Help! Need plant suggestions for bog/wet garden ...

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

I am in the process of putting in a lasagna bed for a bog/wet area that is approximately 75' X 4'. I need ideas of plants to put in this long bed. I need plants that like moist soil and wet feet and can also tolerate occassional flooding without getting root rot. This area is almost always mushy when you walk around back there. Which is why I wanted to do a full-length garden. It's a useless area of my yard except for the possibility of being a "wet/bog" garden bed. I am hoping there are some plants that either host or are nectar plants for butterflies and hummingbirds.

I am thinking of putting one of my small container ponds in one small section of the bed. The area gets full sun for at least 6 hours a day, though some of it gets full sun ALL day. There is a large Oak tree that casts shade at different times of the day on part of the garden bed. But for the most part it gets full sun almost all day.

I am hoping some of you can give me some suggestions for plants. I live in zone 9B on the east coast of Florida. I am open to all ideas! I know canna and scarlet hibicus (Texas Star) are good choices and I have some of those plants in pots ready for that area. But I need a LOT more plants.

I have a small "swamp dogwood tree" in the left back corner which I just planted this past spring. It's in the process of getting established. Oddly, it bloomed twice for me. Once in the early spring and again at the end of summer. Go figure. And I have a small Walters Viburnum bush that also blooms a couple times a year in the right back corner of the garden bed. Which leaves about 65' of available wet garden bed to fill in between those 2 back corners.

Does anyone grow Iris?

Here is a photo of the wood edging which I just completed installing. It will be filled in with a layer of cardboard and then dirt/compost on top of that.

Any plant suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

Thumbnail by beckygardener
Columbia, MO(Zone 5b)

Depending on how wet it is here are a few suggestions:

Various Mallows, they look a lot like hibiscus and are beatiful when blooming
Mint will grow anywere
some varieties of elephant ear do very well in wet areas
some varieties of lotus might work in your wettest areas
bog iris - I have a yellow variety that is tough as nails but is very pretty
Bee Balm
Lemon Balm

Some of these can be invasive so you may want to consider that, but at least it is a start!

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Very interesting suggestions, tetleytuna! I didn't know Bee Balm liked wet feet. I am considering the Mallows. Bog Iris .... didn't know there was such a plant. Thanks so much!

Buffalo, WV(Zone 7a)

Papyrus, elephant ears, some daylilies. These come to mind immediately.


Central, LA(Zone 8b)

How about Iris & parrots feather.

Niceville, FL(Zone 8b)

I was thinking about what I have in the top part of my pond, which stays wet. Horsetail reed, elephant ears, marsh marigold, canna, iris, white butterfly ginger,variegated iris, papyrus.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

I have some yellow water iris I could send you. Have to check weather or not I can send them to Fl. They are invasive. I love the Tropical Cannas beautiful color on the leaves and flowers. If you want something big and green take a look at these Gunneras. In this picture they are growing in a stream under trees. I'm not sure if they need shade or not but I loved the picture.

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Wvdaisy - Dwarf Papyrus is very attractive but is listed as invasive in Florida. (Though I could pot it and keep it from spreading. Nice plant.) I'm not sure about the Elephant Ear plant. Googled info says to plant in a well-drained area. Do you happen to know which daylilies like bog areas? I love daylilies and didn't know there were any that liked wet feet! I would love to add some to this garden!!!

jeri11 - Unfortunately, Parrot's Feather is considered invasive here in Florida. (But it is an attractive and delicate looking plant. Thanks for the suggestion.) I love the look of Iris, but .....

I am hearing that many Iris plants can also be invasive. Do you or anyone know of varieties that are not invasive? I really would like to add some to my bog garden.

rylaff - Horsetail reed looks interesting. I have 2 small container ponds and might use that plant in one or both of them. So your Elephant Ears grows in a bog area? Internet search says to plant in well-drained area. Yours is actually in a bog/wet area? I am looking into white butterfly ginger, iris, and dwarf papyrus. I did a google on Marsh Marigolds and really like the looks of that plant! Never knew there was such a plant. Thank you for those suggestions.

This message was edited Dec 29, 2006 9:07 AM

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

HollyAnnS - I want to avoid any invasive plants, but ...... I would love a yellow iris. I wonder if it could be put in a pot and grown in a small container pond? Would a pot keep it from spreading?

That photo of the Gunneras is awesome! I doubt my narrow bog garden is big enough for something like that, but it sure is an unusual plant! I am really looking to garden with smaller plants that are not invasive. My intentions for this bog garden is for butterflies, birds (hummers), and bees. I know that canna, swamp milkweed, Joe Pye Weed, White Butterfly Ginger, possibly the Marsh Marigolds would be attractant plants for these creatures.

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions so far. Makes me wish I had a few acreas with a large pond on it! All the plant suggestions are just great!

Buffalo, WV(Zone 7a)

The Marsh Marigold should work well in you situation. Even potted the yellow iris would burst out and take over unless you repotted at least annually, in your zone maybe more often than that. I have orange ditchlilies(daylilies), and a rusty orange color daylily that are in a very wet hosta bed here. I'm not sure how to find out what other daylilies do well with wet feet.

I had several elephant ears in my pond last summer, one that comes to mind right away is 'Illustrus'. It did very well.


(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Lana - I hit the daylily forum to ask about bog daylilies and everyone that has posted so far says that there are none. I wonder what variety you have? Are they possibly fulva Kwanso known as the common ditchlily? They are absolutely beautiful! Though they say they are a bit invasive. But you know what .... I might consider them anyway. They are so pretty! No seeds though. I'll have to purchase tubers from a nursery.

How big does your Elephant Ear get? Height and spread?

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

If you want the Orange Lilly's I have plenty . D-mail me. Holly

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

HolluAnnS - You have dmail. :-)

Buffalo, WV(Zone 7a)

yes, the common ditch lily is one of them, the other is a darker color. I wouldn't buy any, there will be plenty for trade or postage on here I'm sure! I also have one that doesn't grow very high but has a reddish bloom. Mom has grown it in her bog for years. I grew it shallow in the pond last summer.


(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Lana - Any chance of posting an old photo here of the reddish shorter lily? I'd love to see what that one looks like!

Niceville, FL(Zone 8b)

I have both colocasias and xanthosomas. My colocasias adore having wet feet. They get big like that!!!! I have them in the upper pond where they sit in water. I have them in the pond and I have them in a bog. They do great. The xanthasomas do not do so well. Stick with the colocasias and they will be very happy and will grow big and multiply. The white butterfly gingers do great in my upper pond. They sit in the water and are very happy like that. The horsetail reed is awesome but very invasive.

Buffalo, WV(Zone 7a)

Becky, I know I have some good pics of that daylily but it's locked in my old puter and until I can afford to get it fixed so I can remove my hundreds of pics we're out of luck...wait, I'll see of I have a pic of it in my DG journal!

Yep, here it is


(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

rylaff - I love the look of the colocasias but am thinking it might be just a wee too big for my garden area. Though, I understand that there might be a dwarf version?

Lana - Your red lily is gorgeous! I see that you marked the entry as unknown variety. So this daylily actually grows in a wet area, correct? How is it on spreading? I'm very interested to know more. :-)

When I posted on the Daylily Forum, one of the members gave me a name and website of a gentleman that actually grows all of his daylilies in pots with them sitting in 2" of water. That way the roots are always wet. He's grown thousands of beautiful daylilies that way. Here's the website:

I emailed him and he said he's been doing it that way for years! Amazing!!! Actually very fascinating. I love daylilies and have success with most of mine. But the ones that don't do so well are actually in a very dry area of my yard. So there may be something to the roots having access to water/moisture 24/7.

Marietta, GA(Zone 7b)

Hey there.. Just did a search and came up with this thread. I found a great PDF with a list.

I need these plants as well for a low area. Here is the list cut and pasted.

The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL 60532-1293, 630-968-0074


Plants Tolerant of Wet Sites

As a general rule, most plants don't like to have their roots wet for extended periods of time.

However, some species grow naturally along riverbanks and other soggy locations, where they

readily adapt to fluctuations in soil moisture or tolerate extended periods of flooding. In areas

with poor drainage, only plants that are able to persist under wet conditions are recommended.

Before planting a tree, shrub, or other plant in a wet site, determine whether your soil is

permanently wet, marginally wet, or wet for only a few days at a time. Different plants tolerate

different levels of wetness. Keep in mind that plant roots need oxygen, and the longer the roots

are saturated, the more difficult it becomes for the plant to survive. How do you know if your

site requires a specially adapted plant? Here are some factors to consider:

• Duration. Many plants can withstand temporary flooding if standing water persists only a

few days. Sites that are flooded longer or more frequently need plants that are specially

adapted to these conditions.

• Soil type. Plants growing in sandy or light soils that are wet but drain quickly are less likely

to be damaged than those growing in heavy clay soils.

• Season. Plants are often better able to withstand flooding in spring and summer than in fall

and winter. During spring and summer, it is not unusual for foliage on a plant that has been

under water to turn brown but, as a general rule, this does not indicate any permanent injury

to the plant.

• Size. Consider the ultimate size of the plant in proximity to other landscape features, such as

plants, buildings, powerlines, etc.

If you have a wet site, you'll want to consider the following list of plants that naturally thrive in

such conditions. These plants can be used in several ways:


• Add an aesthetically appealing appearance to a barren area

• Stabilize shorelines, swales, and streambanks to reduce erosion and improve water quality

• Create a buffer to screen an unsightly view, provide privacy, or reduce noise

• Attract and provide habitat for wildlife

The chart inside provides information about plants recommended by The Morton Arboretum for

their suitability and desirability in the Midwest.

Plants Tolerant of Wet Sites


Scientific Name Common Name Scientific Name Common Name

Abies balsamea Balsam Fir

Picea mariana Black Spruce

Chamaecyparis thyoides Southern White Cedar

Picea sitchensis Sitka Spruce

Picea glauca White Spruce

Tsuga canadensis Canadian Hemlock

The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL 60532-1293, 630-968-0074

LARGE TREES (over 40 feet)

Scientific Name Common Name Scientific Name Common Name

Acer rubrum Red Maple

Liriodendron tulipifera* Tulip-Tree

Acer saccharinum*

Silver Maple Metasequoia


Dawn Redwood


Betula lenta Sweet Birch

Platanus occidentalis* Sycamore

Betula lutea Yellow Birch

Populus tremuloides Quaking Aspen

Betula nigra* River Birch

Quercus bicolor* Swamp White Oak

Carya illinoensis Pecan

Quercus palustris* Northern Pin Oak

Celtis occidentalis Common Hackberry

Salix alba ‘Tristis’* Golden Weeping Willow

Gleditsia triacanthos Honey Locust

Taxodium distichum* Bald Cypress


Larix laricina* American Larch


Thuja occidentalis* Eastern Arborvitae

Liquidambar styraciflua Sweetgum Ulmus americana American Elm


Scientific Name Common Name Scientific Name Common Name

Aesculus glabra Ohio Buckeye

Catalpa speciosa Catalpa

Alnus glutinosa* Black Alder

Cladrastis lutea Yellowwood

Alnus incana* White Alder

Magnolia virginiana* Sweetbay Magnolia

Alnus rugosa* Speckled Alder Nyssa sylvatica* Sourgum

Carpinus caroliniana American Hornbeam

SMALL TREES (15-25 feet)

Scientific Name Common Name Scientific Name Common Name

Aesculus pavia Red Buckeye

Asimina triloba* Pawpaw

Aronia prunifolia Purple Chokeberry

Cornus florida Flowering Dogwood

LARGE SHRUBS (over 8 feet)

Scientific Name Common Name Scientific Name Common Name

Aesculus parviflora Bottlebrush Buckeye

Ilex decidua Possumhaw

Aralia spinosa Hercules’ Club

Lindera benzoin* Spicebush

Baccharis halimifolia Groundselbush

Prunus spinosa Blackthorn

Cephalanthus occidentalis* Buttonbush

Salix purpurea* Purple Willow

Chionanthus virginicus Fringetree

Sambucus canadensis* Elderberry

Clethra alnifolia* Summersweet

Vaccinium corymbosum* Highbush Blueberry

Cornus alba* Tartarian Dogwood

Viburnum dentatum Arrowwood Viburnum

Cornus amonum* Silky Dogwood

Viburnum lentago Nannyberry Viburnum

Cornus racemosa* Gray Dogwood

Viburnum opulus European Cranberrybush

Cornus stolonifera* Redosier Dogwood

Viburnum trilobum American Cranberrybush

Hamamelis vernalis Vernal Witchhazel

MEDIUM SHRUBS (5-8 feet)

Scientific Name Common Name Scientific Name Common Name

Aronia arbutifolia* Red Chokeberry

Myrica pensylvanica Bayberry

Betula pumila Dwarf Birch

Rosa palustris* Swamp Rose

Calycanthus floridus* Carolina Allspice

Rubus odoratus* Purple-flowering


Ilex glabra Inkberry

Viburnum cassinoides Witherod

Ilex verticillata* Winterberry

SMALL SHRUBS (less than 5 feet)

The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL 60532-1293, 630-968-0074

Scientific Name Common Name Scientific Name Common Name

Aronia melanocarpa* Black Chokeberry

Ribes americanum Wild Black Currant

Dirca palustris Leatherwood

Rosa carolina Pasture Rose

Fothergilla gardenii Dwarf Fothergilla

Spiraea alba White Spirea

Itea virginica Virginia Sweetspire

Symphoricarpos sp.* Snowberry, Coralberry

Physocarpus opulifolius* Ninebark

Viburnum nudum Smooth Witherod

Potentilla fruticosa Bush Cinquefoil

Xanthorhiza simplicissima Yellowroot


Scientific Name Common Name Scientific Name Common Name

Aconitum napellus Monkshood

Houttuynia cordata Chameleon Plant

Alchemilla mollis Lady’s Mantle

Iris ensata* Japanese Iris

Amsonia tabernaemontana Texas Star

Iris pseudoacorus* Yellow Flag Iris

Aruncus dioicus Goatsbeard

Iris sibirica* Siberian Iris

Astilbe sp. Astilbe

Iris versicolor* Blue Flag Iris

Astrantia major Masterwort

Ligularia sp.* Ligularia

Bergenia sp. Bergenia

Lychnis flos-cuculi Cuckoo Flower

Brunnera macrophylla Siberian Bugloss

Lysimachia clethroides* Gooseneck Loosestrife

Caltha palustris* Marsh Marigold

Monarda didyma* Beebalm

Chelone obliqua Turtlehead

Myosotis scorpioides Forget-Me-Not

Cimicifuga racemosa Snakeroot

Polygonatum sp. Solomon’s Seal

Cornus canadensis Bunchberry

Primula japonica* Japanese Primrose

Dicentra sp. Bleeding Heart

Pulmonaria saccharata Bethlehem Sage

Eupatorium purpureum Joe-Pye Weed

Rodgersia aesculifolia* Rodgersia

Filipendula sp. Meadowsweet

Tiarella sp. Foamflower

Gunnera manicata Gunnera

Tradescantia virginiana* Spiderwort

Helenium sp.* Sneezeweed

Trollius chinensis Chinese Globeflower

Hemerocallis sp. Daylily

Verbena hastata Blue Vervain

Hibiscus moscheutos* Rose Mallow


Scientific Name Common Name Scientific Name Common Name

Athyrium filix-femina Lady Fern Onoclea sensibilis Sensitive Fern

Dryopteris celsa Wood Fern Osmunda cinnamonea Cinnamon Fern

Matteuccia struthiopteris Ostrich Fern Osmunda regalis Royal Fern

* plants tolerant of flooded areas for extended periods of time.

Additional reading:

Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America, Gary L. Hightshoe, Van

Nostrand & Reinhold Co., New York, NY 1998.

Nature’s Heartland—Native Plant Communities of the Great Plains, Bill Boon and Harlen Groe,

Iowa State University Press, 1990.

Plants of the Chicago Region, Floyd Swink & Gerould Wilhelm, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle,

IL, 1994.

Edited to say.. I would check them all out BEFORE planting though.. You wouldn't want any Houttuynia cordata Chameleon Plant in your ground!! :)

This message was edited Feb 6, 2007 1:25 PM

Cordele, GA(Zone 8a)

Becky, here's some good info from Walter Reeves site that soulgardenlove posted on the GA forum. Most should be adaptable to your area too.


Marietta, GA(Zone 7b)

yes, I was just going to come back here and let you know! :) They would be better suited for your area.



(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Oh WOW! That's a great list Deborah and Susan! Thank you so very much! I recognize and have some of those plants in starter pots already! And some folks here from this thread and forum have been very generous to send me seeds, cuttings, and tubers! Some of my plants that I got as tubers are already blooming! And others are not too far behind. I guess a lot of these plants like the cooler weather vs. the hot weather of Florida.

Georgetown, SC(Zone 8a)

Becky: I've had luck with Louisiana iris. They can do water - wet - damp - moist and can do sun or part shade, and don't seem to care if they get cold in the winter.
Also Lobelia (I have "Ruby Slippers"), and dwarf umbrella palm(Cyperus alternifolius).
Someone also told me creeping jenny does well in a bog, but I haven't tried it myself.


(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Thanks, DebinSC! I do like the Louisiana Irises. I received some Orange Flower Ditch Lily tubers from 2 different folks on the Day Lily forum here on DG. They just took off in the pots, so I think they are going to like the bog garden as well. I also received some canna tubers from a trader on another website. She told me they were small red blooms on the 3 large canna tubers she sent me, but 2 have started blooming and they are pale peach/apricot colored instead. (I wanted red, so I will buy a couple tubers from Wal-Mart when I go shopping this weekend.) Though the pale peach color will look good with the orange ditch lilies in one of the bog garden sections. So the flower color scheme is working out ... much to my surprise!

I'll have to check into the Ruby Slippers Lobelia and the Creeping Jenny!

Buffalo, WV(Zone 7a)

Creeping Jenny is extremely aggressive. You don't want this running loose.


Marietta, GA(Zone 7b)

I can't get mine to spread.. wish it would cover the area where I planted it. Maybe this year. It can be cut back through and maintained I think. I know a gardener who really knows his stuff and he uses it for the pretty :)


Georgetown, SC(Zone 8a)

Wvdaisy: Yes, I should've said..I have heard Cr.Jenny is agressive. Though, mine has been just the opposite! :) But perhaps in FL, it would be. I'm trying it in a container water garden this year.


Buffalo, WV(Zone 7a)

It's aggressive here in WV. It likes the wet best but I've seen it go through a lawn too.


(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

This bog garden I am trying to fill has 10 sections in a row that are each 4' X 6' garden beds. I have the Canna as seen in the photo. And some ditch lilies that will possibly go in the same bed as these canna. I was thinking about doing 3 of the beds with that combo and some other plants as well. Maybe every 3rd bed I'd plant this grouping. I don't know? What do you think? Or should I just plant them all together in one or two beds?

The ditch lilies look like those picture in this web link:

I hear that the ditch lilies can become invasive. I am thinking of putting a underground barrier around each bed I put them in to try to contain them to just the bed they are supposed to be in. Does anyone have any experience growing them? I am wondering how deep the tuberous roots grow?

Thumbnail by beckygardener
Berkeley, CA(Zone 9b)

Don't give up on the Colocasia elephant ears just yet. Illustris, Black Magic, and Black Stem Fontanesi form gorgeous clumps that are not extravagantly large (as are the generic Colocasia esculenta, which get huge). And there's a wonderful miniature, Colocasia fallax, that loves water, spreads readily but not aggressively, and stays small. Check it out.

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Thanks, NorCalBrad! I will check those plants out online to find out more about them! I really appreciate your suggestions. :-)

Adamstown, MD

If you like iris--consider Variegated Blue Iris, Laevigata 'Variegata'. They grow upright to 36". Bloom in mid-spring and display beautiful varigated foliage thruout the season.

Also, brand new for 2007, Red Bog Lily, Crnum Menehune. Once you see it, you'll have to have it! Upright to 24"; blooms bright pink during the summer and has interesting foiliage as well. Tropical to most of the US, however, it should be hardy for you.

Enjoy your bog garden!

Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Hi Becky - hope you don't mind a few pics - some of the plant already mentioned, and a few others. These all grow beautifully in my pond and streams -

First, Lobelia Cardinalis (Cardinal Flower) - loves the damp to wet, grows to about 3-4 feet in full sun to partial shade. He's in the center with the piercing red flowers. You can also see Parrot Feather, which is not invasive here, but may be in your area.

Thumbnail by dax080
Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Next is the Japanese Iris, which also loves sitting in water to 3 inches. I've got two pics. One is in the same area as the Lobelia, just ahead and did bloom, although this is the first year he was planted so he is small. This bloom was the first week of June. The lobelia is right beside, but is just beginning to grow.

Thumbnail by dax080
Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Here are a row of Japanese Iris in the bottom pond. None bloomed this year as it was their first year, but you can see that they have grown very well. This pic was taken in late June.

Thumbnail by dax080
Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Here are a couple of pics of the Marsh Marigolds. This one was taken in mid-April, when they first bloomed. You can see they are quite small. Again, the first year they were planted.

Thumbnail by dax080
Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

And here they are in early August, MUCH bigger.

Thumbnail by dax080
Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

And in mid-September, they bloomed again! So be sure to deadhead. Also, the ajuga (Carpet Bugle) grew into the stream, and seemed to thrive on the moisture.

Thumbnail by dax080
Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Here is a pic taken in mid-June of the Forget-me-nots planted on a floating island in the pond.

Thumbnail by dax080
Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Another surprise was this Creeping Sedum which grew right into the stream - this was taken in mid-September.

Thumbnail by dax080

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