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University of Illinois Extension
Beyond Impatiens and Petunias

Perennials Tolerant of Moist to Wet Soil

Many plants will not grow well in soils that are constantly moist or wet. However, there are a number of plants that are tolerant of and have adapted to perform well under these conditions. Moist generally means soils that are constantly damp and wet refers to soils that are saturated with occasional exposure to standing water (1 day duration).


Hardy Hibiscus

Hardy Hibiscus - Hibiscus sp.

Height: 2-4 feet.

Width: 2-5 feet.

Bloom: red, white, pink, Bicolor, July-Sept.

Cultivars: 'Fireball', 'Copper King', 'Luna' series, 'Lady Baltimore'.

Notes: Large impressive blooms. Slow to emerge in the spring. Performs best in moist soil in a sun to part shade location.


Queen of the Prairie

Queen of the Prairie - Filipendula rubra

Height: 18 inches - 6 feet.

Width: 3-4 feet.

Bloom: Pink, white, June-July.

Cultivars: 'Flore Plano', 'Aurea', 'Kahome'.

Notes: Clusters of frothy blooms. Good for rain gardens. Best in full sun to part shade.


Black Snakeroot

Black Snakeroot - Cimicifuga racemosa

Height: 2-5 feet.

Width: 3-4 feet.

Bloom: White, Pink, Aug-Sept.

Cultivars: 'Pink Spike', 'White Pearl', 'Brunette'.

Notes: Large, dramatic plant. Late season flower display. Best in part to full shade.


Rocket Ligularia

Rocket Ligularia - Ligularia dentate

Height: 3-4 feet.

Width: 2-3 feet.

Bloom: Yellow, July- Aug.

Cultivars: 'Othello', 'The Rocket', 'Osiris Café Noir'.

Notes: Dramatic foliage, daisy-like flowers, late season flower display. Best in sun to part shade.


Cardinal Flower

Cardinal Flower - Lobelia cardinalis

Height: 2-3 feet.

Width: 18-24 inches.

Bloom: Red, blue July-Sept.

Cultivars: 'Angel Song', 'Ruby Slippers', 'Arabella's Vision'.

Notes: Good accent plant. Needs moisture for best performance. Best in sun to part shade.


Meadow Rue

Meadow Rue - Thalictrum aquilegifolium

Height: 3-5 feet.

Width: 18-24 inches.

Bloom: Lavender, July-Aug.

Cultivars: 'Black Stocking', 'Hewitt's Double', 'Evening Star'.

Notes: Distinctive, lacy columbine-like foliage. Best in sun to part shade.


Spiderwort

Spiderwort - Tradescantia x andersoniana

Height: 12-18 inches.

Width: 18-24 inches.

Bloom: White, blue, purple, June-July.

Cultivars: 'Snowcap', 'Sweet Kate', 'Concord Grape'.

Notes: Can be cut back to refresh plant appearance in midseason. Can spread.


Royal Fern

Royal Fern - Osmunda regalis

Height: 4-6 feet.

Width: 3-4 feet.

Bloom: none.

Notes: Very large graceful fern. Good along shaded water features. Best in part to full shade.


Finger-leaf Rodger's Flower

Finger-leaf Rodger's Flower - Rodgersia aesculifolia

Height: 3-5 feet.

Width: 4-5 feet.

Bloom: White, July.

Notes: Very large leaf bold plant. Good along water feature. Best in part shade.


Leopard's Bane

Leopard's Bane - Doronicum orientale

Height: 18-24 inches.

Width: 18-24 inches.

Bloom: Yellow, April-May.

Notes: Early flowering, daisy-like flowers. May go dormant during the summer. Best in sun to part shade.


Siberian Iris

Siberian Iris - Iris siberica

Height: 2-3 feet.

Width: 2-3 feet.

Bloom: Lavender, June.

Cultivars: 'Caesar's Brother' 'Little White'.

Notes: Very wet tolerant, fine grass-like foliage. Best in sun to part shade.