The Q&A Archives: Shrub needed for moist, sunny spot

Question: Any suggestions for an area that is moist (due to neighbor's sprinkler runoff), but receives summer sun from 11:00 a.m. until about 8:00 p.m.? A pyramidal boxwood failed last year. In the winter, there is almost no sun on the area.

Answer: Soggy soils are a challenge because they rob the oxygen that plant roots need. However, there are some plants that really don't mind wet feet. Here's a list - those with an asterisk will tolerate soggy soils for an extended length of time:
Aronia arbutifolia (red chokeberry)
Baccharis halimifolia (groundsel tree)
Cephalanthus occidentalis (button bush)*
Clethra acuminata (cinnamon clethra)
Clethra alnifolia (summersweet)
Cornus alba (tartarian Dogwood)*
Cornus sericea (red osier dogwood)*
Cornus amomum (silky dogwood)*
Cyrilla racemiflora (swamp cyrilla)
Dirca palustris (leatherwood)
Euonymus americana (American euonymus)
Fothergilla spp. (fothergilla)
Hibiscus syriacus (rose-of-sharon)
Ilex cassine (dahoon holly)
Ilex glabra (inkberry)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry)*
Ilex vomitoria (yaupon holly)*
Illicium spp. (anise-tree)
Itea spp. (sweetspire)
Leucothoe fontanesiana (leucothoe)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Myrica spp. (bayberry/waxmyrtle)
Physocarpus opulifolius (ninebark)
Rhamnus caroliniana (Carolina buckthorn)
Rhododendron arborescens (sweet azalea)
Rhododendron atlanticum (coastal azalea)
Rhododendron vaseyi (pinkshell azalea)
Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea)
Rosa virginiana (virginia rose)
Sambucus canadensis (elderberry)
Spiraea tomentosa (hardhack)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Viburnum alnifolium (hobblebush)
Viburnum cassinoides (witherod viburnum)
Viburnum opulus (European cranberrybush viburnum)

Here is a list of some flowering perennials that thrive in moist soil: 'Ice Ballet' Asclepsias, Chelone lyonii (Turtlehead Flower), Eupatorium (Joe Pye Flower), Filipendula (Queen of the Meadow), Marshalla grandiflora (Barbara's Buttons), Lobelia 'Ruby Slippers', Darmera peltata (Syn. Peltiphyllum peltatum - "Umbrella Flower"), Trollius chinensis (Golden Queen Globeflower), Ligularia przewalskii. An ornamental grass that does well in wet areas is Acorus, and, a good ground cover for wet spots is Tovara virginiana 'Painter's Palette'. Annuals such as Impatiens, Coleus, Primrose, and Snapdragon should do OK in that spot as long as it is just moist and not soaking wet.

Hope you find just the right plants for your soggy section of yard.

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