What will grow in a wet woods?

gwtamaraJanuary 1, 2013

Posted by Donna - 6: My husband and I have been trying to reintroduce natives to an old forest. Lots of wildflowers have reappeared as we have cleared scrub. We have three types of Trillium, Dwarf Larkspur, Wild Phlox, Celandine Poppies, Cimicifuga, Early and Zigzag Spiderworts, Wild Hyacinths, 9 types of ferns, etc. The site has a gradual slope leading down to a spring. It's the boggy area immediately surrounding the spring that's giving me fits. I can't use water plants because this area dries up Aug-Sept.

The rest of the year, I don't like the look of a giant mud puddle with nothing in it. Whatever goes in must take standing water for much of the late winter and early spring. It's high dense shade during the summer. HELP!

phil hosick - 4b: Have you considered modifying your spring?

We are putting in a 'natural' bog garden this spring. We hope to purchase an old pool liner, dig a hole and put the liner down. Then we will put a good layer of black muck over the liner and fill with water throughout the year. Plants I have observed growing: blue flag(wild iris), boneset, marsh marigold, bulrushes, cardinal flower.

Kirk Johnson Zone9 Oregon: Phil, if you can find a source for Bentonite clay, it should work better than a liner to keep moisture in a seasonal bog. A liner is likely to get pushed up by moisture underneath it, especially if there are any springs. Bentonite is sold by the bag in a powdered form, the local cranberry growers use it to line cranberry bogs. Petasites japonicus is listed as hardy in Zone 3.

Alex T. - 5: Yellow Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton) or Jack-in-the-Pulpits could work for you. Globe Flower (Trollius) has been known to thrive in standing water, as they like their feet to be wet.

Marcia Taylor: Japanese Iris can also stand wet feet. You could try some cat-tails.

Susan Tice: A few suggestions for tall perennials that don't mind wet feet. Most of these will tolerate or prefer at least part shade.

Aconitum spp. (Monkshood) 3-4 feet; Eupatorium maculatum (Joe Pye Weed) 4-6 feet; Delphiniums 3-6 feet These like lots of moisture and are very hardy but don't like to be soggy; Digitalis purpurea (Foxgloves) 4-6 feet; Filipendula palmata 3-4+ feet; Helenium autumnale 3-5 feet; Lobelia spp. L.cardinalis and L.siphilitica 2-4 feet; Lysimachia clethroides (Gooseneck Loosestrife) 2-4 feet; Pyhsostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) 3-4 feet;

Barb Mich Z5: Don't overlook boneset, flowering rush, monkey flower, wild for-get-me-not (not the dry land one usually sold), wild geranium, marsh marigold, wild ginger, blue and yellow flags. You could try the native Clematis virginiana,

Old Man's Beard, let it cover the weeds and choke them out,

then keep it pruned back. Some beautiful Viburnums are high-bush cranberry (big clusters of white flowers followed by red berries), arrowwood with blue berries and handsome leaves. Red elderberry is wonderful in wet shade....

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