Rain Garden - Knowledgebase Question

Accokeek, MD
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Question by simpii
May 25, 2006
Can you suggest some plants, shrubs that can be used in a rain garden? I am interested in texture as well as color. Interesting, different and beautiful is what I am looking for; basically a

Answer from NGA
May 25, 2006
It sounds to me as though you have an incredibly attractive rain garden already and you only need to enhance things a bit. I usually recommend using native plants in the rain garden - for a number of reasons.

Plants that are native to your area are uniquely adapted to thriving in the local weather, soils, and ecosystems. They have been working at it for years (thousands, in fact). They live through droughts and downpours, and survive the winters without special care. Fertilizer will make them grow bigger, but they grow beautifully without it. Pests munch on them and the plants bounce right back without chemical pesticide sprays. Just think of the reduced chemical load in your yard! Much healthier for you, children and pets.

Native plants also have relationships with local butterflies, insects, birds, animals and other plants that they have developed by living together over thousands of years. Planting natives in your landscape helps provide habitat for local wildlife. How long has it been since your yard was decorated by butterflies and birds?

Native plants are great helpers for protecting water quality in your neighborhood. The deep roots of many established native plants increase the ability of soil to hold water. For example, Blue False Indigo, Baptisia australis, grows only 3-5 feet tall, but the roots may go down 25 feet! These fantastic roots create deep channels in the soil for rain to soak into. Some of the roots die each year, and new roots grow. The decomposing roots enrich soil, making it more fertile and absorbant. The root systems also hold soil together and help prevent erosion.

For photos, plant descriptions and local retailers, visit the following website:

I know you'll find dozens of ideas to help you complete your lovely garden. Enjoy!

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