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The Best Shrubs for Very Wet Soil

The perfect garden features rich organic soil with drainage that allows plant to absorb water slowly through the root system. In reality, very few gardens contain optimum soil and growing conditions. Some areas may have slow drainage and require careful selection of plants tolerant of these conditions. The best shrubs for very wet soil offer beautiful foliage and let landscapers plant in areas with poor drainage.

Rose of Sharon

Gardeners consider rose of Sharon one of the hardiest shrubs in the landscape. This versatile plant grows up to 8 feet tall with an average width of 4 feet. Rose of Sharon blooms late in the summer with wide flowers featuring a dark inner throat. Flowers appear in pink, white and purple with certain varieties showing blue colorations. Rose of Sharon prefers well-drained soil but can tolerate wet conditions as long as the soil dries occasionally. It is vital to add peat moss, humus and compost to the planting area to increase the organic matter in the soil. These additives also encourage better drainage and break up compacted soil. Rose of Sharon seeds prolifically when placed in a good location so smaller plants may sprout near the parent plant.


Winterberry can be found in swamps and damp areas of the forest. These shrubs like to grow wild along riverbanks to benefit from the continual moisture. Gardening enthusiasts consider winterberry a wetland holly even though the plant drops its pointy leaves in the fall. The leaf drop makes way for a stunning display of bright red berries. Winterberry can grow up to 8 feet high and prefers partial shade to full sun. This hardy plant can handle neglect and works well in poorly drained soils.

Wax Myrtle

Wax myrtle thrives in moist soil conditions. Gardeners often treat wax myrtle as a tree because this plant can reach heights of 30 feet or more. Regular pruning controls rampant growth. Wax myrtle features a saw-like pointed leaf that emits a delicate fragrance when crushed. Wax myrtle produces small clusters of flowers and fruit in the late summer. Its fruit can be used to make candles. This plant thrives in marshes, swamps, brackish areas and deep woods, making the wax myrtle a perfect choice for a large, poorly drained area of the landscape.

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