The Best Plants for Wet Soil

Turn that damp spot in your garden into an asset with plants that thrive in wet, sticky conditions.
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©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited


Aconitum, monkshood, has hood-shaped flowers that are held on sturdy spikes making it ideal for the mid to back of the garden. It likes cool, moist soil and partial shade.

Marsh Marigold

Marsh marigold, also known as cowslip, is often the first plant to show signs of life in spring. It has bright yellow flowers that usually appear in April. The rounded, green leaves slowly spread to form a mound. It is easy to grow and excellent along water.


Astilbe is found in shade and woodland gardens. They are clump-forming perennials that feature graceful, fernlike mounds with erect to arching, plumelike flower panicles rising above foliage on slender, upright stems.


Loosestrife is a perennial yellow blooming plant whose natural habitat is damp grassland or woodland, often near water.


With nodding white flowers with a sweet, soft fragrance, snowdrops are some of the earliest flowers to appear after a long winter. They love rich, moist soil.

Joe-Pye Weed

Eutrochium purpureum, Joe-Pye weed, is a tall perennial that grows naturally in low, moist ground, wooded slopes, wet meadows and stream margins. Tiny, vanilla-scented, pinkish-purple flowers bloom in midsummer and are attractive to butterflies.


Sedge is a clump-forming, evergreen perennial commonly grown in wet soil. Gracefully arching stems grow to 6 feet that feature delicate, dangling flower spikes.

Fishbone Cotoneaster

Fishbone cotoneaster produces deep green leaves and pink to white flowers, followed by red berries in the fall. Its blooms attract pollinators and birds eat the fruits. Plant the small shrubs in mass for an year-round groundcover.


Columnar perennials with large, bell shaped flowers opening from bottom to top, foxgloves are garden classics. They make good mass plantings and look best when set against a background such as a fence, wall, or wooded area.

Bee Balm

Bee balm, also known as bergamot, is an aromatic herb bearing scarlet flower heads arrayed in loose clusters that look like fireworks. It is an easy-care, fast-spreading perennial that is tolerant of many soil types, but grows best in rich, moist but well-drained soil and full sun. As the name suggests, bermagot's sweet flowers are attractive to bees, butterflies and other pollinators — they also make a great cup of tea!

White Quamash

Quamash is loved for its tall spires of cream-colored flowers, nearly a pale yellow color. It grows naturally in moist, open habitats, often wet meadows.


Rodgersias are extremely handsome plants primarily grown for their foliage. They need moist soil with plenty of organic matter mixed in and afternoon shade. Pink flowers appear from mid- to late summer and can be left to dry on the plant for autumn interest.


Aruncus dioicus. commonly known as goatsbeard or salsify, has large, fine-textured, feathery blooms that appear in late spring. Goatsbeard can be a formidable garden plant, reaching a spread of 6 feet or more. It is lovely when used at woods edge and it can provide a dense screen.


Bugleweed is an excellent spreading groundcover featuring colorful foliage that ranges from shades of deep purple to dark green to red, depending on the cultivar. 'Burgundy Glow' features maroon-tinged, pale green and cream variegated foliage and deep blue flower spikes


These gorgeous tropicals are known for their oversized, colorful leaves — their bright summer flowers are an added bonus. Cannas are tolerant of even problem soils as long as they are well-watered. Most varieties are hardy from zones 8 to 10, so grow them in pots if you're in a lower zone and bring them in for the winter.

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