Podcast: Let's Argue About Plants

Episode 47: Plants for Wet Areas

Got a soggy spot? Well, we’ve got some options to make the most of it

Mucky, soggy, squishy when it rains—all of these describe the ideal conditions for the plants we talk about on this episode. Not everyone has a pond edge to deal with, but many of us have a spot that stays wet after a rainfall or just never seems to drain properly. This can mean instant death for many plants that prefer well-drained soils, but not for these perennials and trees that soak up that moisture with gusto. Steve even discusses a plant that most think of as a full-sun plant that prefers well-drained soil but that, it turns out, thrives in wetter areas. Not everyone has a soggy spot, but almost everyone has a downspout—and now you’ll know the perfect plant to put under it!


Expert testimony: Kelly Norris director of horticulture and education at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden in Iowa.



Weeping bald cypress

Bald Cypress "Pendens"
Bald cypress ‘Pendens’. Photo: Danielle Sherry

Bald cypress knees

Bald Cypress knees.
Bald cypress knees. Photo: Danielle Sherry

Giant rhubarb (with friend of Fine Gardening Cherry Ong for scale)

Gunnera. Photo: Danielle Sherry

‘Moerheim Beauty’ sneezeweed

Helenium autumnale 'Moerheim Beauty'
Helenium autumnale ‘Moerheim Beauty’. Photo: Michelle Gervais


Podophyllum. Photo: Steve Aitken

‘Baby Tut’ umbrella plant

Baby Tut cyperus
Baby Tut cyprus. Photo: Danielle Sherry


Danielle’s Plants

Weeping bald cypress (Taxodium distichum ‘Pendens’, Zones 4–9)

‘Little Cajun’ copper iris (Iris fulva ‘Little Cajun’, Zones 6–9)

Giant rhubarb (Gunnera manicata, Zones 7–10)

‘Baby Tut’ umbrella plant (Cyperus involucratus ‘Baby Tut’, Zones 8–11)



Steve’s Plants

Pitcher plant (Sarracenia spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)

‘Britt Marie Crawford’ ligularia (Ligularia ‘Britt Marie Crawford’, Zones 4–8)

May-apple (Podophyllum spp. and cvs., Zones 3–8)

‘Moerheim Beauty’ sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale  ‘Moerheim Beauty’, Zones 3–8)


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