Where to plant your perennials can be a difficult choice for some gardeners. A majority of perennials thrive best in sunny areas with well-drained soil. However, you may find an area in your yard that is always soggy, and most plants planted in this location turn to mush and rot. Don't worry. We have researched this topic and have found 7 Zone 4 perennials that perform well in wet areas.
Here is a list of 7 Zone 4 perennials recommended for planting in wet areas:
- Bee balm
- Cardinal flower
- Marsh marigold
- Corkscrew rush
- Creeping Jenny
- Joe Pye weed
The plants on this list grow naturally in wet conditions, whether it's near a pond, in a bog, near a fountain, or in a low-lying area. The overly wet soil that was once a problem area can be transformed into a vibrant, eye-catching focus of your landscape. Keep reading to learn more about each plant and its proper care. One of the plants on this list just may be the solution to your sloppy and wet situation.
Zone 4 Planting
Before we look at each plant in depth, it's important to know the location of your planting zone. Planting zones are based on the weather and climate of that particular area. To find your planting zone, click here.
Zone 4 plants must be cold hardy; these plants must be able to withstand temperatures of -20 to -30°F. These locations are predominantly found in the northern part of the United States.
Again, consider the location before you choose a perennial from the list. They all flourish in wet soil, but be mindful of the amount of sun or shade each plant will receive. Now that you know your planting zone, let's dig deeper into our Zone 4 perennials for wet soil.
Recommended Zone 4 Perennials For Wet Soil
Rest assured! None of these plants will turn mushy or rotten in the overly wet area of your yard. For some of these plants, the wetter, the better. Enjoy looking at these perennials and learning more about each one. Let's get started!
1. Bee Balm
Also known as Oswego tea, this moisture-loving plant is prized for its long-blooming vibrant blossoms. These spiky blooms explode in the summer and bloom throughout the season. Pollinators such as hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees are wildly attracted to this plant.
Bee balm can reach maturity within the first year, growing as large as four feet tall and three feet wide. While not listed as invasive, bee balm is an aggressive grower and can take over if not monitored carefully.
This perennial does best when it receives at least six hours of sun per day. Deadhead the flowers after they've bloomed to promote regrowth and to keep them from self-seeding if you don't want them to spread. There are numerous bee balm varieties.
2. Cardinal Flower
Butterflies and hummingbirds find the cardinal flower irresistible. The brilliant red blossoms form on tall upright stalks.
Tubular red flowers will bloom from July to early fall. These perennials will self-seed, so new plants will grow year after year. Cardinal flowers can grow four feet tall and would look fabulous surrounding your pond or woodland area.
Be careful with the cardinal flower, as it can be toxic to humans and pets if ingested. If you deadhead the blossoms after they've bloomed, they will not reseed, impacting growth the following year.
Individual plants only last a few years, so be sure to allow some to self-seed if you want to keep the cardinal flower growing.
Cardinal flowers are easy to grow as long as the soil is kept moist and it receives full sun to partial shade. Keeping the soil moist is the key to success with the cardinal flower. They are also deer and rabbit resistant, so you don't have to worry about these critters using your flowers as a snack.
3. Marsh Marigold
Just as you would expect having the name marsh in its title, the marsh marigold is perfect for those wet sites in your yard. These cheerful yellow blooms will burst in the spring and add a bright pop of color to your boggy areas.
The marsh marigold is not related to the common type of marigold you may think of. These plants are considered succulents and tend to have a mounding habit. They will only grow up to two feet tall, and an even smaller species, the floating marsh marigold, will grow on water.
Again, always keep the soil wet, and that's pretty much all you have to do. Care for this plant is very minimal; they pretty much take care of themselves. Seeds can be collected from the marsh marigold near the end of its blooming period. Once ripe, these seeds can be planted to make new plants.
4. Corkscrew Rush
If you're looking for something whimsical and fun, consider planting the corkscrew rush. These look fabulous near a fountain or water feature. Its unruly foliage forms spirals, just like corkscrews. Where water is plentiful, these will thrive.
These plants produce best when planted in full sun unless you live in an area with unrelenting heat. If planted in Zone 4, these plants will more than likely die back in the winter but will grow back in the spring. Cut the brown foliage off in the spring to make way for new growth.
Growing only 10-12 inches tall, this plant would look perfect as a border or as a filler in your rain garden. They can even be partially submerged in boggy or shallow areas. People will definitely take notice of this playful perennial.
You get two for the price of one in the delicate forget-me-not flower. Blooms begin as a blue color, and the buds preceding are a shade of pink. Even though they are rather small, they pack a punch when it comes to color because of the number of blooms. They typically only get one foot high or smaller.
Known for its versatility, the forget-me-not can be used in a woodland garden, rock garden, as a groundcover, or as a potted plant. It will spread quickly, as it self-seeds. If you don't want it to spread, deadhead the blossoms before the seeds can drop.
As with all our perennials on the list, this plant performs best when the soil is consistently wet. The more sunlight this gets, the more water it may need.
6. Creeping Jenny
If you're looking for a groundcover for that particular soggy spot in your landscape, look no further than the creeping Jenny.
Growing only a few inches tall, this perennial is a bright and striking shade of chartreuse green. The leaves are shaped like tiny coins, and this lovely ornamental groundcover will crawl across your garden and add the perfect amount of color.
This groundcover spreads rather quickly and can take over before you know it. If you let the soil dry out, the creeping jenny won't spread as easily as it grows best in wet soil. Creeping Jenny should be planted in full sun for the leaves to be their brightest.
Creeping Jenny is a very low-maintenance perennial. You may want to cut back the dead stems of your creeping Jenny before winter arrives, causing it to come back easily in the spring.
If you are struggling to keep your creeping Jenny alive, check out this post: Why Is My Creeping Jenny Dying [And What To Do About It]
7. Joe Pye Weed
Often found as a roadside weed, this fragrant vanilla-scented plant is a favorite for butterflies and other pollinators. Growing up to eight feet tall, this hardy plant will grow beautifully along streams, ponds, or boggy areas in your yard.
This plant needs very little care or pampering. Just plant it and watch it do its thing. The hardest thing is making sure they have enough water.
These perennials are covered with dark-green leaves that can be as long as a foot. In midsummer, tiny blooms in colors of mauve or pink-purple flowers will appear in clusters atop the stem.
Wrapping It Up
As you can see from our list above, you have multiple options when it comes to planting Zone 4 perennials in wet, soggy soil.
Whether you're looking for a groundcover like creeping Jenny, a whimsical wonder like the corkscrew rush, or something as delicate as the forget-me-not, you won't be disappointed. Choose one of these perennials to turn your swampy, soggy mess into an appealing, picture-perfect landscape.
Click on the following link to find more ideas on what to plant in your wet soil: