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

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

Plants for Bioswale in Illinois
November 30, 2009 - I have a 300ft by 15 ft bioswale in Aurora, Illinois. What plants would be best used? Is there a percentage of each plant to take into consideration?
view the full question and answer

Grasses for moist, steep hillside in Tupelo MS
July 01, 2010 - I have a very steep bank that I have pampas grass planted in spots. It must be a natural spring in the bank because it stays very wet and runs into the street below. Can you suggest something to pla...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping recommendations for site in Dubuque, IA
March 27, 2010 - I need a seed recommendation. Here are the variables: Location: Dubuque, IA (east Central Iowa) Soil type: Sandy to sandy and gravelly. Part is a riverbank facing east. Steep bank then flat to ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a pond edge in IN
June 08, 2012 - Hello, I live in Southern Indiana. I care very much about reinforcing native plants for my region & not planting anything invasive. I had a pond built last year & need some suggestions for native ...
view the full question and answer

Looking for native plants for a rain garden in Arlington, TX.
March 12, 2012 - I am looking for native Texas plants that would do well in rain gardens. Do you have any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center