Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Thursday - June 11, 2015

From: Troy, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Water Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Aquatic Plants for a Small Pond in Missouri
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

We have a small backyard pond (4' x 5' x 2' deep) with a shelf for marginal plants, and a pump that feeds a nice little creek and waterfall into the pond. We don't really want fish, but we'd like to keep the water clean of algae and looking awesome. Can you recommend some plants native to the St. Louis, MO area for such a small backyard pond? Everything I've found online seems to be for larger ponds, or ponds with fish, or includes invasive plants.

ANSWER:

Try a search through the Native Plant Database on the www.wildflower.org website. Select Missouri, herbaceous, perennial, full sun and wet to get a decent list of terrestrial, marshy, bog and pond plants to review. You can tame some of the more vigorous plants by keeping them in a container on your pond shelf.

Some native aquatic plants to consider include:

Alisma subcordatum (American water plantain)
Asclepias perennis (Aquatic milkweed)

Caltha palustris (Yellow marsh marigold)

Decodon verticillatus (Swamp loosestrife)

Justicia americana (American water-willow)

Ludwigia palustris (Marsh seedbox)

Potamogeton nodosus (Knotty pondweed)

Sagittaria latifolia (Broadleaf arrowhead)

Utricularia gibba (Bladderwort)

Lastly the Missouri Department of Conservation have an article on Water Gardening online  by John Whitley that discusses using native plants. There might be some cultural tips there that will help.

 

From the Image Gallery


American water plantain
Alisma subcordatum

White swamp milkweed
Asclepias perennis

Yellow marsh marigold
Caltha palustris

Swamp loosestrife
Decodon verticillatus

American water-willow
Justicia americana

American water-willow
Justicia americana

Marsh seedbox
Ludwigia palustris

Knotty pondweed
Potamogeton nodosus

Broadleaf arrowhead
Sagittaria latifolia

Broadleaf arrowhead
Sagittaria latifolia

Humped bladderwort
Utricularia gibba

Humped bladderwort
Utricularia gibba

More Plant Lists Questions

Central Texas flowers suitable for cutting from Leander TX
October 29, 2011 - Please suggest Central TX native flowers that would be especially suitable for a "cutting garden" for interior arrangements.
view the full question and answer

Specifying sizes of plants for pond edge plantings in Austin area
December 19, 2014 - I am working on a list of pond edge plantings for the Austin area that will be in the fluctuation zone and I have my list of my plants but I need to know how to spec the sizes and to make sure my list...
view the full question and answer

Plants for church gardens in Ft. Worth TX
November 07, 2013 - Second attempt. Our church has many gardens in Fort Worth, TX. There are gardens for blue,red,yellow,white,purple,orange,pink,mixed,community garden,roses, and more. I am interested in the la...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrub for northwest-facing wall
June 09, 2012 - Can you suggest a tall (8-10') evergreen shrub for a site against a northwest-facing wall which gets no sun in the winter but full sun in the summer? Texas sage got too leggy and viburnum will be to...
view the full question and answer

Windbreak [Dustbreak] for Shelton, WA
May 31, 2013 - I live on a well traveled, dusty, gravel road in the Pacific North West and would like to plant a barrier to help control the dust.
view the full question and answer

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