If you happen to have an area in your garden with soggy conditions and you can’t seem to alter the situation, then look for plants that will work under these circumstances. You can turn your wet, poorly drained location into a colorful showcase with plants that do well under these growing conditions. Here are 12 plants, we have selected that will do well in wet soil.
Bee Balm - Bee Balm is a perennial summer flower that is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9. The most commonly known color of bee balm is red but there are also purple, pink and white varieties. It is somewhat unique in that it does best in areas that get full sun but the soil must be kept moist to maximize its flowering potential. As its name suggests the plant is highly attractive to bees which is beneficial to every garden. It is also a favorite of hummingbirds. If you have a problem with deer in your garden; this may be a good plant for you as the deer tend to leave it alone. While there are varieties of the plant that are less than 2 feet tall most varieties will grow 3 to 6 feet in height. This makes them a good plant for the rear of your border and if they are grown with plants that can support their stems bee balm generally will not require any additional staking. During the summer if you look down the stem below the flowers you can see side shoots develop. If you remove the spent flowers another wave of smaller blooms will follow.
Blue Camassia – Blue Camassia is a Native American perennial that has star-shaped, blue flowers with yellow anthers and a green center. This plant does best when grown in moist, fertile soil in full sun to partial sunlight. Unlike most bulbs, it prefers the moisture. Blooming occurs in late spring to early summer. The plant grows 24-30 inches tall. Once it has bloomed, the plant does not need as much moisture. In their native environment, these bulbs grow in woodland edges and moist meadows. Once planted, they will usually naturalize and bloom for many years. The plant is deer and rodent resistant. Hardiness zones 3 – 8.
Butterfly Weed - Butterfly Weed is a North American native plant also known as Asclepias Tuberosa. It is a perennial plant with clustered orange or yellow flowers. As its name indicates it is a favorite flower for Butterflies but it also attracts hummingbirds and bees throughout the blooming season. The small flowers are nectar and pollen-rich and bloom June to August. Butterfly weed plants spread by way of seeds, which are released from large pods in early autumn. Butterfly weed is easy to grow and thrives in bright sunlight. The plant is drought tolerant and does well in even in poor, dry soil.
Calla Lily – Calla Lilies have trumpet-like shapes and bloom in an array of colors. Calla Liles like to be planted in partial to full sun and need to be watered regularly. A partially shaded area is best. They look great in a flower bed or as a border and can be grown in containers too. They also can be grown indoors. They are fairly easy to grow and do not need a lot of attention. Plant them in the spring for summer blooms. They will need to be kept moist during the growing season. After they bloom you can withhold water. If you live in a cooler climate they would be considered an annual and need to be dug up. These long-lasting flowers are great for cutting and using in a bouquet.
Canna - Add a tropical flair to your garden with Cannas. This plant has large leaves and spikes of bright red, yellow, orange, or pink flowers. Some varieties can grow up to 8 feet but there are new dwarf varieties that grow 2 to 3 feet tall. When planting Cannas it is important that the soil be consistently moist. Use mulch to help keep the soil moist and plant them at a depth of 5 to 6 inches. Cannas thrive in locations that receive full sun for most of the day but they will tolerate some afternoon shade. Cannas bloom 8 to 12 weeks after they are planted which means in most places they bloom later in the summer through the fall. New colors are being bred each year and they come in variations of yellow, red, pink and orange.
Cardinal Flower – Cardinal Flower is also known as Lobelia cardinalis. It is a native wildflower perennial that will grow up to 4 feet and has vibrant red flowers. Each flower has three lower petals and two upper petals. The plant will bloom in the late summer. The leaves on the plant are lance-shaped. It is often found in wet areas including swamps. It is mainly pollinated by the ruby-red hummingbird. The plant requires rich, deep soil which should remain relatively moist year round. Use mulch to keep it moist if necessary.
Creepy Jenny - Creeping Jenny is an evergreen groundcover that thrives in damp soil conditions. Its green foliage can take on a yellow hue in bright sunny conditions and it also produces yellow flowers in the summer. It will do well in partial shade and generally not bothered by pests or diseases. It can also be used in pots where it will spill over the edges of the container or weave itself in between other plants. Once established it requires little care but it can be invasive in some areas so give it lots of room to spread!
Elephant Ears - Elephant ears are an ornamental plant. They are grown for their striking foliage. They range in color from green to purple to black. Some of the new varieties are Black Magic, Antiquorum Illustris, and Black Coral. The strength of the color is often dependent upon the sunlight the plant receives but what really makes this plant a standout is the size of its leaves. Many foliage plants prefer shady conditions but not this plant. It prefers full sun, although it can tolerate light shade and grows best in damp even bog-like soil. As a result, they are a good choice for areas around ponds and other moist areas that can sometimes be challenging to gardeners.
Hardy Hibiscus – When people think of Hibiscus they often think of a tropical plant, but there is a hardy version that is just as attractive. Hardy Hibiscus has large blooms that come in colors from pink to red to white. The colorful flowers can grow to have a 10-12 inch diameter. The plant is a slow grower, but once it blooms in the late summer it will continue until frost arrives. The plant can grow to 5 feet tall and gets quite wide, filling up your garden. The flowers only last one or two days but bloom continuously, so you always have blooms. Although hardy hibiscus prefers moist soil, it also can withstand extended drought, making it an easy-care perennial flower for sunny sites. Hardiness zones 4 – 10.
Obedient Plant - Obedient Plant is an herbaceous perennial plant that grows up to 4' tall. The plant is also known as False Dragonhead, which probably comes from it looking like a Snapdragon. The tubular flowers come in lavender, pink, purple, and white and often have dots, fine stripes, or swirls of a slightly darker color. The flowers grow along with spikes, in four neat vertical rows. They begin to open from the bottom up. The flowers are unscented. These plants are hardy from zones 3 to 10. They prefer full sun but also do well in partial shade, especially during dry summers. Obedient Plants bloom in late summer and continue well into the fall. This plant spreads aggressively, so be careful. They are easy enough to pull. Make sure you do this before they seed.
Siberian Iris – Siberian Iris is a genus of Iris that will grow in shallow standing water or poorly drained soil. This sophisticated plant has grass-like leaves and a tall stem with slender blossoms, which are the real attraction to the plant. They do not have a beard. The flowers are often violet-blue to blue and sometimes white. Siberian Irises are not actually from Siberia. They originate from northern Italy across Turkey and into southeastern Russia. Siberian Iris can be one of the easiest Irises to grow in temperate gardening zones. A mature plant can have more than 20 stems at once and will bloom from late April to early summer.
Spiderwort - Spiderwort is another great, low maintenance, native North American perennial. The flowers on this plant come in blue, pink, purple and white. The bright flowers have three petals and only open for one day. Spiderwort blooms in the spring and summer from May to July. The plants have graceful foliage, multiple easily, and are a great companion plant to many flowers. They will grow from 12 – 24 inches and spread up to 36 inches. They should be divided when they reach 36 inches. The plant does well in full sun as well as part shade. They prefer to be planted in saturated, well-drained soil. The plant is hardy in zones 4 – 8.
Let us know if any of these plants have worked for you under these conditions or if you have any plants you have grown in wet soil, that have worked well for you!