The Q&A Archives: Planting In A Wet Area

Question: The northeast corner of our yard has a "flowerbed" that is planted with 3 Austrian Pines, various perrenials, an ivy groundcover, and mostly weeds. Once I weed it,I want to plant more groundcover &/or perrenials, but am clueless as to what will grow well here. The plot is extremely wet which doesn't seem to be bothering the plants growing there. I really just want to simplify this bed. It is not especially attractive and I look at it a million times a day as it faces my kitchen window. Any ideas and suggestions to beautify and keep it a low maintainence bed would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: What plants to install will depend on the exposure the bed receives--is it full sun, partial sun, or full shade? Choose plants with the same sun needs. Without that important piece of info, it's hard to for me recommend specific plants. Extremely wet soil is usually a challenging condition, as plant roots require oxygen to thrive and if soil is too wet, they can easily rot. So, you will also need to choose plants that prefer wet soil conditions. Columbine likes wet soil and full sun or filtered shade. Some other plants that take very wet soil are many different iris, Japanese iris, Louisiana iris, Siberian iris, yellow flag, swamp sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius), sweet woodruff, monkshood, baneberry, swamp milkweed, and false spiraea. After you plant, put down a 3 inch layer of mulch on the soil. This will reduce the weeds that germinate, especially if you keep pulling any that appear as soon as possible.

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