The Best Plants For Wet Soil in Memphis TN

Michael Hatcher

May 3, 2021 9:00:12 AM

Soggy soil is great for making mud pies, but most plants don’t like it.

Think about walking around in wet socks. Yuck. That’s how most plants feel.

But if your property has areas where the soil takes a while to dry out after it rains, or even stays wet most of the time, you’re in luck.

Some plants don’t mind wet feet.

Here’s a look at some of the best plants for wet soil in the Mid-South.

Cardinal Flower

Unlike other plants that develop rot in wet areas, cardinal flowers thrive.

This native wildflower has brilliant red flowers with unique, perky petals, offering a showy display.

Watch for hummingbirds— they love to pollinate it.Cardinal Flower

Bee Balm

You’ll make lots of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds happy by planting bee balm.

You’ll love it, too — its cheerful pink or red flowers really brighten up the landscape, and it blooms throughout the warm season.

One note: don’t crowd it. Bee balm is susceptible to powdery mildew if it doesn’t have good air circulation.Bee Balm


Lacy, green, and lush, ferns perk up any part of the landscape, but several varieties are among the best plants for wet soil:

  • Cinnamon fern
  • Royal fern
  • Painted fern
  • Marsh fern
  • Holly fern
Painted Fern

Elephant Ear

Big, exotic showstoppers grown for their striking leaves, elephant ears need sun, but love damp, even bog-like soil.

They range in color from green to purple to even black. They’ll add drama to your soggy soil.Caladium - Elephant Ear

Virginia Sweetspire

Long tassels of white flowers and pretty fall foliage in red, orange, and gold make this shrub a great addition to any property, but are among the top plants for wet soil in the Mid-South.

Don’t stop at just one. While single plants are sort of straggly, the mounding Virginia Sweetspire is stunning in mass plantings.Virginia Sweetspire

Common Ginger Lily

Large, striking flowers rising on tall stems with tropical foliage make ginger lily a flashy addition to your property.

Its flowers are deliciously fragrant, so if you need a boost, take a stroll for a sniffing break.Common Ginger Lily


The bright red berries of this native holly shrub will brighten up the gray winter landscape. (You’ll need both a male and a female plant to get those striking red berries.)
It’s pretty in summer, too, with its glossy green leaves that turn yellow in the fall.Winterberry

Bald Cypress

A beautiful specimen tree, bald cypress is the classic tree of southern swamps.

This tough and hardy native is known for the russet-red fall color of its lacy needles.Taxodium Distichum Bald_Cypress

River Birch

The name of this native tree gives away its soil preference.

Often found in the wet areas along rivers, it has attractive exfoliating bark. Plant them in clumps for a striking addition to your property.River Birch

Red Maple

You can’t go wrong with a red maple. It offers spectacular fall color, grows fast, and produces dainty clusters of red or yellow flowers winter to spring.

Bonus: it’s happy in wet soil.Red maple

All Soggy Soil Isn’t the Same

While all these plants like wet soil in general, some soggy spots on your property are wetter than others, and certain plants might be better suited to those spots.

Some soil holds onto water for a while after it rains, but eventually dries out.

Other areas may stay wet most of the time.

Plant pros can help you sort out the best flowers, ferns, shrubs, and trees for wet soil on your property.

Need the Best Plants for Wet Soil in the Mid-South? Trust Hatcher

You have enough on your plate without worrying if your plants are drowning.

Rest easy once you know you have the best plants for wet soil happily growing in those soggy areas of your property.

Let us help you choose the plants and materials to create an impressive plan for your commercial landscaping. Talk to one of our commercial landscaping experts today! We’ll meet at your property, create a custom plan, and get you on your way to enjoying a beautiful, worry-free property.

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Image Source: Cardinal Flower, Bee Balm, Painted Fern, Elephant Ear, Virginia Sweetspire, Common Ginger Lily, Winterberry, Bald Cypress, River Birch, Red Maple

Michael Hatcher

Written by Michael Hatcher

Michael Hatcher is Founder and Chairman of Michael Hatcher & Associates.