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
1 rating

Sunday - November 17, 2013

From: Everett, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Watering
Title: Plants for science fair project using greywater
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What kind of plants should we use for our science fair project.We are doing our project on how greywater affects plant growth. We saw your answer on how it affects it but we don't know what type of plants to use. Also where could we get grey water.

ANSWER:

Since you will be doing an experiment you will need to control as many of the variables as possible between treated plants.  I assume you will be treating some of your plants with greywater and some with fresh water.  That means that you would need plants of a similar size and species growing in (as closely as you can achieve it) identical environments—e.g., sun, shade, wind exposure, soils, container size).  At this time of year you will probably be growing your plants indoors with growlights and controlled temperatures.  Just be sure that all plants are growing under the same conditions so that the only thing that is varying is the type of water you use on them.  I don't know how long you have to complete your experiment but my guess is that you don't have time to grow them from seed.  My suggestion is to go to a local nursery that specializes in native plants (our focus and expertise are with plants native to North America) and see what they have available.  Choose similar-sized plants in similar sized-containers.  You probably want several plants of at least one species so that you can compare greywater with fresh water treatment using several plants for each treatment.  You may want to use more than one species depending on your experimental plan.  I don't know what native plants might be available in Massachusetts at this time of year, but you can visit our National Suppliers Directory to find nurseries near you that carry native plants.

You are going to have to do research in your area to find a source of greywater.   Most established homes have been designed to empty their greywater sources (e.g., showers, clotheswashers, dishwashers) into the sewer line or into septic tanks.   Some houses with septic tanks, however, often drain their washers (both clothes and dish) into separate drain fields, but I have no good way to locate them in your area. 

Be sure to read the answers and the links on the page of this previous Mr. Smarty Plants question about greywater and the links on this previous question as well.

 

More Watering Questions

Possible freeze damage in Wax Myrtle from last winter in Bastrop, TX
July 25, 2011 - Our Wax Myrtle is about 7 yrs old and in good shape until this past winter when we had several very hard freezes. Now several of the large branches are dead and more are dying each month. We have not ...
view the full question and answer

Red sister Cordyline problems in Brownsville TX
July 27, 2010 - I bought a Red Sister Cordyline plant but once the leaves grow they dry from the ends.
view the full question and answer

Possumhaw losing leaves in Liberty Hill, TX.
July 11, 2011 - I have two female possumhaw trees and one of them is losing its leaves. I planted both of them in February and they were doing very well, getting green and full. What's happening?
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Cherokee sedge in Spicewood, TX
May 18, 2009 - I have several Cherokee sedges, just planted in March. Three of them are doing fine, but the rest look like they're dying. Some are right next to one that is doing great. Any ideas?
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in Chestnut Oak in Waukesha WI
September 13, 2009 - Bought and had nursery install a 4" diameter, 16' tall chestnut oak. Watered it as instructed-every 2nd or third day-hose stream size of my pinky for 45-60 minutes. It was planted in July. Just l...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center