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?

Share

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

Tuesday - July 03, 2012

From: Castleton, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Water Gardens, Wildlife Gardens
Title: Plants for swan food
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr Smarty Pants, I have a farm in VA with a large pond or lake fenced in. I am rescuing a pair of swan and want to grow plants around the fence and pond that they can eat. Could you suggest anything. What about Gogi Berry Plants? Please help.

ANSWER:

Since our focus and expertise are with plants native to North America, we would not recommend Goji berry (Lycium barbarum or Lycium chinense) since both or native to Asia.  Swans will eat a variety of aquatic plants and algae according to TheSwanSanctuary.org and AvianWeb.com.  They prefer eating in the water so submerged and emergent plants are what you are looking for.   They will also eat grasses and plants that grow on the damp shoreline.  You can do a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database to find aquatic plants native to Virginia by selecting "Virginia" from the Select State or Province option, "Herb" from Habit (general appearance) and "Wet - soil is saturated with water" from Soil moisture.  To find appropriate grasses, substitute "Grass/grass-like" for "Herb" in the search.  Here are some recommendations from that search, but you can also do the search yourself for other possibilities.

Nymphoides aquatica (Big floatingheart)

Lemna minor (Common duckweed)

Justicia americana (American water-willow)

Eriocaulon aquaticum (Common pipewort)

Hydrocotyle umbellata (Manyflower marshpennywort)

Najas guadalupensis (Common water nymph)

Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed)

Potamogeton nodosus (Knotty pondweed)

Sagittaria latifolia (Broadleaf arrowhead)

Utricularia gibba (Bladderwort)

Vallisneria americana (American eelgrass)

Juncus effusus (Common rush)

Andropogon glomeratus (Bushy bluestem)

Carex stipata (Owlfruit sedge)

Rhynchospora colorata (Starrush whitetop)

Spartina alterniflora (Saltmarsh cordgrass)

You can check on the AvianNet page for plants toxic to birds that you will want to avoid.

 

More Water Gardens Questions

Plants for NY wetland yard
April 30, 2011 - We have standing water in our yard for the entire spring and sometimes summer if it's a rainy one. We dug a ditch and found that our yard has a natural spring, which explains a lot. I need to know ...
view the full question and answer

Note on pond over oak roots from Round Rock TX
December 23, 2012 - Thanks very much to Barbara for answering my question about the live oaks - covering parts of their root systems with a pond. Your answer inspired discussion, and we changed our pond plan and moved th...
view the full question and answer

Plants for edge of intermittent stream
July 05, 2009 - I have a friend in Washington DC who is having runoff problems. She is having a drycreek installed. What kind of plants are native to her area that will withstand flash flood and intermittent dry co...
view the full question and answer

Plants for retention ponds in Grand Haven, MI
July 21, 2009 - I am president of a condo association. We have three retention ponds on the property. From two of them we pump water for irrigation so the water level goes up and down. We are going to try to stabiliz...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for a pond in MO
September 10, 2011 - I have a spring fed pond in Missouri and would like to plant perennial wildflowers in the area around it. Are there any that would do better or others that are not recommended? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center