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

Monday - May 13, 2013

From: San Francisco, CA
Region: California
Topic: Water Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: How to keep plants alive in a pot beside a patio waterfall.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a waterfall on my patio and I can't keep my plants alive in the flower pot next to waterfall. Is that beacuse of algae produced by waterfall? If so, can you please recommend what type of plants would grow well in that flower pot. I do clean the waterfall to keep the algae at bay. I live in San Francisco, CA, the area does get good afternoon sun. Thanking you in advance for your help with this. Sincerely,

ANSWER:

You don't mention the kind of plants you have in the pot, but my guess is that the culprit is too much water; not the algae.

To look for some suitable plants for this situation, let me introduce you to our Native Plant Database  which allows you to search for 7,371 native plants by scientific or common name, or choose a particular family of plants. Scroll down to our Recommend Species Lists and click on View Recommend Species page. Click on Northern California on the map, and you will get a list of 286 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in California.  The Narrow Your Search box on the right side of the screen allows you to search for herbs that may be suited for your patio.  For example, in the box, select: California under State, herb under General Appearance, and perennial under Duration. Check both Sun and Part shade under Light requirement and wet under Soil moisture. Click on the Narrow your Search button, and you will get a  list of 12 native herbs for California that meet these criteria. Clicking on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page which has a description of the plant along with growth characteristics and requirements, and in most cases, photos. As you look through the list, try to match up the plant with your growing conditions.

Here is a previous answer for a question from California that is similar. In your case, the problem seems to be too much water; in the previous question, it is too much shade. I think there is some information you can use here.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Container plants for cool weather in Cypress TX
October 02, 2011 - I am a novice gardener and I am looking for some ideas on potted plants for the fall/winter. They would be covered by a roof, but still susceptible to the elements. What can be planted now that will...
view the full question and answer

Texas sage near a granite outcropping from Llano TX
June 10, 2013 - I have a large granite outcropping near my house. There are pockets that have spring flowers growing in them and is just beautiful in the spring. I want to plant other native plants in and about the g...
view the full question and answer

Need a pretty ground cover to control erosion in Rigdeway, SC.
June 09, 2012 - What is a fast, pretty ground cover blanket to control erosion on steep hill. gets full sun.
view the full question and answer

Need tips for planting wildflower seeds in pots in Edinburg, TX.
July 22, 2012 - Can you give me some tips for starting wildflower seeds in pots or trays, rather than outdoors? Is this even possible? Most instructions I have found are for seeding large areas. I want to get some p...
view the full question and answer

Need plants to fill in spaces where wooden expansion joints were removed in a patio in Seguin, TX
July 11, 2015 - I have removed the rotted wood in the expansion joints in my patio. I would prefer replacing them with some sort of plant. The patio gets partial sunlight.
view the full question and answer

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