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 16, 2012

From: Eureka Springs, AR
Region: Southeast
Topic: Rain Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Pond Plants for Eureka Springs AR
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson


I have a 1 acre pond that we are cleaning up. This area will be used for recreation and fishing. We plan to put native rock around some of the edges and need perennial plants that do well in rocky areas sitting close to the water if not in the water. We live in northwest Arkansas and have hot humid summers and sometimes cold icy winters


Mr Smarty Plants’ normal approach is to point out the “Recommended Species” list and that it can be searched for plants which prefer specific conditions such as “Full Sun” and Soil Moisture: “Wet-Saturated”.

For Arkansas, this yielded the following list of shrubs: Lobelia siphilitica (Great blue lobelia), Hibiscus moscheutos (Crimsoneyed rosemallow), Penstemon digitalis (Mississippi penstemon), Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower), Eupatoriadelphus fistulosus (Trumpetweed), and Silphium terebinthinaceum (Prairie rosinweed).  This should be a good starting list, but also consider the soil conditions you have versus their preferences and any other aspects that may be important to you.  There were also a number of trees suggested that can tolerate these conditions, but it didn’t sound like that was your question.

 I also found a few questions that were similar to yours; you may want to review these answers for additional insight into what you may want to do.  This question considers a similar situation in Kansas.  This one features both native grasses and refers a how-to article on water gardening. Another question discusses a pond in Missouri, and this one is also from Missouri, but focuses on smaller plants so that they can be fished over!

Finally, it's always possible that you can find expert advice at the local chapter of the Arkansas Native Plant Society or at the Carroll County Extension Office.  Another possibility is the Northwest Arkansas Koi and Watergarden Society.  I found contact information here.The Extension Office may be particularly helpful to you as in the same search I found two documents on rainwater gardens [a near relative to what you are doing], and on the use of native plants in rainwater gardens!


From the Image Gallery

Crimsoneyed rosemallow
Hibiscus moscheutos

Great blue lobelia
Lobelia siphilitica

Mississippi penstemon
Penstemon digitalis

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Joe-pye weed
Eutrochium fistulosum

Prairie rosinweed
Silphium terebinthinaceum

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Interested in a mini food forest
February 04, 2013 - I am interested in starting a mini "food forest" in a twelve foot by twelve foot patch of earth next to my house. I'd like to put a focus on making sure that the bulk of the plants I introduce are ...
view the full question and answer

Purchase of Galphimia angustifolia from Austin
June 08, 2014 - I have a Thryallis, Galphimia augustifolia, or Thryallis autustifolia, growing from a limestone ledge in my yard in west Austin TX. I have tried unsuccessfully to buy this native. Do you sell it at t...
view the full question and answer

Browning of leaf tops on Iris plants
April 22, 2008 - My Iris plants bloomed beautifully, now some of the leaves are turning brown from the top down, about half way. Is this normal? What can I do about it and should I cut off the brown leaves? Also, what...
view the full question and answer

Invasive American Germander from San Antonio
May 14, 2012 - I brought home some American Germander (Teucruim canadense) - page 259 In Wildflowers of Texas by Geyata Ajilvsgi - from a railroad right-of-way. Since it is a member of the mint family it has becom...
view the full question and answer

Source for Dichondra from Hillsboro TX
November 26, 2012 - Where can I get dichondra and info about it?
view the full question and answer

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