11 Trees That Soak Up Water

Some plants can survive in soggy, wet soil for several days or weeks at a time without becoming burdened with common issues such as root rot or fungus gnats. Perhaps you reside in an area that receives a lot of rain throughout the year, such as Miami or New Orleans, where the yearly rainfall is over 60 inches. Or, maybe you live near a large river or creek that often floods, causing your lawn to stay wet.

Even if your yard simply has poor drainage and you find that growing most trees and small plants to be quite a challenge, you are in luck. We've rounded up 11 trees and shrubs that are ideal for damp or wet soil conditions. Let's take a look.

An up close photo of a pink turtlehead photographed in a garden, 11 Trees That Soak Up Water

11 Trees That Soak Up Water

A brick front porch with a garden with lots of flowers

1. Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia)

Sweet Pepperbush

This beautiful wide-spreading bush can grow fairly well in medium to wet soil. In fact, you'll find it often growing in swamps marshes and with woodlands along seashores and streams. It can reach anywhere from four to eight feet in height and has an average spread of about 326 feet. This beautiful shrub produces long, white fragrant flowers that attract bees and butterflies throughout the year.

It will require some mild pruning in the late winter after the bloom, and it grows well in growing zones 3 to 9. The best sunlight conditions for the shrub are partial shade to full sun.

2. Merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora)

Yellow flowers of a Merrybells plant

Merrybells typically grow in growing zone 3 and are among the most beautiful perennials that you can grow in your garden. These plants simply love wet or damp soil, and their long downward-facing flowers give the plant a droopy appearance. If you're looking for a plant that loves wet soil or if your garden doesn't have access to abundant amounts of light throughout the day, here is the plant for you.

This plant grows to about one to 2 feet tall and is relatively low maintenance. The merrybells plant can definitely add a bit of southern charm to your front or back yard.

3. Fragrant hosta (Hosta plantaginea)

Bright purple flowers of a Fragrant hosta

This fragrant beauty is one of the most commonly grown hosta varieties. Though it prefers a sunny location, it can thrive very well in wet and damp areas. Its bright white flowers are large enough to brighten up any indoor or outdoor garden, and their wonderful fragrance will definitely attract several insects and wildlife. It grows native to growing zone 3.

The fragrant hosta is a very forgiving plant, which means that it's perfect for growers who don't have a lot of experience. If you want to brighten up your front lawn, here is a plant to help you do it.

4. Pink Turtlehead (Chelone lyonii)

Bright beautiful pink flowers of a Pink Turtlehead plant

This plant grows well in damp to wet soil and tends to bloom anywhere from mid-autumn to late summer. It has beautiful purple flowers, and some varieties also have white blooms. The pink turtlehead plant typically grows about three to four feet tall and can survive in medium to low-light environments. It's relatively easy to care for this plant, and you'll find that it will attract hummingbirds and butterflies with its enticing fragrance.

The pink turtlehead plant commonly grows in zone 3 but can also be grown in zone 4. It's best to prune the plant at least once every blooming season, or else you may find that it will overtake your front or back yard.

5. Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

Bright red flowers of a Cardinal Flower

Cardinal flowers can grow in wet or slightly damp soil. Their typical growing zones are 3 to 9, and they are perfect for planting around small ponds or lakes. These plants are known for their bright red flowers witch will stand out in any garden. They will typically reach a height of about two to five feet tall and have an average spread of anywhere from one to three feet.

It's best to give this small shrub full sun during the day and a sufficient amount of shade during the evening. You may also want to consider adding a thin layer of mulch to help the plant contain more moisture within the soil. This shrub is also available in white varieties as well.

6. Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)

Bright red berries of a Winterberry plant

Winterberry plants are native to zones 3 to 9. This plant prefers partial shade to full sun and can survive in medium to wet soil. It also prefers soil that's acidic or has a mild pH level. The winterberry plants are most known for their small red fruit, which you may recognize in Christmas decorations or other holiday adornments.

On average, winterberry plants can grow anywhere from three to 10 feet tall, and they may require pruning at least once a year to prevent them from becoming too invasive. It's best to closely monitor the soil when planting this variety to prevent it from becoming stressed and possibly drying out.

7. Inkberry Bush (Ilex glabra densa)

Bright orange colored berries of an Inkberry bush

This multi-limbed evergreen shrub is native to zones 4 to 9, and you'll often find it in nearby bogs and swamps. Wet and soggy soil is not an issue for this plant, as it isn't drought tolerant at all. It'll produce small blackberries during the early fall if it's planted next to a plant of the opposite sex and will require minimal pruning throughout the year.

The plant prefers partial shade to full sun. It's best not to expose it to too much sun for a long period of time, as it can damage the plant's foliage. This bushy green plant is perfect for lining the areas around gardens, lakes, and ponds.

8. Rodgersia (Rodgersia pinnata)

Flowering leaves of a Rodgersia plant

The rodgersia plant is a wide bushy plant that grows in zones 5 to 7. Its pink-purplish flowers are visible throughout the year and more so from mid to late summer. The plant itself can grow anywhere from three to four feet tall, and it simply loves woodlands and bog gardens. It only requires medium sun to partial shade to survive, and it can perform well in wet and damp soil. If you want the plant to grow taller, plant it in an area that receives ample sunlight throughout the day.

This shrub is perfect for large or small lawns and outdoor gardens. You'll also be happy to learn that doesn't require a lot of maintenance.

9. Tatarian Dogwood (Cornus alba)

Small up close photo of a Tatarian Dogwood

The tatarian dogwood, commonly known as the red-twig dogwood, is the perfect one for wet and moist soil. If you live in an area where the soil is rarely ever dry, this wide shrub is perfect for you. It can reach heights up to eight to 10 feet, and its beautiful bright red bark will certainly add a bit of character to your front or back yard.

This shrub is common to growing zones 3 to 7, and it is partial to full sun and afternoon shade. Some varieties will also grow small blueberry-like fruit which will attract insects and wildlife, depending on where you live. If left unpruned, this bush can grow fairly wide, up to five to six feet even.

10. Horsetail (Equisetum hyemale)

Up close photo of a Horsetail plant in the garden

Horsetail plants are one of the most versatile plants to grow in your yard. These slim shrubs reach about two to four feet tall and have a spread of anywhere from one to six feet. They prefer partial sun to full shade and can grow in average or damp soil throughout the year. This is a non-flowering plant, but it can become an aggressive spreader if the rhizomes are not removed after the blooming season.

The plant is commonly grown in zones 4 to 9, and it can easily adapt to several different environmental conditions. If you're looking for an easy-to-grow plant, the horsetail plant is definitely one to consider.

11. Leopard Plant (Ligularia dentata)

Small butterfly landing on a Leopard plant

The leopard plant is known for its flat wide leaves and their showy yellow spots. These large leaves can also come in interesting green and dark purple tones. On average, this plant reaches about two to three feet in height and has a slightly small spread of about one to two feet. It's important to water this plant regularly if your soil does not remain damp consistently.

These plants prefer some shade, especially when the weather is hot, and they shouldn't be exposed to full sun for longer than a few hours. Leopard plants are native to growing zones 4 to 8, and they can also come in orange and yellow varieties.

Wrapping Things Up

Healthy soil is necessary to provide any plant with the nutrients they need to grow. Plants that are adapted to growing in moist and wet soil conditions will require frequent watering if the soil becomes dryer in the spring and summer months. It's always a good idea to do a moisture test at least weekly or bi-weekly to ensure that your plants are getting the hydration that they need.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

15 Tall Shrubs For Shade That You Need To Try In Your Garden

15 Shrubs For Wet Clay Soil That Will Look Great In Your Garden

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