Plants That Grow With Their Roots in Water

Boggy areas that have standing water create problems for some gardeners, but not those who plant standing water plants. Plants that will grow in standing water usually are not drought tolerant and need the extra moisture to live. Plants that grow with their roots in water can be used in bogs, swamps, marshes and other wet garden areas.

Giant Rose Mallow

The giant rose mallow (Hibiscus grandiflorus) is from the mallow (Malvaceae) family. It is a fragrant perennial that will attract butterflies to the landscape. It can get 10 feet high with velvety leaves up to 10 inches long. Flowers are pink to violet and 6 inch wide blooms. Plant a giant rose mallow in full sun in a wetland location. Propagate via seed or root mass division.

Louisiana Iris

The Louisiana iris (Iris Louisiana hybrids) is from the iris (Iridaceae) family. It is a perennial. Leaves are 3 to 4 feet tall and sword like. Blooms get 5 to 7 inches wide and colors vary with cultivar. Plant a Louisiana iris in shade or sun in average to moist soil (standing water is fine). Propagate via division or seed.


The papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) is from the sedge (Cyperaceae) family. It is a fast growing perennial evergreen. Stems grow 10 feet tall with feathery spikes 5 to 12 inches long. Small flowers appear at spikelet tips. Plant the papyrus in wet soil or standing water in sun or partial shade. Propagate via clump division.

Golden Club

The golden club (Orontium aquaticum) is from the arum (Araceae) family. It is a perennial that has blue green leaves 6 to 10 inches long. Flowers are yellow and tiny with blue green summer berries. Plant a golden club in bright light or semi-shade with submerged roots in standing water. Propagate by spring rhizome division or by seed.

Paurotis Palm

The paurotis palm (Acoelorrhaphe wrightii) is from the palm (Arecacea/Palmae) family. It is an evergreen. Light green leaves are 2 to 3 feet wide on 3-foot leafstems. White flowers appear late spring with half inch fruits. Plant a paurotis palm in full sunlight or with some shade in standing water or moist soil. This plant is drought tolerant. Propagate via seed or clump division.


The buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is from the madder (Rubiaceae) family. It will attract hummingbirds and butterflies. It can get 20 feet tall (6 to 8 feet normally) with leaves 3 to 6 inches long. Flowers are white and tiny. Plant a buttonbush in full sun in moist soil. Propagate via spring seed, winter hardwood cuttings, or spring semi-ripe tip cuttings.

Keywords: standing water plants, plants that grow with their roots in water, plants that grow in standing water

About this Author

Tina Samuels has been a full-time freelance writer for more than 10 years, concentrating on health and gardening topics, and a writer for 20 years. She has written for "Arthritis Today," "Alabama Living," and "Mature Years," as well as online content. She has one book, “A Georgia Native Plant Guide,” offered through Mercer University; others are in development.