Gardening in wet soil stresses plants, encouraging problems such as root rot. Options include building raised beds or amending soil to allow for better drainage, but these corrections take time and only work to varying degrees, depending on the site. Few plants grow well in wet or waterlogged soil, but some shrubs demonstrate a higher tolerance of such growing conditions. Choosing such shrubs proves an easier and more direct solution.
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Most holly shrubs are evergreens, though deciduous varieties, such as winterberry, do exist. Hollies develop bright red fruit that remain on the shrub through the cold season, adding colour and variety to the winter landscape. In addition to winterberry, other holly shrubs that reach 1.8 to 3 m (6 to 10 feet) in height at maturity and adapt well to wet soils include dwarf yaupon and dwarf inkberry varieties.
Some dogwood shrubs grow best in wet conditions, making them the perfect plant for soggy locations. Silky dogwood and redosier dogwood reach 1.8 to 3 m (6 to 10 feet) in height and offer landscaping benefits such as white flowers, blue fruit and red or yellow bark. Other water-loving varieties include the Tartarian dogwood. All these shrubs not only grow well in wet soil, but are even known to withstand long periods of flooding.
Willows love wet areas, often growing naturally around streams and riverbanks. In fact, these shrubs only reach their maximum height potential when provided with such conditions. Good choices for the home landscape include purpleosier willow, reaching 2.4 to 3 m (8 to 10 feet) high. Nana, a dwarf cultivar of purpleosier willow, grows only 1.2 m (4 feet) in height at maturity.
Many azaleas do well in wet soil, including sweet azalea, coastal azalea, pinkshell azalea and swamp azalea. These deciduous shrubs from the rhododendron plant family prefer partial shade for healthy development. Although these shrubs prefer moist, well-drained sites, they adapt well to various soil, thriving in wet, but not flooded, conditions. Azaleas bloom in a variety of colours, including pink, yellow and white, with several varieties offering a strong, pleasant fragrance to the springtime landscape.
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- Purdue University Extension: Landscape plants for wet areas
- Alabama Cooperative Extension System: Selecting shrubs that can tolerate wet soil
- North Carolina Cooperative Extension: Qualifiers for quagmires: landscape plants for wet sites
- Iowa State University Extension: Growing rhododendrons and azaleas in Iowa
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources: Willow