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The Best Plants For Wet Soil

Growing Plants in Wet Soil

Water will rot the roots of most plants and they die a quick and dramatic death. But there are plants that love wet areas, so don't give up hope if you‘re yard is boggy.

Turttlehead - Chelone not only loves wet areas, but also blooms in shade. There is a very wet and shady spot next to my front porch roof.  For years nothing grew there but mud. I planted a turtlehead and it's thriving! It has attractive deep green leaves and blooms in late summer with blossoms that do sort of look like turtle heads. It dies back in the fall and pops up in early spring.

It thrives east of the Mississippi from Canada to Florida.

Cimicifugia thrives in shade and likes evenly damp (not soggy all the time) soil, so if you have a combo of the two - this is the plant for you. It will grow well in normal soil as well. It gets to be about six feet tall and has fragrant white flower spikes that bloom from late summer until the first frost - the seed heads are very interesting in dried arrangements.

Bleeding Hearts are happy in moist soil but need a lot of compost or rich soil to bloom at their best. They bloomin mid spring and are traditionally pink, but I also have white (see photo).

Hibiscus - Most people think of this as only a southern plant, but varieties also thrive in the north. They prefer moist areas with sun. I had two next to my natural pond and they had plate-sized white and maroon flowers in late Summer. Sadly, the pond drained and the hibiscus disappeared. So, be sure the area where you plant them remain moist.

Chameleon Plant - Houtonia This is a low growing vine type of plant that has multicolored leaves. It loves moist areas and fills in wet places nicely. It does have a unique odor that some people don't like, so check it out before you plant it. I only notice the smell if a brush up against the vine or get really close when I'm weeding. The leaves are a variation of white, red and green and the more sun they get, the more vivid the colors.

Ferns - Just about any fern will do well in a wet area. I love Japanese Painted ferns for places where you'll be seeing them up close. They have beautifully silvery leaves and red stems and veins. I plant Cinnamon Stick ferns along the property line as they make a beautiful fence about three feet tall. They can be very invasive, so keep that in mind. They also die back if their soil gets very dry, but they'll pop back up in full force when given water.

Iris - Many varieties of Iris love wet areas and they bloom early in the summer. They are very hardy and ican be nvasive. They will fill an area in rapidly, but this may be what you want to happen.

I'd suggest you plant one or two of each of the plants mentioned above and create your own ‘wet soil' flower bed. They'll look beautiful together!

Cinnamon Stick Ferns also love shade.


Turtlehead Plant Excellent for wet shady spots


saif113sb on August 16, 2011:

Very very nice and god work a useful hub.

Greg Spinks on June 21, 2010:

Pat: This is a very, very good article;informative, well written with excellent photography. Congrats on a job well done!

Priscilla Chan from Normal, Illinois on March 07, 2010:

I love flower gardening! I have wet area that I have Ferns and Moss:) I don't fight the moss and find them interesting. I have a hub with some of the flowers I have in my back yard. Thanks for the information. Glad to find you!

MBloom on November 07, 2008:

Great article Gracie! I have a shaded spot on our garden that stays very moist most of the year, great tips on which plants would grow better in this situation. The Cimicifugia and Turttlehead sound perfect. Thanks! You should think about writing an article on Edible Flowers. Let me know if you do. See ya around.

1flowerexpress on November 05, 2008:

Think is useful tips.. thank you for sharing