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Shrubs That Absorb Water

corkscrew hazel image by Lytse from

Excess water in low lands is a challenge for gardeners. However, plants, trees and shrubs can be used to create appealing landscapes as well as to absorb some of the excess water in these regions. Shrubs that will tolerate wet soil are an asset to wet and marshy landscapes. They are often used to render the site manageable.

Summersweet Clethra

Summersweet clethra, clethra alnifolia, is a small shrub that features fragrant flowers that grow off of light green spikes. This shrub is available in white and pink and blooms in mid to late summer. According to the University of Illinois Extension, this wet soil-loving plant is often used as a border plant as well as in mass groupings or as a single specimen. In addition to wet soil, this shrub needs full sun. Summersweet clethra is often found in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9.

Scarlet Curls Willow

Scarlet curls willow, Salix matsudana ‘Scarcuzam’, is also called corkscrew willow. This water-loving member of the willow family will absorb water without breaking into drainage systems like its weeping willow cousin. The Wisconsin Gardener, a public television program, states that the corkscrew willow will eventually grow as tall as 25 to 30 feet high and about 15 feet wide if not pruned. This shrub is commonly found in hardiness zones 5 through 9.


Serviceberry, Amelanchier canadensis, is a bog native that prefers wet soil and full sun. The University of Florida Extension states that this North American native plant is often the first to be noticed in the garden at springtime. These plants also produce an apple-shaped fruit. Serviceberry is grown in hardiness zones 4 through 7.

Tatarian Dogwood

Tatarian dogwood, Cornus alba, is often used in mass plantings throughout wet soil sites. According to the University of Connecticut Plant Database, tatarian dogwood is a suckering, colonizing deciduous shrub that features showy red branches throughout the winter season and small yellowish-white flowers in the spring. These shrubs grow in hardiness zones 2 through 7.


Hibiscus, Hibiscus coccineus, also known as scarlet rose mallow, is a showy shrub that is associated with tropical temperatures. However, this flower is also a wetland lover. This shrub is a herbaceous perennial that grows 4 to 8 feet tall and features deep red flowers. According to the University of Florida Extension Service, scarlet rose mallow is often used as an accent plant or in mass plantings. This hibiscus is grown throughout hardiness zones 8 through 10.

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