poor drainage in flower bed - Knowledgebase Question

March 27, 2009
i would like some examples of plants that can tolerate poor drainage area. Or what i can do to my garden bed to help drainage. I have installed a drain box at the front of my house, but the flower bed still hold a lot of water. i have mostly clay area.

Answer from NGA
March 27, 2009


You can improve your clay soil with the addition of organic matter but that might not address the drainage problem. You may need to experiment a bit to find which perennials do the best for you, before going whole hog and making extensive plantings of any one thing. However some which tolerate fairly damp situations would include Japanese Iris, Yellow Flag Iris, Hibiscus moscheutos (rose mallow), Joe Pye Weed, lobelia, monarda, lady's mantle and some of the ornamental grasses. Occasionally you will also find that Black-Eyed Susan, Siberian Iris, daylilies (hemerocallis), astilbe, forget-me-nots and assorted hosta will also thrive in a damp spot. If you cannot get these plants to grow you may want to try raising the planting bed so it drains faster, or install a curtain drain to redirect the excess water. Good luck with your plantings!

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