Rain gardens are strategically designed to soak up stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces such as pavement. As such, the type of vegetation utilized in rain gardens is crucial to their success. Native plants are preferred for use in rain gardens as these require the least maintenance, having already adapted to regional climatic patterns and rely on local insects. Additionally, native plants are recommended species for bioswales and ecological landscaping.
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center disseminates information regarding the conservation and sustainable use of native plants in North America. Additionally, this resource provided by the University of Texas at Austin provides a list of plants native to different discrete geographic regions, their physical characteristics and growing conditions.
Native plant species suitable for rain gardens and other landscapes in Massachusetts include orange milkweed, cherry birch and blue mistflower (pictured below), along with over 100 other wildflower and tree species.
To access the full list of native plants recommended for landscaping in Massachusetts visit: http://www.wildflower.org/plants/combo.php?distribution=MA&habit=&duration=