10 Favorite Native Perennials for Wet Areas

This is the second post in a series summarizing a talk by Behnke’s Christopher Lewis on great plants for wet areas of the yard.  If you would like to read the first, 9 Favorite Native Shrubs for Wet Areas, click here.

Lobelia Cardinalis 5
Lobelia Cardinalis 5
Lobelia Cardinalis 11

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Its vibrant red flowers in late summer are a favorite of hummingbirds.  Likes full sun to part shade.

Eupatorium Dubium Little Joe 2
Eupatorium Dubium Little Joe 2
Eupatorium 20

Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium)
An ideal plant for the back of the garden, it grows 4ft-7ft tall.  It likes full sun or light shade and features large, dusty rose or white flowers that butterflies love, especially swallowtails.

Asclepias Incarnata Pollinator Garden
Asclepias Incarnata Pollinator Garden
Asclepias Incarnata And Agastache Blue Fortune 1

Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
The name says it all; it loves wet conditions and has milky sap.  It’s a food source for monarch caterpillars.  Interesting tidbit: it’s poisonous, so when monarch caterpillars eat it, they too become poisonous, keeping birds and other predators from eating them.

Eupatorium Coelestinum 8
Eupatorium Coelestinum 8
Eupatorium Coelestinum

Mistflower (Eupatorium coelestinum)
Good groundcover for shade (or sun, if it gets enough water), feathery periwinkle flowers cover it from late summer through fall.  Be careful though, it spreads quickly with underground rhizomes and can take over an area.

Vernonia Noveboracensis 3
Vernonia Noveboracensis 3
Vernonia Noveboracensis 2

New York Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis)
A member of the Aster family, its purple flowers will attract many butterflies.  It’s easy to grow, tolerating a wide range of soils and light, though it would prefer rich, moist soil in full sun.

Aruncus Dioicus 3
Aruncus Dioicus 3
Aruncus

Goat’s Beard (Aruncus)
A good plant for the shade with delicate, white, plume flowers in June.  It’s deer resistant.

Iris Versicolor 5
Iris Versicolor 5
Iris Versicolor 4

Blue Flag Iris (Iris veriscolor)
Blue iris flowers with yellow and/or white accents on the petals.

Senecio Aureus 5b
Senecio Aureus 5b
Senecio Aureus 9

Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea)
This is a great groundcover for shade.  It spreads, loves deep shade, has bright yellow, aster-like blooms and can even be evergreen in a mild winter.

Chelone Lyonii
Chelone Lyonii
Chelone Lyonii Hot Lips

Turtlehead (Chelone)
It has pink or white flowers in late summer that are supposedly shaped like turtle heads (judge for yourself).   Deer resistant.

Royal Fern
Royal Fern

Royal Fern

Sensitive Fern

Sensitive Fern

Lady Fern

Lady Fern

Ferns: Lady Fern, Royal Fern and Sensitive Fern
Give them partial shade and moist soil and they’ll be happy.  They’re all deer resistant.  Sensitive Fern spreads, Royal Fern will form clumps and Lady Fern will stay put.

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