Cottage plants that dont mind wet feet

Lilyfinch z7 mid tnDecember 5, 2009

I have a soggy area that for the most part of the summer is normal, but with heavy spring rain and the rain we get in winter, it tends to pool with water and take a couple days to drain. I have 3 roses there and a bunch of clematis i planted this summer, i never realized the drainage issue till i just went outside to feed the birds. They are all just sitting in water now. maybe 2 to 3 inches of it! If my current plants dont come back, i need to make smarter choices! What plants do you suggest? Its next to a chainlink fence. So ill need a mix of height and color, i love pastels. I already have 1 clethra, and might add more. Thanks for the suggestions!!

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That's a tough one! It depends on why your water is not draining. If it's clay soil (my challenge) then mixing in a lot of manure, gypsum, etc. may help. Roses do not like to sit in water, it's bad for their roots. You may want to move them in the spring.

One thing we've had luck with is blueberries. I think any plant that normally does well in a "boggy" situation would do okay with their roots in water. My mom has an area like that in her garden and she moved blueberries all along the fence and they've done very well. I know butterfly bushes do NOT like it (we had to move them) but peonies do well in clay, as do columbine. She's trying clematis there this year, so we'll see how well they do with the water.

I'm sure other people will have many more suggestions, but I wonder, do you water a lot in the summer, or is it dry then? We have lots of snow, slow drainage and hot summers, but the blueberries and peonies seem fine. The roses do well here, if we mix in about equal part aged horse manure with the seems to help with the drainage and they love the fertilizer. Good luck with your garden :)

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 2:21PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

I have a clump of Joe Pye Weed right beside the overflow pipe from one of our pools, it certainly doesn't mind wet feet even in the winter.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 2:37PM
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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

Dutch Iris would like it, I think. Marsh marigolds. Try googling bog gardens - that should give you lots of ideas!!


    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 4:13PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

lobelia cardinalis and redtwig dogwood

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 6:00PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I'm not quite sure what qualifies as a 'cottage plant' but my favorite for wet conditions is Astilboides tabularis. It has dramatic huge round leaves and a big fluffy white plume of flowers like a giant astilbe.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 6:54PM
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Hardy hibiscus plants tolerate wet roots because they are swamp plants (although I don't know if they like sitting in water in the winter when it is freezing). I'd look into them because there are many varieties of all colors and heights. They are quite beautiful when they start blooming in late summer and are a favorite of mine. I also know that Louisiana irises like to sit in watery conditions, but again I don't know if that means they can tolerate sitting in water over winter.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 7:29PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Japanese iris are another good candidate for areas that stay wet. Clematis will not survive if they are exposed to constant moisture. They like to have a constant supply of it but will not tolerate sitting in constantly wet soil.

Another option is to add more soil and make a berm on top of the area where the water sits. Then you could plant just about anything there.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 9:08AM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

I'm in the middle of planting a cottage garden of herbs in very wet, poor draining clay soil.
My shrubs are elderberries.
The plants:
Chelone - turtle head
Acorus (is this hardy for you? I don't know)
Louisianna Iris
Japanese Iris
Cat Tails
Monarda (some kinds like more moisture than others)
Asclepias - some kinds like it swampy
swamp hibiscus
obedient plant
Great blue and cardinal lobelias
Joe Pye
red pantain
blue flag iris
yellow flag iris

that's my list so far!!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 2:34PM
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I had the same issues, and had a landscaper come over for just an hour to give me advice. That was the best hour as he helped me design my front yard, which I in turn did myself, but he told me to dig a trench around the boggy area and start adding alot of grass and other mulch to it to built it up out of the mud. All the back yard water drains into it. This year I planted my veggie garden there. It was the only sunny place outside of the front yard, so all we had were tomatoes, jalapenos and bell peppers. This spring we will finally dig our ditches larger and add river rock. And I have piled leaves, grass, hay, and pulled weeds to that area. Will have to continue next year.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 6:39AM
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try looking up rain gardens because this describes your condition. Roses will not survive that spot for long. They could drown, get mildew or black spots - so best relocate them.

Having a pond helps me with some decisions on what to plant in rain gardens, that include cardinal lobelias, rumex, primula (lots of primula & primula japonica is really great), siberian iris, joe pye, ligularia,hosta, trollius,

donts: purple loosestrife, creeping jenny

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 9:38PM
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itea sweetspire aka little henry, not sure if you consider this cottage plant, but does very well in wet sites...mine is next to a fountain that tends to overflow, and it's thriving. Full sun. Same literature can be found on the web. Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 24, 2009 at 3:29AM
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