Selecting the Right Plants for the Right Places

Homeowners often select native plants to grow in their rain gardens. Indiana native plant species are commonly grown in rain gardens because of their adaptation to the local climate, soils, and many species exhibit drought tolerance and disease resistance. Many native plant species attract wildlife by providing nectar, food, and shelter. Likewise, native prairie species tend to have profound and extensive root systems making them excellent choices for rain gardens. These deep root systems allow for infiltration and percolation of water moving through the soil. The deep roots help these plants survive the hot Indiana summers and create root channels that help water drain from the rain garden. Although, native plants are usually recommended for use in rain gardens, homeowners are not limited to just native plant species. Non-native horticultural plant species will grow well in rain gardens. Regardless of whether native or non-native plants are chosen, homeowners should consider the following factors when selecting plants for a rain garden:

  • Moisture tolerance
  • Light requirement
  • Plant size and growth habit
  • Plant growth rate (Don’t choose invasive plants)
  • Seasonal interest
  • Salt tolerance
  • Selections for wildlife habitat

 

Source: Schmidt, R., Shaw, D., & Dods, D. (2007). The Blue Thumb Guide to Raingardens: Design and Installation for Homeowners in the Upper Midwest