Perennial Marsh Plants

There may exist on your property some wet marshy areas that you would like to find a perennial plant with which you could improve the spot's appearance. Different types of perennials do well next to such moist, damp ground. Among them are two types of wildflowers and a tree known for its blazing autumn colors.

Cardinal Flowers

The cardinal flower is a brilliant red perennial that comes into full bloom in the latter part of the summer and into fall. It prefers wet ground to grow in and in the wild is a fixture next to rivers, marshes and streams. It has tube-like flowers that will attract hummingbirds and as variety of butterflies to you property. If you desire to plant cardinal flowers, pick a spot near your marshy acreage that receives full sun or one that gets just a bit of shade during the day. Organic matter added to the soil will help keep the moisture next to the plant, which will not do well once it dries out. Plant cardinal flowers as transplants, since the species produces very small seeds and the younger plants are not sturdy.

Joe-Pye Weed

Joe-Pye weed is a perennial that some consider a wildflower while others view it as a weed. In either case, it will grow in wet soils and produces purple flowers that, together with the large leaves growing in a whorled pattern around the stem, make it a solid addition to a marshland setting. The plant has the ability to grow quite tall, with some exceeding 8 feet high. They do best when planted in full sun, since those put in the shade will strain to reach a source of light and sometimes grow too tall. Joe-Pye weed will be its best colors in a marshy area, although it can tolerate drought. You have the option to prune Joe-Pye weed late into the spring, but the entire plant will be lower when it does blossom. Divide the root clumps with a sharp spade once the plant goes dormant in the fall. Joe-Pye weed will return each year with little if any maintenance necessary once it establishes itself.

Red Maple Tree

The red maple's ability to thrive in marshes has earned it the nickname "swamp maple." It features red twigs in winter, red buds and flowers in spring and crimson fall foliage. Plant a red maple sapling in full sun for it to reach its potential. While it can grow in a wide array of soil types, the more fertile the soil the more rapidly this tree will grow. Consider the fact that red maple can attain heights of up to 60 feet before selecting a place for it on your property near a marsh. There are multiple cultivars of red maple on the market, each with their own specific attractive features. For example, one called Bowhall has a conical shape when mature and yellow-red leaves in the fall.

Keywords: cardinal flower, red maple tree, joe-pye weed, perennial marsh plants

About this Author

John has written thousands of articles for Demand Studios, Associated Content and The Greyhound Review. A Connecticut native, John has written extensively about sports, fishing, and nature.