En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 09, 2012

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


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.


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

More Rain Gardens Questions

Native Texas plants for rain gardens
March 07, 2007 - I am looking for native Texas plants that would do well in very shady and partial shade rain gardens. Do you have any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for rain garden in Collin Co., TX
November 09, 2006 - I am developing a Collin County Master Gardenerís program on Rain Gardens (in particular) and Rain Harvesting (generally.) I saw the recent article in your magazine about rain gardens and wondered if ...
view the full question and answer

School Rain Garden in Iowa
January 08, 2013 - Could you recommend plants for a rain garden to be installed on a middle school campus in the Council Bluffs Iowa area???? Many thanks!
view the full question and answer

Rain Garden plant for N. Mississippi
March 03, 2010 - Rain Garden Plants for North Mississippi/Mid-South Region. I wish the search parameters included plants which tolerate seasonal flooding and droughts, so that each state might search for its own r...
view the full question and answer

Growing Texas star hibiscus in Central Texas
August 11, 2014 - Hi there, I purchased a beautiful Texas Star Hibiscus that I want to plant in my yard. Unfortunately, my yard being in Travis Heights, I hit a lot of caliche when digging. To plant some other nativ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center