The Q&A Archives: Wet soil area

Question: What shrub, annual or perennial would do well in small area with dirt that stays wet most of the time?

Answer: Wet, poorly drained soils present one the most difficult challenges for growing plants in the landscape. Excessive moisture displaces oxygen in the soil and plant roots can suffocate as a result. Many plants are intolerant of having their roots submerged for extended periods of time. However, there are some plants that tolerate wet soils. Here are some suggestions:

Aronia arbutifolia (red chokeberry)
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)

Herbaceous Perennials (some will be considered annuals in your growing region)
Acorus calamus (sweet flag)
Astilbe spp. (astilbe)
Butomus umbellatus (flowering rush)
Calla palustris (bog arum)
Caltha palustris (marsh marigold)
Canna x generalis (Water canna)
Carex spp. (sedge)
Eleocharis acicularis (spike rush)
Eupatorium dubium (Joe Pye weed)
Equisetum hyemale (horsetail)
Hibiscus moscheutos (rose mallow)
Iris ensata (Japanese water iris)
Iris laevigata (water iris)
Iris pseudacorus (yellow flag)
Iris siberica (Siberian iris)
Iris vericolor (blue flag)
Iris virginica (southern blue flag)
Juncus spp. (rush)
Leersia oryzoides (rice cutgrass)
Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower)
Lobelia siphilitica (great lobelia)
Lysimachia clethroides (gooseneck loosetrife)
Myosotis scoparius (water forget-me-not)
Orontium aquaticum (golden club)
Peltandra virginica (hardy arum)
Pontederia cordata (pickerel weed)
Sagittaria spp. (arrowwhead)
Sarracenia spp. (pitcher plant)
Saururus cernuus (lizard's tail)
Schoenoplectus validus (soft stem bulrush)
Scirpus americanus (common threesquare)
Spartina alterniflora (cordgrass)
Typha spp. (cattail)
Vernonia noveboracensis (iron weed)

Hope this list is helpful!

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