Perennial plants that thrive in moist soil are seen growing naturally along rivers, swamps and marshes. Their growing requirements are such that their soil must remain damp to ensure the successful establishment of the plant. In areas within the garden that are muddy or rendered useless due to high moisture content, a row of perennial water-loving plants helps to bring in color and texture to the otherwise bare area of the garden.
Wild ginger (Asarum canadense) is a perennial ground cover that has a spreading growth habit and slow growth pace. Growing 6 to 12 inches tall and wide, wild ginger requires moist, fertile soil to thrive. The lustrous bright green leaves have a mat-forming, carpet-like habit that is ideal planted along a border or within a bed to creep around the garden. The heart-shaped, glossy leaves range from 2 to 4 inches wide, and hidden within the mass of foliage lie the purple-to-mauve flowers. Wild ginger has a ginger scent, hence the name wild ginger, and has the capability of being divided in early spring to grow in other areas of the garden. Wild ginger requires part to full shade and nutrient-rich, well-drained soil to thrive. Plant wild ginger in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 2 to 8.
Elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta 'Black Magic') is a perennial plant with a clumping growth habit and moderate to aggressive growth rate. Growing 3 to 5 feet tall, elephant ear requires moist soil to flourish. The deep purple stalks on elephant ears hold the dark purple to black heart-shaped leaves. On the undersides of each leaf, there is a chalky dusting that makes the leaf appear gray. Elephant ears require part shade and fertile, moist soil. Divide in early spring or winter to grow in other areas of the landscape. They are an ideal water garden plant or used in the back of a perennial bed for their height and fullness. Plant in USDA zone 11.
Japanese Painted Fern
Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum 'Burgundy Lace') is perennial fern with a clumping growth habit and a low growing, clumping habit. Growing 1 to 3 feet tall and wide, Japanese painted ferns have showy foliage. The fronds are purple to bronze with a hint of contrasting silver that creates a shimmering effect to the fern. Planted along a garden path or tucked within a container, Japanese painted ferns are a dramatic way to liven up the garden. Japanese painted ferns require part to full shade and moist, nutrient-laden soil that is acidic to neutral in nature. Plant in USDA zones 5 to 8.