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

Sunday - July 28, 2013

From: Tulsa, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Rain Gardens, Water Gardens, Planting, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Plants for freestanding water in Oklahoma
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I have an overflowing gutter and the ground below becomes a muddy hole. I'd like to put a basin or pot in/or above the ground with a rain chain. Are there any plants--shrubs or otherwise that flourish in freestanding water? If so, would they grow well if I topped the soil with small rocks?

ANSWER:

I am guessing that your problem area has freestanding water part time and mud otherwise.  If you  have a few hours of sun per day in that spot Louisiana iris would be a good choice.  It comes in a variety of nice colors, and the foliage is attractive even if there is not enough sun for good blooming.  Other plants worth considering include Iris virginica (Virginia iris), Iris brevicaulis (Zigzag iris), Equisetum hyemale var. affine (Scouringrush horsetail), Justicia americana (American water-willow), Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower), Iris cristata (Dwarf crested iris) and Viola sororia (Missouri violet).  I'm sure that the Louisiana iris and Scouringrush would do very well in a basin topped with small rocks.  Read the descriptions of the suggested species to see if they grow best under the exact conditions that you have.

These plants may be available at some of your local nurseries.  Here are some images of the suggested plants from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Image Gallery.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Virginia iris
Iris virginica

Zigzag iris
Iris brevicaulis

Scouring-rush horsetail
Equisetum hyemale var. affine

American water-willow
Justicia americana

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Dwarf crested iris
Iris cristata

Missouri violet
Viola sororia

More Rain Gardens Questions

Native plants for rain garden in Collin Co., TX
November 09, 2006 - I am developing a Collin County Master Gardenerís program on Rain Gardens (in particular) and Rain Harvesting (generally.) I saw the recent article in your magazine about rain gardens and wondered if ...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants for bioswales in Philadelphia, PA
August 24, 2015 - Hello, Are there a handful of species you would recommend for inclusion in bioswales throughout the US? I realize plants need to be selected based on climate, but I'm wondering if there are two or...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a bioswale or rain garden
January 06, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, What plants do you recommend for a bioswale or rain garden in Austin, Texas?
view the full question and answer

Growing Texas star hibiscus in Central Texas
August 11, 2014 - Hi there, I purchased a beautiful Texas Star Hibiscus that I want to plant in my yard. Unfortunately, my yard being in Travis Heights, I hit a lot of caliche when digging. To plant some other nativ...
view the full question and answer

Retention pond from Hendersonville NC
April 24, 2012 - We have a retention pond that has recently been cleaned and we would like to plant perennial native plant and grass seeds that will enhance the appearance and contribute to the natural process of filt...
view the full question and answer

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