The best shrubs for very wet soil

Updated February 21, 2017

Many shrubs thrive in well-drained soil and become sick due to over-watering. If your garden or area in which you want to plant has very wet soil, the challenge is finding moisture-friendly shrubs. According to an article from Iowa State University's Horticulture and Home Pest News, many plants and shrubs actually prefer very wet soil. Use shrubs that grow best in moisture in your very wet gardening site.

Silky Dogwood

The silky dogwood (cornus amomum) is a shrub that best tolerates very wet soil. Silky dogwoods display ivory blooms and green to dark green foliage. Needing full sun to partial shade, the silky dogwood shrub attracts bees, butterflies, and birds. Silky dogwoods grow to a height of 10 to 15 feet.

Virginia Sweetspire

Virginia sweetspire (itea virginica) is a bushy shrub that grows best in very wet soil. Virginia sweetspire displays panicles of near white flowers with foliage that is green during spring and summer and changes to shades of dark red, burgundy and orange red during the fall and into winter. Virgina sweetspire needs full sun to partial shade, attracts butterflies, and reaches a height of 3 to 10 feet.


Buttonbush (cephalanthus occidentalis) is a shrub that needs very wet soil. Most striking during the months of summer and early fall, according to, buttonbush displays ivory or light pink "pincushion flower balls" and glossy, medium green foliage. Buttonbush needs full sun to partial shade, attracts butterflies and birds, and grows to a height of 5 to 12 feet.

Purple Willow "Nana"

Purple willow "Nana" (salix purpurea) is a dwarf purple willow shrub that is a good option for very wet soil. Purple willow displays blooms of white, yellow, green, and silver as well as glossy, fine, green-grey foliage. Purple willow "Nana" needs full sun to partial shade, fulfils its best use as a hedge, and grows to a height of 3 to 5 feet.

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About the Author

Tarah Damask's writing career began in 2003 and includes experience as a fashion writer/editor for Neiman Marcus, short fiction publications in "North Texas Review," a self-published novel, band biographies, charter school curriculum and articles for various websites. Damask holds a Master of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of North Texas.