Skip to main content

Wet soil can drown most plants — but not these 13 shrubs

Have you ever heard of a plant not liking wet feet? It’s true; some plants don’t like their roots to be soaked for too long. Many plants don’t do well or will die in overly wet conditions. So what can you plant in wet soil, and how is wet soil defined?

What is wet soil?

While wet soil is almost impossible to define consistently from gardener to gardener, it’s agreed that wet soil is not swamp conditions. If the soil is so wet that it drips with water when you scoop it up, that’s swamp conditions. If the soil clumps together and leaves your hands wet, that’s wet soil. Many plants would not do well in soil that stays this wet for the majority of the time. There are, however, many plants that thrive and prefer this kind of environment.

Why do some plants hate moist soil?

While it may not seem like it, our earth-loving friends also need oxygen for their roots to grow properly. The more oxygen a plant’s roots get, the better it is at absorbing nutrients. This fact alone is how hydroponics works, but it is also why some plants do not do well in hydroponics.

When soil is too wet, it does not allow the plant’s roots to get enough oxygen, and eventually, the plant drowns. This usually leads to root rot. For bigger plants such as trees, wet soil can be too soft and not supportive enough. Trees in this condition are at risk of falling over due to a lack of support.

grass in wet soil

What shrubs do well in wet soil?

Even though they are not all included here, these are some of the shrubs that love wet soil. For a full list of shrubs, trees, and ground cover plants that love damp soil, check out this list from Penn State.


There are an astounding number of shrubs that do well in wet conditions.

  • Red chokeberry
  • Black chokeberry
  • Sweetshrub
  • Button Bush
  • Summersweet
  • Redosier dogwood
  • Possumhaw
  • Winterberry
  • Virginia sweetspire
  • Pinksterbloom azalea
  • Highbush blueberry
  • Arrowwood viburnum
  • American Cranberrybush
Marilyn Barbone/Shutterstock

Tips for water-loving roots

These kinds of shrubs can be a great addition to a wet yard; however, there are a few things to keep in mind. Because these plants love water and usually need a lot of water to grow and be healthy, they can reduce the amount of water in the surrounding area. This can become a problem when they run out of water and go searching for it someplace else.

Wet soil-loving plants tend to have expansive root systems, and they might find their way to a pipe and break in. If they are planted too close to a home, there could potentially be pipe damage in the future — something to keep in mind when considering where to plant one of these beautiful plants or shrubs.

Some veggies like wet conditions, too

If you have a green thumb and want to enjoy a few fresh, homegrown  vegetables, that soggy area can produce some wonderful produce, as well.

While most root vegetables don’t do well in wet soil, try planting the skirret carrot, which is widely grown in Japan and China. It loves wet soil and can be prepared just like you would regular carrots.

Asparagus is another vegetable that likes damp soil. In fact, you’ll sometimes find it growing wild in ditches. Other plants that do well with damp or wet soil include taro, rhubarb, Tanier spinach, mint, pear trees, fox grapes, red raspberries, and strawberries,

It can sometimes be hard to know what to plant where, and when you have a tough situation like wet soil, it can get even more challenging. However, with these options, you can fill the spaces on your property that are damp or suffer from poor drainage. These plants will not disappoint with their hardiness and ability to be happy with wet feet.

Meanwhile, do you know that some plants thrive in wet climates? Read on to learn more about it.

Editors' Recommendations

Rebecca Wolken
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Rebecca's has written for Bob Villa and a Cincinnati based remodeling company. When she's not writing about home remodeling…
9 low-maintenance outdoor potted plants your patio needs to be its brightest, most inviting self this summer
Add color to your patio with these low-maintenance potted plants
A patio with colorful potted plants surrounding a bench.

It's hard to resist the call of warm weather. Sitting outside on your patio with your friends or just a good book can be so relaxing, and adding your favorite flowers to the mix makes it even more so! Some bright colors and interesting plants could liven up this gathering spot, but what if your thumb isn't even remotely green? No problem. We've collected our 9 favorite low-maintenance outdoor potted plants for you to add to your patio. Whether you need sun-loving flowers, plants that prefer shade, or shrubs to fill the space, this guide to low-maintenance patio plants is sure to satisfy.

Have a patio that gets baked by the sun all day? Try these plants
Many of our favorite plants would wither up and die if exposed to the harsh sun all through the day. Here are some sun-loving beauties that thrive in full sun and are resistant to drought. 
Marigolds are one of the most popular flowering plants to place in pots on front porches or back decks. With their bright yellow and orange blooms, it's easy to see why! Not only are they gorgeous flowers, but they require almost effortless care. They prefer to dry out between waterings, and they love full sun. That means you can let them hang out in the sun and not worry about killing them if you miss a watering day.

Read more
These are the best zone 9 fruit trees we’ve found
From lemons to peaches, here are the fruits to grow in zone 9
Peaches in a container

There are 13 climate zones on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, and zone 9 offers one of the best areas to grow fresh produce, including several fruits that you probably already love. Long summers and mild winters define this region, which stretches across the southernmost part of the U.S. Though the short winters can pose challenges for plants that require a chilling period to grow and bloom, the extended growing season in this area is welcoming for fruit growth. Long story short, there is never a shortage of zone 9 fruit trees to try out.

If you live in zone 9, pull out your favorite fruit recipes — below, we've put together a guide that tells you everything you need to know about zone 9, as well as the lush fruit trees that thrive in it!

Read more
The 6 best zone 6 fruit trees you can grow for a delicious harvest
Plant these fruit trees if you live in zone 6
PIcking an apple from an apple tree

Zone 6 is a beautiful ribbon of climates running through the continental United States, and it happens to be one of the zones where the widest variety of plants can grow, meaning you have plenty of zone 6 fruit trees to choose from! This zone's warm summers and relatively mild winters make the perfect mix for many fruit trees, bringing beauty and delicious fruit to any backyard or homestead. If you're looking for the best fruit trees to add to your zone 6 garden, then you're in the right place! Here are our top 6 fruit trees that will thrive in your garden.

1. Apple trees
As with many plant species, there are numerous varieties of apples. Not all of these can be grown successfully in zone 6. However, several popular favorites grow and thrive in this climate. Among these are varieties like gala, red halareds, liberty and red McIntosh, dwarf Honeycrisp, and Lodi apples.

Read more