It may be wet where you live, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a lush and beautiful garden. Whether your garden's wet spots can be attributed to topography or seasonal drainage, it’s still possible to create a visually stunning landscape. The trick is to cultivate plants that grow well in wet soil. Many plants are touted for their ability to withstand dry conditions, but how often do you hear about plants that thrive in wet weather? Here are some water-loving perennials, shrubs, and trees that are sure to make your outdoor areas pop.
The best thing about perennials is that you can enjoy them year after year. Perennials that do well in moist environments thrive when exposed to excess moisture. Before you plant them, however, you might want to augment the soil with compost and humus to help improve its quality.
Japanese primrose grows well in consistently moist soil and is known for its bright flowers. Plant it in an area with partial shade where it'll be able to readily self-sow. It’s very low maintenance and deer-resistant, too.
Lobelia cardinalis boasts red tubular (cardinal) flowers on tall spikes. Cardinal flowers are even considered wildflowers in many parts of the country. Plant them in a spot with moist, fertile soil and plenty of afternoon shade, unless you live in a cool area — then just plant it in the sun.
Marsh marigold is a succulent whose bright yellow flowers resemble those of a buttercup. It grows best in woodland areas, bogs, and ponds. This plant is epsecially helpful for attracting beneficial insects, hummingbirds, and butterflies.
Many varieties of irises thrive in wet conditions, including Louisiana irises, yellow flag irises, Siberian irises, and Dorothea K. Williamson irises.
Ostrich fern features green fronds that add textural interest to any garden. Although it spreads easily, you can keep it under control by simply removing all unwanted shoots.
Creeping jenny is a type of groundcover known for its bright green foliage and yellow flowers.
Forget-me-nots may be short-lived, but they do provide a bright splash of color in the springtime. Since they readily self-seed, you’ll be able to enjoy their flowers for years to come.
Calla lilies add lasting color to your garden and grow well in moist conditions. If you live in an area that experiences cold weather in the winter, dig up their rhizomes in the fall and replant them in the spring.
Hydrangeas look great in any garden but tend to grow best in areas where the soil is moist. Hibiscus flowers also do well in these climates and allow you to enjoy colorful blooms all summer long.
Use shrubs to add some height and visual interest to your garden. Many shrubs also serve as natural barriers and create a greater sense of privacy.
Buttonbush is a tall shrub that can grow up to 12 feet tall. It features deep green leaves and colorful flowers. Be warned, birds love noshing on this shrub’s seeds!
Tatarian dogwood is an easily adaptable shrub that thrives in soils both wet and dry. While most shrubs and flowers shine in the spring, this shrub turns into an absolute showstopper during the fall and winter months. The plant features bright berries and red stems, and although its flowers aren’t particularly notable, they do provide essential nourishment to birds and other wildlife.
Winterberry is another shrub that stands out in the winter. After the shrub loses most of its leaves in the fall, bright berries begin to appear on the stems. This plant can grow up to 15 feet tall, so be sure to give it plenty of room to thrive.
Atlantic white cedar thrives in wetland areas. These trees tend to grow very tall and are often used for lumber due to their durability and resistance to decay.
Black and green ash trees are medium-sized trees with scaly bark. They flower in the spring. Black ash is most commonly used to make woven wooden baskets. Green ash is a hardy tree that's often used to replace felled elm trees. It grows in a variety of soils, including moist, wet, and clay soils.
Red maple trees also provide visual interest year-round thanks to their vibrant color. They grow quickly and are generally considered to be low-maintenance trees.
Sweetbay magnolia, also known as swamp magnolia, is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 100 feet tall. It's found in swampy areas along the East Coast, and it's known for its white, strongly-scented flowers. Many birds rely on its seeds for nourishment.
Bonus Planting Tips
If the area you’re planting in is consistently wet, be sure to put down a few inches of coarse sand and pebbles to prevent algae from growing in it.
If you want to maintain wet soil year-round, consider creating a partially man-made bog area. To do this, just remove the soil in the area you’d like to create the bog in, lay down a black plastic tarp, and fill it with fertile soil. Fill it with plants (like those mentioned above) that will thrive in wet conditions. The plastic will help maintain moisture.