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Mr. Smarty Plants - Wet adapted plants for Virginia Beach VA

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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

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