Pine Ridge Gardens

Plants for Wetlands

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Thoughts on ponds, large or small!

Wetlands are a very important vanishing part of the ecology of the U. S.  Many frogs, toads, salamanders, dragonflies, damselflies, diving beetles and other critters need a wet area to survive and reproduce.

Frogs, toads & salamanders usually lay their eggs as gelatinous masses in water. Taking anywhere from 3 to 25 days to hatch, they then swim in the water until all legs have developed and they lose their tail.    Then they come out on dry land; while toads spend most of their life on dry ground, frogs go back & forth from wet areas.

Dragonflies & damselflies also lay their eggs on the water.  The larvae (called naiades), can live in water for up to 5 years (more like 1 year) before reaching the final life stage of a dragonfly. Dragonfly larvae shed their exoskelton several times before reaching adult size.  They crawl out of the water to do this so it helps to have some grasslike plant protruding out of the water for them to climb. 

 Despite some trivia that is passed around, dragonflies live as adults about 3 weeks, sometimes more, sometimes less. Regardless of their life span, they bring a joy to the summer and fall garden that cannot be replaced by any other creature.

YOU can create a Water Feature in your garden.  It need not be large .... it need not be very deep.  A sunken dishpan, a small excavated area with a rubber liner; or a larger, more ambitious project can be home for toads, dragonflies, frogs & many other water loving critters.

A few small rocks placed in the bottom of the container, one or two plants (if it is a small container), add water and you have a water feature.  .  The smaller the container, the more often you need to add water. Do not let it dry out!  Choose a sedge or rush as one of your plants.  In almost all cases, if you provide the habitat, some critters will come to it and make a home.  I find that children are very fascinated by the tadpoles and other creatures that show up in pools.

Following is a List of Plants that love moisture.  Some are tolerant of wet feet.  Some plants cannot exist without wet feet, but like to be on the edge of a pond.  Others actually want to be in the water continuously, then there are those plants that tolerate seasonal flooding.  Finally, many of the plants listed will do very well in ordinary garden soil. 

Plants for damp or wet places
Botanical name Common name Damp Pond's edge Standing water
Alnus serrulata River alder X X  
Amorpha fruticosa Leadplant X X  
Ampelopsis cordata Heart leaf peppervine X X  
Amsonia illustris Shining blue star X X  
Aralia racemosa American spikenard X    
Aristolochia macrophylla Bigleaf pipevine X (shade)    
Aristolochia tomentosa Dutchman's pipevine X (shade)    
Aronia melanocarpa Black chokeberry X X  
Asclepias exaltata Poke milkweed X    
Asclepias incarnata Swamp milkweed X X  
Asclepias perennis Swamp milkweed X X  
Asclepias sullivantii Sullivan's milkweed X    
Asimina triloba Paw Paw X (shade)    
Aster puniceus v. firmus Bog aster X X  
Betula nigra River birch X X  
Carex grayi Morning star sedge X (shade)     
Carex hystricina Porcupiine sedge X X X
Carex lurida Lurid sedge X X X
Carex muskingumensis Palm sedge X X X
Carex riparia Riparian sedge X X X
Carex stipata Awl fruited sedge X X X
Carex vulpinoides Fox sedge X X X
Cephalanthus occidentalis Button bush X X X
Clethra alnifolia Summersweet X (shade)    
Cornus amomum Swamp dogwood X X  
Cornus obliqua Silky dogwod X X  
Cornus racemosa Gray dogwood X X  
Corylus americana American hazelnut X X  
Crinum americanum Bog lily X X  
Dioscorea villosa Wild yam vine X (shade)    
Eupatorium maculatum Joe Pye Weed X    
Hamamelis vernalis Vernal witch hazel X X  
Helianthus angustifolius Narrowleaf sunflower X X  
Hibiscus coccineus Texas star hibiscus X X  
Hibiscus laevis Hibiscus X X  
Hibiscus lasiocarpus Hibiscus X X  
Hydrangea arborescens Wild Hydrangea X (shade)    
Ilex verticillata Winterberry holly X X  
Iris brevicaulis Zig-zag stem iris X X X
Iris fulva Copper iris X X
Iris prismatica Cubeseed iris X X X
Iris pseudacorus Swamp iris X X X
Iris versicolor Swamp iris X X X
Iris virginica Southern blue flag X X X
Itea virginica Virginia sweetspire X X  
Juncus effusus Soft rush X X X
Juncus ensifolius Iris leaved rush X X  
Lindera benzoin Spicebush X (shade) X (shade)  
Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal flower X X  
Lobelia silphitica Blue cardinal flower X X  
Magnolia tripetala Umbrella magnolia X (shade)    
Magnolia virginiana Sweet bay magnolia X X  
Marshallia grandiflora Barbara's buttons X X  
Peltandra virginica Bog arum X X  
Physocarpus opulifolius Ninebark X X  
Pontedaria cordata Pickerel weed   X X
Sagittaria lancifolia Duck potato     X
Sagittaria latifolia Duck potato     X
Salvia uliginosa Bog sage X    
Saururus cernuus Lizard Tail X X X
Senecio aureus Golden ragwort X (Shade) X (shade)  
Sium suave Water parsnip X X X
Solidago gigantea Late goldenrod X    
Solidago glomerata Goldenrod X X  
Solidago ridelii Ridell's goldenrod X X  
Sparatina pectinata Prairie cordgrass X X  
Thalia dealbata Powdery thalia   X
Typha latifolia cattails   X X
Vernonia missurica Missouri ironweed X    
Leopard Frog
Contact Information

Pine Ridge Gardens
832 Sycamore Road,
P O Box 200
London, AR 72847
Phone (479) 293-4359
Fax   (479) 293-4659