Wet areas of the landscape can seem daunting when it comes to gardening. However, there are plenty of flowers, shrubs, and grasses that thrive in soil that is wet. Planting in these areas can also be beneficial to the landscape. Plants can help with water drainage and erosion. Wet areas often have compacted soil, so it is important to add some compost as you plant. Even though it is wet, you can have a beautiful garden with year round appeal.


Many different grasses like wet areas and can provide a nice back drop to the changing blooms of the seasons. Early spring time bloomers like Ferns, Pussy Willow, Siberian Iris and Day Lilies bring an array of color and texture.

Summer flowers that enjoy these areas are:

  • Marsh Marigolds
  • Canna lilies
  • Turtle head
  • Meadow Sweet
  • Rose Mallow
  • Swamp Sunflowers.

Other Plants Suited for Wet Soil:

Joe Pye Weed and Milk Weed are notorious for attracting butterflies and Cardinal Flowers and Bee Balm will attract humming birds.

Elderberry is a shrub that can get quite large if it is not trimmed in fall. The berries of the shrub make a nice jam or jelly. They can also be simmered into syrup that is great for helping to keep you healthy when cold and flu season begins. You may have to cover the Elderberry with netting once it flowers, so the birds do not consume all the berries before you get to them.

Winter Berry produces red berries that stand out in the winter landscape. These branches are nice to cut and use to decorate at the holidays. Tatarian dogwood, also known as red twig dogwood is a shrub that can get very large and is valued for its red bark that stands out especially in winter. These do need to be pruned in early spring to keep control of their size.

Don’t be intimidated by wet areas. Depending on the size of the area, some carefully selected plants can make these areas beautiful!