Plants That Like Wet Soil

If you can't divert accumulating water, consider Plan B -- install plants that don't mind getting wet feet from time to time.
Related To:
Yellow Flag Iris

Yellow Flag Iris

Q: We want to landscape an area that remains wet for a while after each rain. Which plants would be best?

ANSWER:

If there's nothing that you can do to alter the soggy conditions, then you need plants that don't mind the muck. 

Wet soil can mean the death of many landscape plants — due not only to excess water but also to lack of oxygen. Plants that can't tolerate such conditions usually die of suffocation.

Improving drainage in the area is always a plus; consider installing a French drain, a wet-weather bed or raised beds. If none of those possibilities, choose plants that handle varying degrees of wetness.

If you have an area in your landscape that's occasionally wet but dries reasonably well in a few days, you might consider these perennials, shrubs and trees: astilbe, cardinal flower, sedge, rose mallow, summersweet, hibiscus, European cranberrybush viburnum, leucothoe, fothergilla, inkberry, sweetspire, sweet and swamp azaleas, white spruce and black gum. 

For more serious water issues, these plants that can handle longer submersion. 

Perennials That Can Handle Prolonged Submersion 

blue flag (Iris vericolor)
bog arum(Calla palustris)
cattail (Typha spp.)
cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora)
flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus)
golden club (Orontium aquaticum)
hardy arum (Peltandra virginica)
horsetail (Equisetum hyemale)
Japanese water iris (Iris ensata)
marsh marigold (Caltha palustris)
rush (Juncus spp.)
southern blue flag (Iris virginica)
spike rush (Eleocharis acicularis)
sweet flag (Acorus calamus)
water canna (Canna x generalis)
water iris (Iris laevigata)
yellow flag (Iris pseudacorus)

Shrubs That Can Handle Prolonged Submersion

button bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis )
red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea )
tartarian dogwood ( Cornus alba)
winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria)

Trees That Can Handle Prolonged Submersion

Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides)
baldcypress (Taxodium sp.)
black ash (Fraxinus nigra)
green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)
pear (Pyrus spp.)
pin oak (Quercus palustris)
river birch (Betula nigra)
red maple (Acer rubrum)
swamp tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora)
sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)
water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica)

Keep Reading

Next Up

Tips for Watering Lawns and Gardens

Without adequate water, plants will suffer and eventually die. Supplies can run short as rapidly growing plants draw up moisture from the soil. It's important to know what to water and how.

Watering Lawns and Gardens

Thorough, careful watering encourages deep, drought-resistant roots in your lawn and garden. Follow the steps below to ensure best results.

How to Fertilize Your Lawn and Garden

Learn how adding fertilizer can be beneficial, especially for fruits, veggies and container plants. Fertilizers can also help kick-start growth after planting and reinvigorate plants that have been pruned hard.

Wet Basement Solutions

Learn how to prepare a space that blocks water and moisture with these best practices.

How to Clean a Wet Room

From kitchens and bathrooms to utility rooms, this step-by-step method shows how to apply maximum cleaning power.

How to Improve Garden Soil Quality

Make the most of your garden soil and keep plants thriving with this guide for enriching garden soil with fertilizer and mulch.