Plant choices for Rain Garden

littlelizzy123April 8, 2014

Hey all!
I've got a tricky spot to fill in my zone 5a Colorado Springs yard. It is right under a downspout, along the edge of my second story deck. I am looking for perennial flowering plants that can handle a downpour, but be ok with a little drought too. The small pond that forms after a rain is proving to be too much for the grass lawn, plus, grass takes so much work to maintain. I am going for a cottage garden look, I don't care too much for formal gardens, and a cottage style works with my house and existing yard. Any suggestions?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not a subject I know much about but here are some ideas based on some experiences to start things off, Lizzy.

Before quite a length of rain gutters were put in along one side of my house, there was the "oddest" little daylily growing at the corner. It is still there but now experiences a flood with every rainstorm. Seems just fine before and since. Why I say that it is odd is because it only blooms about once every 5 years. My other daylilies bloom annually. The gutters haven't been up for 5 years so it is too early to know if blooming schedules will change or never occur again!

A somewhat similar plant is a Siberian iris and, whereas mine are nowhere near that downspout, they do just fine. Siberian iris are commonly planted near ponds. Mine is in a fairly shady location but not even where they get much water.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 2:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It doesn't take up a lot of ground surface area, but clematis vines do very well planted near the outlet of drain spouts. You can easily attach some sort of mesh to the downward part of the spout and have them climb up.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 9:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi Lizzy,

You don't say how much sun the area is getting, so I can't be real specific, but here are some of the things that can take A Flood, but will be ok with "normal" watering too--but they're not xeric.

These are for "mostly" sun. They're all different heights, some spread a lot and could be considered invasive (IMO), some are better behaved.

LIke Digit said, Iris sibirica, Siberian iris loves water but can take "average" conditions too.

All these Iris, too, can take lots of water but would be ok with average/regular watering.

â¨Iris missouriensis (water plant) â¨
Iris louisiana (water plant)
â¨Iris pseudoacorus (water plant)
â¨Iris versicolor (water plant) â¨
Iris ensata (a/k/a I. kaempferi) - Japanese Iris - Some varieties can have flowers up to 12" across!

Physostegia, obedient plant

Monarda, bee balm - invasive and VERY susceptible to mildew!

Asclepias incarnata, swamp milkweed - butterfly weed - spreads!

Hibiscus moscheutos - 'Disco Belle' is about 4' - others taller!

Mint - You don't really want to do that, do you?!!

Liatris spicata, gayfeather - blazing star - bottlebrush flower

Valeriana officinalis, valerian - but IMO the flowers on this one STINK!

Galium odoratum - invasive - foliage smells like "fresh mown hay!" - sun or shade

Ajuga - sun or shade


Myosotis palustris, water Forget-me-not - some sun ok if wet

Trollius, globeflower - sun probably ok with enough water

Bergenia cordifolia - probably ok in sun with enough water

Thalictrum, several different species - some sun ok if enough water

And I've never grown them in truly wet conditions, but daylilies, Hemerocallis, are also supposed to do well in wet areas, but they do just fine too in dry to average conditions. That one does and always will seem counterintuitive to me, but mine do seem to do/look better when I water them more often! Sun.

There are some ornamental grasses that can take a lot of water too--they'd be sun. A favorite of mine--I have one--is Panicum virgatum, switch grass - can even be grown in boggy conditions! I have P.v. 'Heavy Metal', and I love it. Steely blue foliage with "wispy" seed heads.

Just some things for you to consider. If you have specific questions about any of them, let me know. If you give me more info about your light conditions and about if/how you plan to or are willing to water when we don't have rain maybe I can suggest a few more things.

Happy spring,

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 9:28PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
What did You Prepare and Eat from the Garden, Today?
A mix of Soldier and Jacob's Cattle beans with onions,...
Crops That Can Thrive At Lower Temps
Hey gardening geniuses.... glad to see most of us made...
Ready for Harvest :o)
Here's what some of the plants look like in my greenhouse...
Anyone interested in unusual peonies take a look at Adelman's
Just got the catalog for Adelmans Peony Paradise for...
Thornless blackberries in CO?
I've got a front yard veggie/fruit/perennial garden...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™