The Q&A Archives: Plants for Very Moist Soil

Question: I have a high water table in two areas of my yard. One area gets sun for most of the day, the other is shady. Can you recommend some shrubs (preferably evergreen) and perennials for very moist soil?

Answer: Moist spots can be a challenge! Most evergreens prefer a better drained spot, but inkberry (Ilex glabra) is an evergreen which likes moist soil. Another holly, the winterberry (Ilex verticillata), is deciduous but very attractive in the winter nonetheless. The 'Brilliantissima' chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) also makes lovely berries and has excellent fall color. The small, shrubby, stoloniferous dogwoods (Cornus spp.) such as the Redosier have various bark colors and are lovely in the winter. Inkberry and the shrub dogwoods will tolerate sun or shade, the other two prefer more sun.

Perennials for a damp sunny spot include Japanese Iris, bee balm, and Joe Pye weed. Shade lovers for wet soil include hosta and astilbe. Most ornamental grasses prefer better drainage, but the variegated sedge grass (Carex) will tolerate moister soil and needs part shade.

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