Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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

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

Perennial native plant to attract butterflies/hummingbirds
January 24, 2013 - Need 3-6 foot perennial native plant to attract butterflies/hummingbirds in Paris Texas...full sun, with sprinkler system
view the full question and answer

Duck-resistant plants for pond in California
March 31, 2005 - I want to plant around a water pond and I need some plants that my ducks will not destroy. Please help.
view the full question and answer

Plants that ducks and geese will not eat
March 23, 2009 - Hello, I have a pet duck and goose. Who I love dearly and have built two ponds for.. one 4ft deep the other 6ft deep. The ponds are for their use, first and for most, but I would like to have a plan...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs and small trees for a slope in NY
May 21, 2012 - We are looking for a living wall made of shrubs / small trees - no more than 25' for the top of a steep creek bed. We are looking for the best erosion preventing types.
view the full question and answer

Hummingbird Attracting Plants for Shade in Smithville, TX
March 28, 2012 - I want hummingbird plants for shade.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.