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 Wildlife Gardens Questions

Plants to prevent erosion in IL
August 02, 2012 - We just got done building a house and have leveled all of the dirt piles. We do have a row of straw bales to help prevent the dirt from washing onto the neighbors property. It is the wrong time of ye...
view the full question and answer

From hay to meadow
August 31, 2004 - I have just acquired a 90 acre farm in the Hudson River Valley and would like to turn some hay fields into natural meadows. One, for example is 20 acres, and has been let go to weed (goldenrod, thistl...
view the full question and answer

hummingbird attractants
May 03, 2012 - I live in Baytown, Texas and am looking for a variety of plants that attract Hummingbirds, but are also pet friendly. I have two dogs, so this is a major concern. I am putting the plants in my backyar...
view the full question and answer

Establishing wildflowers on a slope in Virginia
August 18, 2012 - From Roanoke Virginia. I have a steep bank rising from one side of my driveway to woods above. Different areas vary from full sun, to half day shade. It is possible to carefully walk/stand on it, we a...
view the full question and answer

Non-toxic plants for dog yard from Freeport PA
June 24, 2012 - I'm looking for wildlife-friendly native plants that aren't toxic to dogs. I have a place for some small shrubs and/or flowers. And a climbing vine that I could train on a trellis would work espec...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center