Stormwater Pond Planting Zone Terminology 


Different states - and different designers within the states - use different terms to describe stormwater ponds and their planting zones.   


Stormwater Ponds (a.k.a.  Wet Detention Ponds, Retention Basins, Wet Detention Basins, Wet Ponds) typically  have gently sloping planting areas around their perimeters.  Such areas are called:

  • Vegetated Shelves
  • Planting Shelves
  • Littoral Shelves
  • Aquatic Benches 


If part of the planting area extends above water but floods during storms it may be called:

  • Shallow Land (North Carolina)
  • Temporary Inundation Zone (North Carolina)
  • Zone 3 (Virginia, Charlotte-Mecklenburg NC)
  • Shoreline Fringe (Virginia)
  • Regularly Inundated Area (Virginia)
  • High Marsh (South Carolina; only the upper half applies)

We call plants that like these regularly, but not normally, flooded areas Shallow Land Plants.



The planting area that normally contains standing water up to 6" deep may be called:

  • Shallow Water (North Carolina)
  • High Marsh (Virginia and South Carolina; in South Carolina only the lower half applies)
  • Zone 2 (Virginia, Charlotte-Mecklenburg NC; but only the part that extends from the shoreline down 6") 

We call plants that like to be planted in water up to 6" deep Shallow Water Plants.  



A planting area that is covered by more than 6" of water under normal conditions is often called:

  • Deep Pool (North Carolina, Virginia)
  • Zone 1 (Virginia, Charlotte-Mecklenburg NC) 
  • Zone 2 (Virginia, Charlotte-Mecklenburg NC; but only the part that extends more than 6" below water under normal conditions)
  • Micropool (Virginia) 
  • Deep Water Zones (South Carolina)

In our experience the only plants that can regularly survive being planted in water more than 6" deep under normal conditions are the Deep Pool plants.



 Solidago sempervirens

Because the terminology varies so much, it is important to look at the site plan and match the plant lists to the planting zones.


At Wetland Plants Inc. we color code the labels on our plants so you always know what water conditions each species needs.