a part to full sun location, with amended soil that contains a mix of loam soil with quick draining sand. We have hot, humid summers. I would appreciate any suggestions you can make.

ANSWER:

What a wonderful project and congratulations on choosing to use native plants. If you haven’t already contacted the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts they may be able to help you as well. They have an extensive website devoted to rain gardening. with links to plant lists, how-to's, etc.

A good place to start in building a list of potential species is the Wildflower Center’s web page. Go to the “Explore Plants” tab, click on it and in the drop-down menu click on the “Recommended Species” link.  Click on Indiana on the map and you will be taken to a list of species native to Indiana. You can use the criteria on the right side of the page to narrow your search.

Doing a quick search we found:

Chamaecrista fasciculata  (Partridge pea, Sleepingplant, Sensitive plant) is a 1-3 ft. annual with showy yellow flowers. It does well in full sun and well-drained soils. This is very attractive to insect pollinators.   

Rudbeckia hirta (Blackeyed Susan) is very plastic, growing as an annual and short-lived biennial. It prefers sunny locations on well-drained soil. This, too, is attractive to insect pollinators.   

 

To find suppliers of seeds or plants in your area you go to the Wildflower Center web site, click on the "Explore Plants" tab, then on Suppliers in the drop-down menu to find suppliers in your area.

 

From the Image Gallery


Partridge pea
Chamaecrista fasciculata

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

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