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Planting When Soil Is Wet (Complete Guide)


If your garden is poorly drained and this has prevented you from growing your favourite flowers and vegetables this year, don’t give up gardening.


Although a very humid garden limits your choices, several techniques will allow you to improve the drainage of your soil or even make this curse an asset to transform your land into a lush oasis.


9 plants to be installed in wet soil

1. Red Dogwood

The bright, warm colors it reveals in winter are sure to brighten up a garden, and prove that there are more than just green plants to be planted on moist soil!


2. The sedge

This plant belongs to the large family of the grasses, and appreciates a fresh and wet ground. Its falling aspect is ideal near a basin.


3. The chelone

Add a little height to a flower bed with chelonia. They are appreciated for their rustic and rustic look, as well as their flowers.


4. Papyrus

The graphic aspect of papyrus makes it a plant of choice for those who wish to add a little originality and greenery to their garden. Beware, it fears the cold!


5. Ligularia 

A little color to finish, with the bright yellow of the ligular of its flowers that look like real bouquets in summer bloom.


6. A fern Athyrium niponicum 

Also called Japanese fern, this one appreciates humid soils and develops pretty green and red leaves. Its resistance to cold is a real plus.


7. The Siberian iris 

With its elegance and verticality, the iris offers surprising resistance to negative temperatures. They will make their effect in a border or in a massif that needs a little height.


8. Deschampsia  

This other grass is ideal to bring volume while lightness. Its side very resistant to cold and diseases makes it an essential of the garden!


9. The astilbe

The red, pink or white feathers of the astilbe appreciate the shade, and will raise the massifs which claim a little color.


A sticky, permanently wet soil is not suitable for the majority of plants, which soon find themselves suffering from cryptogamic diseases, start to vegetate, or even die by asphyxiation of the roots. Water, although necessary for plant life, must never stagnate at the feet of plants other than aquatic plants.


The configuration of the ground can be the cause: located at the level of a water table, at the bottom of a slope, near a pond or in a basin with clay soil, the result will always be the same with this type of soil. The plants will grow only very badly or will be weak, they will be more sensitive to diseases and frost and the work of the raised bed will be multiplied tenfold.


Dealing with wet soil

A few elementary gestures can improve the quality of a waterlogged soil. The most basic: do not walk on the ground after a rain shower so as not to pack it down. But it is also possible to dispose of gravel to improve drainage, or to place compost to keep the soil rich in nutrients.


If you live near a stream or on land that keeps moisture or has a pond, you may have difficulty finding plants that will thrive – and that you like. But there are plants that will thrive in water-rich soil!


Drainage for growing plants in wet soil

In order to be able to garden in an optimal way and without restricting the choice of plants, drainage of the ground remains a possible solution. It allows water to be drained to a defined location, thus drying out the soil a little. A total drainage of the ground requires a lot of work and a considerable budget. It is only recommended on constantly wet ground.


Clay soils that retain excess water will be treated differently. They will have to be amended to lighten them. Compost, well decomposed manure and coarse sand will help decompact it.


Also consider adding a thick bed of gravel, pebbles, or any other mineral element at the bottom of the planting holes to help evacuate water to deeper layers.



Many plants appreciate a certain freshness in the soil, the key is to determine whether the soil just stays moist or whether it is really wet in order to adapt the plants.


In cool soil, marigolds, ferns, bamboos, impatiens, fuchsias, cannas, arums, coleus, but also astilbes or gunnere will do wonders. On the tree side, think of eucalyptus, various willows, alders, charcoal and in the hottest areas banana trees and fabulous marsh hibiscus.


In really soggy soil, where the water stagnates throughout the year, it will be preferable to plant semi-aquatic plants such as canes of Provence, marsh irises, forget-me-nots, Japanese horsetail or thypas. We present you 9 plants that you can use in your composition if you have a garden with a wet soil!

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