6 Plants That Like Wet Soil

When you consider gardening in a heavily watered area, it is important to know which plants will thrive.

Anything, from the sun you get to the seeds you buy, can affect the growth of your plants. When people struggle to grow healthy plants, it’s often because they live in wet climates—either it rains a lot or they’re near a body of water.

Not to worry—some plants love the water just as much as you.

Do You Have Wet Soil?

You may think that you have fairly wet soil, but your drainage could be so good that it doesn’t necessarily affect your plants. It is important to distinguish whether water is from the soil or due to drainage issues. Here is an easy way to determine what type of soil you have.

Start by digging a small ditch with a straight side and approximately 2 ft. deep. Covering the ditch to keep rain from interfering, leave the ditch overnight.

In the morning, if water has collected, you have a high water table. A high water table often occurs when you’re close to sea level. In conclusion, this indicates you have wet soil.

To test your drainage, fill the already dug ditch approximately half way and cover it for 24 hours. If water remains when you uncover the ditch, you may have to work on your yard’s drainage.

6 Water-Loving Plants

1) Swamp Azaleas

Swamp Azaleas (Rhododendron viscosum) produce a hearty, white flower for your green backyard. This shrub is perfect for the front of your house, or the edge of your yard, because it grows to be around 5 ft. tall and 12 ft. wide.

This perennial is so hearty that it is actually described by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center as ““flood tolerant.” If your yard often floods after rain, or holds water, these rhododendrons are perfect. In addition, the Swamp Azaleas are beneficial for bumble bees.

2) Primrose

If you’re looking to liven up your yard, another possibility is planting Primrose. These plants flower in multiple colors, with variations from red, orange, pink, yellow, and white. These plants begin to blossom in early spring and continue blossoming through the summer.

Primrose does well in wet soil because it is a hardy plant that can adapt to many different climates. Though it is important to have proper drainage for these plants to grow healthily.

3) Bee Balm

For more color, and something that attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, try planting Bee Balm. This perennial can grow quite large and produces vibrant pink flowers that will liven up your space. Along with attracting butterflies, Bee Balm resists deer.

Bee Balm, otherwise known as “Pardon My Pink,” thrives in damp climates because it does best in moist soil.

4) Elephant Ears

There is nothing more tropical than planting a few Colocasias, commonly called Elephant Ears, in front of your house. Be sure to leave plenty of room for these guys because they can grow to be quite large. In fact, the foliage resembles an elephant’s ear, hence the name.

These hearty plants do very well in wet soil; however, they prefer warmer climates. During the cooler months it is recommended to cover these plants, or bring them indoors.

5) Jack-In-The-Pulpit

Growing to about three feet tall, Jack-in-the-Pulpit loves a moist climate and needs very little care overall. This interesting plant produces a hooded flower that grows out of its own individual stalk.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit is a unique plant that looks like no other, and it will thrive in forest areas, woodlands, swamps, and marshes.

6) The Bleeding Heart

The Bleeding Heart, or the Dicentra spectabilis, is fast growing and needs consistent watering to grow. The Bleeding Heart produces flowers that vary in shades of red and are shaped like small hearts.

They bloom in late spring and easily germinate by themselves if left alone. In addition, the Bleeding Heart attracts hummingbirds and is deer resistant.

Consider Improving Your Drainage

The several plants mentioned above will do well in wet climates and liven up your living space. Even with these plants, the drainage in your yard should not be neglected. Standing pools of water can easily attract mosquitoes with dangerous diseases.

In some cases, standing water from poor drainage can even cause root rot in the hardiest of plants.

Signs of root rot are yellowing or drooping leaves that will eventually die if not treated. Root rot can spread to other healthy plants, and may even stay in the soil after an infected plant dies.

wilting caused by root rot

Wilting caused by root rot. Scot Nelson / Flickr (Creative Commons)

There are two causes of root rot. Although a fungus can lead to root rot, over-watering is the most common cause. This is the main concern for planters trying to grow in wet climates. Therefore, it is important to consider improving your drainage before planting.

Enjoy these six plants that will thrive even in wet climates.

Freelance writer Marlene Ridgway grew up in rural West Virginia, cooking, keeping chickens, stacking firewood, picking blueberries, and gardening.

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