The Q&A Archives: wet ground

Question: Trying to plant a butterfly garden but the groundis very moist. I had dug out about 4 inchs and then put about 10 inches of soil for flowers but the ground is still to wet, Should I keep adding more dirt or will it always be wet?

Answer: Wet areas are typically wet because water is draining to there from the surrounding area. Although a raised bed can sometimes improve the situation, in most cases it is better to select plants that are well suited to moist soil and work with the site as it is. Based on your description, it sounds as though your spot is quite wet; to dry that out you might need to change the overall drainage pattern for the surroudning area. That is a huge undertaking. Instead, there are many plants you could use in a moist area including Lobelia cardinalis, Eupatorium (Joe Pye weed), asters, Siberian iris, Japanese iris, perennial Hibiscus, and Monarda (bee balm). Willows prefer damp soil and are a larval food source for many butterflies, you might also try Clethra alnifolia which is a lovely shrub with fragrant flowers in summer. I hope this gives you some ideas.

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