En Español

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

Scouringrush horsetail
Equisetum hyemale var. affine

American water-willow
Justicia americana

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Dwarf crested iris
Iris cristata

Missouri violet
Viola sororia

More Water Gardens Questions

Plants to replace Phragmites australis (Common reed) in Cedar Ridge Preserve
February 25, 2015 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in the DFW area and volunteer at a preserve (Cedar Ridge). We are constantly battling the common reed, Phragmites australis, around the pond. I am wondering what shou...
view the full question and answer

Plants for edge of a field pond in Missouri
June 03, 2010 - I have a 25ft x 50ft field pond in Versailles, MO. What do you suggest for the water's edge plantings so that we might fish over them. Weed eating is eating ME up!
view the full question and answer

Erosion control for edge of artificial lake in California
August 14, 2013 - How about erosion control at the edge of an artificial lake in Southern California? Juncus and ..?
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for a pond in MO
September 10, 2011 - I have a spring fed pond in Missouri and would like to plant perennial wildflowers in the area around it. Are there any that would do better or others that are not recommended? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Propagation information from Queens NY
October 04, 2012 - Hello. I would appreciate information on when to plant the following plants. I found on the USDA website that all these plants could withstand the cold. ALthough they can withstand harsh weather, ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center