What Plants are Good for Wet Areas?

A pond with multiple types of plants.
Ferns like to grow in wet, shady areas.
The hibiscus plant tolerates moist soil.
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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 June 2014
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Wet and soggy soil is typically due to drainage issues and these types of areas can prove challenging when landscaping and gardening. Trying to correct the drainage issue may be necessary if it is affecting nearby structures, but sometimes there is nothing that can be done except to dress the area up with plants. Finding perennial plants and flowers that perform well in your home growing zone can be challenging enough without adding excessively moist soil to the mix, but the following are some plants that perform well in wet areas, given by their commercial rather than scientific names.

Irises do rather well in wet areas and in fact can actually be submerged in pots into ponds and water features. Look for the Blue Flag, Japanese, Siberian, and Yellow Flag irises. Irises grow taller than many flowers and bloom from early spring to summer in a variety of colors. Some hibiscus and lily plants also tolerate moist soil and flower nicely at various times of the year.

Many ferns seem to like wet areas, along with shade. Look for the Royal Fern or Lady Fern at your local nursery. Ferns have delicate “airy” looking leaves and vary in shades of green, with most being darker green. These water friendly plants add a touch of lushness to a garden. While most ferns tolerate wet soil, be sure you purchase a variety that will as a few prefer only damp to moderately drained soil.


For sunny but wet areas, any of the following plants and flowers should do nicely - Daylily, Bee Balm, Horsetail, and Marsh Marigold. For partial sun, Forget-me-nots, Jack-in-the-pulpits, and River Oats are suitable. For those difficult shady areas, try Jewel Weed or Sweet Woodruff in addition to ferns.

When planting in wet areas along streams or rivers, only plants that are native to the area should be used rather than introducing plants or flowers that are not indigenous. However, when planting a garden in a wet area away from running water it is suitable to experiment with different plants. The best thing you could do when choosing plants and flowers for wet areas and moist or soggy soil is to consult a nursery or horticulturist about the preferred growing conditions of specific plants and which ones will work well for the intended area.


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