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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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

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