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

Friday - June 28, 2013

From: Virginia Beach, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Wildflowers
Title: Wet adapted plants for Virginia Beach VA
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I live in Virginia Beach, VA on Lynnhaven waterway (leads into Chesapeake bay, but at my point is more brackish). I've recently removed/contained bamboo with concrete and metal barriers and now want to put some plants into the very moist dirt along side of water. There is riprap and a bulkhead, but it's not a dry area, as there's some water draining down from the yard that keeps this area moist. What plants would you recommend? I prefer flowering. Someone recommended pitcher plants and marsh marigolds as well as other "pond plants". Help. Thank you.

ANSWER:

Mr Smarty Plants took a deep dive into the archives to look for an answer to your question [and only part of that was napping!]

Your friends suggestions aren't bad.  Caltha palustris (Yellow marsh marigold) has a pleasant flower and grows well in wet environments.  Sarracenia purpurea (Purple pitcherplant) is also well adapted, but doesn't strike me as the optimal yard plant.

 My general approach to finding good suggestions is to review questions that have come my way before [and their answers!] and to compare those to the suggestions of the Wildflower Centers “Recommended Species” list for Virginia.  Your request though – Is for plants that thrive in a wet environment [which might even include salt water] and are preferably flowering. That full combination has not come up before!

There were a number of questions that looked at wet or fully aquatic plants:
Riverbank retention in VA  
Plants for wet soil in turtle enclosure in Virginia  
Planting times for aquatic plants from Winston Salem NC 
Retention pond from Hendersonville NC  
Native plants for restoring a North Carolina pond site 

And I was lucky enough to find a little bit of information to help sort out which are better in a salty environment:
Salt and wind tolerant plants for small containers in NC 
Salt tolerant plants for Long Beach   
Plants for property in Connecticut adjacent to a salt marsh

Using all of these suggestions, and then tying them back to the recommended species list for Virginia and checking out the blooms gives these suggestions [and a lot of information above for you to consider if you’d like to continue this chain of thought].

Flowers that made both the wetland recommendations and the Virginia "Recommended Species" list include:    Phlox divaricata (Wild blue phlox) and  Viburnum dentatum (Southern arrowwood) 

Well suited plants, from the wetland recommendations include:
Groundcovers:   Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit), Dichondra carolinensis (Carolina ponysfoot), Fragaria vesca (Woodland strawberry)
Flowering Herbs: Viola cucullata (Blue marsh violet), Iris virginica var. shrevei (Shreve's iris), Limonium carolinianum (Carolina sealavender), Solidago sempervirens (Seaside goldenrod), Teucrium canadense (Canada germander)Phlox paniculata (Fall phlox), and Vaccinium corymbosum (Highbush blueberry),

 

From the Image Gallery


Wild blue phlox
Phlox divaricata

Southern arrowwood
Viburnum dentatum

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Woodland strawberry
Fragaria vesca

Fall phlox
Phlox paniculata

Marsh blue violet
Viola cucullata

More Shrubs Questions

Non-native dwarf palm leaves yellowing in Katy TX
March 30, 2013 - 1 month ago we planted dwarf palms, the leaves are turning yellow, does this mean we are over watering them? If so how much water do they require? Is there anything we can give them? We also have a fa...
view the full question and answer

Selection of a small variety of Desert Willow for SE Texas
August 02, 2011 - Looking to plant desert willow as shrub. Any helpful tips to keep height down and plant full or bushy.
view the full question and answer

When does Ziziphus obtusifolia leaf and flower in Austin?
March 22, 2010 - Hello Mr. S.P., Do you know when the Texas buckthorn, Ziziphus obtusifolia (I believe), flowers (and leafs out) in Austin? Is there one at the Wildflower Center?
view the full question and answer

Protection of American beautyberry in Pennsylvania
July 30, 2007 - I have had a beauty berry 2 years now. I trim it back in early spring and it returns beautifully. ...but no flowers this year and it's almost August. Last year, very few berries. Can you help? I...
view the full question and answer

Brown leaves on possumhaw holly in Grandview TX
July 02, 2009 - What would be likely causes for brown leaves on possumhaw holly? We have 2, one was planted in spring 2008, and a slightly larger one planted late winter/early spring this year. Most of the leaves a...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center