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What plants are suitable for a retention basin?

I have a sloped retention basin that gets covered in weeds every summer. I would prefer flowering wild flowers, hardy grasses or some other perennial that would establish year after year.
Last Updated: Jan 16, 2014  |  101 Views

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Dear David:  This is an interesting question as the basin is probably in full sun and can be wet upon occasion.  I have several suggestions and you will have to put in the plants that fit the site the best.  I would put the taller plants further down the embankment and the shorter ones up.  If you google the names, you can see pictures and read the descriptions.

Hibiscus moscheutos gorgeous blooms in the summer.  It gets 4' tall and tolerates dampness

Eupatorium maculatus--Joe Pye Weed.  This is 6-7' tall and tolerates dampness.  Interesting flower head

Aruncus diocus--more shade tolerant than the above.  Plummy white flower.  With flower gets to be 4' tall. 

   Foliage is lower, about 18"  Tolerates moist soil.

Lobelia siphilitica and cardinalis--blue or red flower spike 3' tall.  Narrow plant.  L. siphilitica will reseed in a good way in the basin.  Both tolerate dampness.

Rudbeckia hirta  Black-eyed Susan.  2' tall.  Will reseed around nicely

Any aster.  Fall bloom.  3' tall

Grasses: Some grasses reseed around which may be okay for you, some grasses spread by runners, which also

   maybe okay too.  Read carefully the label for the plant and decide if that particular grass is appropriate.  Some

   are quite tall, some are low and should be placed accordingly.   Two pretty ones are:

   Pennisetum spp.which may reseed around

   Panicum virgatum -- spreads by runners.

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