With all the rain we have had this spring, it seems timely to talk about wet tolerant plants. Do you have a low-lying area in your yard or a spot where water drains and keeps the ground moist but not saturated? These plants will do well in areas that are consistently moist with regular drainage.
Annuals for Wet Areas
Canna come in rich, vibrant colors and offer a tropical feel to containers and borders
Canna are elegant annuals, with stunning flowers and large, banana-like leaves. They give a tropical flair to containers, providing the height and attraction of the ‘thriller’ plant. Grown in full sun to part shade, the array of colors in cannas are eye-catching in beds and borders.
‘Mojito’ Colocasia esculenta grows 3′-4′ H by 3′-4′ W
Colocasia/Alocasia, or Elephant Ears are another annual with large-leaved foliage that thrive in moist, well-drained soil. Some can take full sun while most require part shade. They bring a tropical, exotic feel and can be planted in containers or added to borders for extra height, texture and shape.
Perennials for Wet Areas
Monarchs lay eggs on the leaves of the Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias incarnata
Asclepias incarnata is the perennial native Swamp Milkweed and a must for butterfly enthusiasts. The leaves are the only food source for the larvae of monarch butterflies. Wet tolerant and fragrant, asclepias blooms pink July through August in full sun.
All perennial Hibiscus are wet tolerant, with impressive, bold blooms July through September in full sun to part shade, making them a Growing Place Choice plant. The native Hibiscus palistris prefers moist areas and is seen naturally in marshy inland lakeshores. Its flowers are irresistible to hummingbirds.
Trees & Shrubs for Wet Areas
Amelanchier canadensis, or Shadblow Serviceberry is a vase-shaped shrub that blooms white in May and has edible berries in early summer. The foliage turns golden yellow to orange in fall. Cornus, Dogwood shrubs are adaptable and vigorous. Like the serviceberry, they attract birds and will thrive in wet areas when other shrubs will not survive. The red twigs add color and winter interest.
Two trees that prefer moist conditions are the Betula (River Birch) and Quercus bicolor (Swamp White Oak). The cinnamon-colored, exfoliating bark of the river birch adds interest year-round to landscapes. The leaves of the Swamp White Oak turn yellow to reddish-purple bronze for fall color. It is often found wild along banks and streams.
A rain garden is a low-lying area designed to collect, slow and filter rainwater runoff from your downspouts, driveway, patios or sidewalks. The water seeps back into the soil with the help of plants with deep roots. Consider adding a rain garden design to your landscape and reduce erosion. Use plants that like continuous moisture, as well as plants that can tolerate both wet and dry soils.