Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Posted By: in Perennials

Well here is a topic many gardeners will be keen on - what types of perennials will tolerate moist or wet soils?

Plants for Moist Soils

Being West Coast gardeners we do get quite a bit of rain and many of us find that there are always areas where the soil may remain moist or in some cases hold standing water for periods of time.

Luckily there are many perennials that will grow quite well in moist locations but only a select few that have adapted to growing in areas with standing water.

Moist sites indicate soils that are constantly damp or damp for the majority of the year, the soil may be moist but drains well and is not soggy.

Wet soils refer to areas where the soil is saturated with moisture (soggy) and may be occasionally exposed to standing water for short durations (several days).

Some of the plants that I would suggest include:

Astilbe | False Spirea

False Spirea

Astilbe spp.

Easy care perennial for shade or partial sun. Will form a neat mound of airy, fern-like leaves in shades of green to burgundy-red. This long blooming perennial produces tall, feathery plumes in a range of white, pink and red. Highly adaptable they prefer a moist soil in light shade but will tolerate full sun and drier soils once plants are well established. Height/Spread: Varies Zone: 4

Actea | Cimicifuga Hillside Black Beauty

Bugbane

Cimicifuga spp. (Actea)

Close relatives of Actaea these clumping perennials have given rise to numerous popular cultivars. The most common species are C. racemosa and C. simplex, which have divided, lacy foliage that forms an upright clump. Selections such as 'Brunette', 'Hillside Black Beauty' and 'Black Negligee' have highly attractive dark burgundy-black leaves. Plants are slow to establish but in time make spectacular specimens. Arching spikes of fragrant white to light pink flowers late summer into fall. Grow in full sun or light shade in moist soil. Height/Spread: Varies Zone: 3

Rose Mallow

Hibiscus moscheutos

Bold, almost shrub-like perennial with woody stems clothed in large green or reddish leaves. Stunning single flowers, reminiscent of their tropical cousins, appear from summer into fall and are varying shades of pink, red and white. Plant in full, hot sun in a well-drained but consistently moist soil. Plants perform best in a neutral to alkaline soil so dust a little lime around the base of the plants each year. Being perennial they will die back and can be cut to the ground every fall. Height: 2-3m Spread: 1-2m Zone: 5

Ligularia Plant

Leopard Plant

Ligularia spp.

Easy to grow, robust perennials having bold leaves with rounded or heavily serrated edges. Foliage can range from rich green to shades of purple and burgundy. Flowers are either tall golden spikes (L. stenocephala 'The Rocket') or flat daisy-like, golden heads (L. dentata); mid to late summer. Plants like a partially shaded site with a deep, rich soil that remains moist. Try and avoid planting where they get hot afternoon sun as plants will wilt and possible burn. Great for along stream banks or the ponds edge. Height/Spread: Varies Zone: 4

Petasites | Butterbur Plant

Butterbur

Petasites spp.

Robust plants with thick underground rhizomes and bold tropical-like leaves. Short spikes of pale pink to white flowers in early spring before the leaves appear. Plants prefer moist sites and are excellent around ponds, streams and boggy areas. Easy to grow in partial shade. Petasites japonicus var. giganteus is a large growing selection with enormous, rounded leaves that resemble rhubarb. Petasites palmatus 'Golden Palms' bears large palmate leaves of golden yellow. To control plants from spreading too aggressively, place a heavy plastic container into the ground and plant within. Height/Spread: Varies Zone: 4

Gunnera | Dinosaur Plant

Gunnera

Gunnera spp

Gunnera are amazing water loving perennials that look like they are from another era. In fact, some people call it the Dinosaur Plant. Massive leaves can reach several feet across when the plant is given constant moisture. Ideal at the edge of a pond or water feature. Plant it near where passers-by can see it and it will certainly become a talking point!

Other Perennials That Tolerate Standing Water

  • Acorus
  • Canna
  • Caltha
  • Equisetum
  • Iris
  • Juncus
  • Sarracenia
  • Typha

Other Perennials for Moist Sites

  • Aconitum
  • Actaea
  • Ajuga
  • Alchemilla
  • Aruncus
  • Astrantia
  • Chelone
  • Darmera
  • Digitalis
  • Eupatorium
  • Filipendula
  • Hemerocallis
  • Lobelia
  • Lysimachia
  • Primula
  • Ranunculus
  • Rheum
  • Rodgersia
  • Thalictrum
  • Tiarella
  • Tradescantia
  • Tricyrtis
  • Viola
  • Zantedeschia

Some of these perennials are available year-round while others are seasonal. As always, call Arts Nursery ahead of time to confirm availability of specific varieties. Our telephone number is 604.882.1201

Lyle Courtice A.H.

Lyle Courtice A.H.

Lyle is a certified Horticultural Technician (Niagara College), Landscape Designer, Nurseryman and the proprietor of HarkAway Botanicals.

Since 1980 Lyle has worked in both the retail and wholesale sectors of the horticultural trade; he operates his own wholesale nursery, which focuses on an eclectic mix of rare and choice plant material from Asia, Europe and North America. Lyle has appeared on The Canadian Gardener and is a contributing author to A Grower’s Choice (Raincoast books 2001).

His horticultural expertise makes him sought after as a consultant, lecturer, photographer, instructor and writer. An industry veteran, Lyle is esteemed within the horticultural community for his passionate and often humorous enthusiasm for plants.

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