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Best Plants for Landscaping in Wet Yards: Ideal Choices for Rainy Cities


Landscaping in cities with high rainfall can be challenging due to the soggy soil conditions that prevail. However, choosing the right plants that thrive in wet conditions can transform a damp yard into a lush, vibrant garden. This blog post highlights the best plants for landscaping in wet yards, specifically tailored to major U.S. cities known for their wetter climates, such as Seattle, Portland, and New Orleans.

Trees for Wet Yards

1. Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)

  • Location: New Orleans, Portland
  • Benefits: Thrives in standing water and is perfect for very wet areas. Its feathery foliage and majestic stature add dramatic appeal to large spaces.

2. Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

  • Location: Seattle, Portland
  • Benefits: Adapts well to wet soil and provides stunning fall color, making it a popular choice for residential landscapes in rainy areas.

3. Willow (Salix spp.)

  • Location: Seattle, New Orleans
  • Benefits: Willows are quintessential water-loving trees. Their rapid growth and graceful form are ideal for creating a naturalistic landscape in wet conditions.

Shrubs for Wet Yards

1. Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)

  • Location: Portland, Seattle
  • Benefits: Known for its bright red berries in winter, winterberry needs moist soil to thrive and provides excellent color in a water-rich garden.

2. Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

  • Location: New Orleans, Seattle
  • Benefits: A native shrub with unique spherical white flowers that attract pollinators. It is ideal for wet spots and adds biodiversity to the garden.

3. Inkberry (Ilex glabra)

  • Location: Seattle, Portland
  • Benefits: This evergreen shrub tolerates wet conditions well and offers a compact, rounded form that is perfect for hedges and foundation plantings.

Perennials for Wet Yards

1. Hosta

  • Location: Seattle, Portland
  • Benefits: Hostas thrive in moist, shaded areas and offer a variety of sizes and leaf colors, providing a lush, ground-covering texture to damp gardens.

2. Astilbe

  • Location: Portland, Seattle
  • Benefits: Known for its feather-like flowers and fern-like foliage, Astilbe thrives in shady, wet locations and adds vibrant color and texture.

3. Japanese Iris (Iris ensata)

  • Location: Seattle, New Orleans
  • Benefits: Loves standing water and blooms spectacularly in late spring to early summer. The elegant flowers make it a focal point in wet garden settings.

Ferns for Wet Yards

1. Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea)

  • Location: Portland, Seattle
  • Benefits: With its large fronds and distinctive fertile fronds that turn a cinnamon color, it thrives in moist, acidic soil typical of rainy regions.

2. Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis)

  • Location: Seattle, New Orleans
  • Benefits: Royal ferns can grow in waterlogged soil, making them excellent for areas that remain consistently wet.


Landscaping in cities with high rainfall requires selecting plants that not only manage but also thrive in wet conditions. Seattle, Portland, and New Orleans are prime examples of such environments where these trees, shrubs, perennials, and ferns can create a thriving garden despite the challenges posed by excess moisture. By choosing the right plants for your wet yard, you can enjoy a lush, low-maintenance landscape that embraces the local climate.

Posted on March 13, 2024

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