Oft-flooded garden? Plant these water lovers!

What to plant in often flooded gardens

Perpetually wet soil is, initially, not very suitable for gardening. However, many plants enjoy growing in cool, even wet soil, to the point that they still cope when it’s temporarily flooded. Adopt plants for wet soil and create a lush garden!

Selection of 10 plants for wet soil


Astilbe bears flowers even in wet soilA very hardy, rhizome-based, perennial plant, astilbe grows in dense clumps in wet areas.

It is also a plant well adapted to shade areas.

Its red, pink or white plumed flowers bring color even to dark, no-light garden beds.


Carex, great for water sideCarex, or sedge, is a very hardy grass that is easy to maintain. Also growing from rhizomes, this perennial actually originated in marshy areas and wet environments in forest undergrowth and along riverbanks.

The many species are much appreciated for their clusters of elegant flower and seed stems, and very colored leaves (green, yellow, blue, variegated…).

Tufted Hairgrass

Deschampsia copes with floodingDeschampsia cespitosa is a cold-resistant grass, and it’s disease-resistant, too. Tufted hairgrass is well suited to heavy, clayish and marshy soil. Considered one of the most beautiful grasses, it is cultivated for its compact clumps with fine and dark green foliage.

Note: be careful not to confuse it with Deschampsia flexuosa which needs lighter, sandy, well-draining soil.

Red-twig Dogwood

Red bark dogwoodCornus alba ‘Sibirica’, the red-bark dogwood, is a plant especially suited to wet soils.

It is a favorite selection, many love its beautiful winter colors.

During this period, lack of foliage reveals very red wood stems that shine like a thousand lights in the winter garden.

Japanese Fern

Fern for wet areasAthyrium niponicum is an elegant deciduous fern from the forests of Japan that appreciates wet soils and benefits from good cold resistance.

In these conditions, it develops a remarkable green and red foliage.


Plant of fresh to wet soils rich in humus, Chelone obliqua is an easy-to-grow perennial that adds a bit of height to a flower bed.

Turtlehead is appealing thanks to its rustic and semi-wild appearance and also for the beauty of its pink or white spike flowers.


Giant gunnera are perennial and exotic plants with trailing rhizomes that enjoy continuously fresh to wet soils. They are perfect near water points and basins. We appreciate them for their large and beautiful tropical leaves.

Siberian Iris

Siberian iris thriving in waterIris sibirica is a splendid herbaceous perennial plant, surprisingly cold-resistant, and that we reserve for the wet areas of gardens.

Native to the marshy meadows of Russia and Europe (Central and East), the Siberian iris offers a graceful blue, violet, pink or white flowering, and even sometimes bicolor.


The ligularia family includes large herbaceous perennials that thrive in deep, rich, fresh, and even wet soils.

They’re much appreciated for their generous lush foliage and beautiful very bright yellow summer flowering.


Cyperus sedge in waterCyperus papyrus is a semi-aquatic plant that grows well in very wet soil, even if it’s constantly waterlogged.

Easy to maintain (though sensitive to cold), the papyrus needs to continually have its feet in the water.

It is grown for its graphic aspect and very original exotic beauty.

Other plants for wet soils

Perennials that grow well in soggy soil

Water-loving trees and shrubs

Images: CC BY 2.0: K M, CC BY-SA 2.0: Leonora Enking, Andrew Gray, Matt Lavin; Pixabay: eg6da6, Albrecht Fietz, Rainer Berns, Hans Braxmeier