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Plants for Damp or Wet Areas

Plants marked with an * are more tolerant of very wet or periodically flooded conditions. When selecting plants using this list, remember that a number of factors determine the suitability of a plant for a particular location. In addition to adaptability to moisture, also consider light requirements, soil type, hardiness and heat tolerance, and other factors.

Trees (Botanical Name – Common Name)

Tall Deciduous Trees
(50 feet or more in height at maturity)

  • *Acer rubrum – Red Maple
  • *Carya illinoinensis – Pecan
  • Catalpa species – Catalpa
  • *Fraxinus pennsylvanica – Green Ash
  • *Liquidambar styraciflua – Sweet Gum
  • Metasequoia glyptostroboides – Dawn Redwood
  • *Platanus occidentalis – Sycamore
  • *Quercus bicolor – Swamp White Oak
  • *Quercus nigra – Water Oak
  • Quercus palustris – Pin Oak
  • *Quercus phellos – Willow Oak
  • *Salix species – Willows
  • *Taxodium ascendens – Pond Cypress
  • *Taxodium distichum – Bald Cypress

Medium Deciduous Trees
(30 to 50 feet in height at maturity)

  • Asimina triloba – Pawpaw
  • *Betula nigra – River Birch
  • *Carpinus caroliniana – Ironwood
  • *Diospyros virginiana – Persimmon
  • Gleditsia triacanthos – Honey Locust
  • Magnolia macrophylla – Bigleaf Magnolia
  • *Nyssa aquatica – Water Tupelo
  • *Nyssa sylvatica – Black Gum
  • *Quercus laurifolia – Laurel Oak

Small Deciduous Trees
(under 30 feet in height at maturity)

  • Amelanchier arborea – Juneberry
  • Chionanthus virginicus – Fringetree
  • Cornus alternifolia – Pagoda Dogwood
  • Halesia carolina – Carolina Silverbell
  • Hamamelis virginiana – Witch Hazel
  • Magnolia tripetala – Umbrella Magnolia
  • Ostrya virginiana – Hop Hornbeam
  • Styrax americanus – American Snowbell

Evergreen Trees

  • *Chamaecyparis thyoides – White Cedar
  • *Gordonia lasianthus – Loblolly Bay
  • Ilex cassine – Dahoon
  • Ilex opaca – American Holly
  • Magnolia grandiflora – Southern Magnolia
  • *Magnolia virginiana – Sweet Bay
  • *Pinus elliotti – Slash Pine
  • *Pinus taeda – Loblolly Pine
  • Sabal palmetto – Cabbage Palm

Shrubs (Botanical Name – Common Name)

Evergreen Shrubs

  • Agarista populifolia – Florida Leucothoe
  • Cyrilla racemiflora – Leatherwood
  • Fatsia japonica – Japanese Fatsia
  • *Ilex glabra – Inkberry
  • Ilex verticillata – Winterberry
  • Ilex vomitoria – Yaupon Holly
  • Illicium floridanum – Florida Anise
  • Leucothoe axillaris – Coastal Leucothoe
  • Myrica cerifera – Wax Myrtle
  • Osmanthus americanus – Devilwood
  • Sabal minor – Dwarf Palmetto
  • Thuja occidentalis – American Arborvitae

Deciduous Shrubs

  • Aesculus parviflora – Bottlebrush Buckeye
  • Aronia arbutifolia – Red Chokeberry
  • Baccharis halimifolis – Groundsel Tree
  • Callicarpa americana – American Beautyberry
  • Calycanthus floridus – Sweetshrub
  • *Cephalanthus occidentalis – Buttonbush
  • Chimonanthus praecox – Wintersweet
  • *Clethra alnifolia – Summersweet
  • *Cornus sericea – Redtwig Dogwood
  • Forsythia species – Forsythia
  • Fothergilla species – Fothergilla
  • *Ilex decidua – Possumhaw
  • *Itea virginica – Virginia Sweetspire
  • *Lindera species – Spicebush
  • Rhododendron atlanticum – Coast Azalea
  • Rhododendron viscosum – Swamp Azalea
  • Rhodotypos scandens – Jetbead
  • Rosa carolina – Carolina Rose
  • Rosa palustris – Swamp Rose
  • Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis – American Elderberry
  • Spiraea x vanhouttei – Bridal Wreath Spiraea
  • Vaccinium arboreum – Farkleberry
  • Viburnum opulus – Cranberry Viburnum
  • Xanthorhiza simplicissima – Yellowroot
  • Zenobia pulverulenta – Dusty Zenobia

Groundcovers & Vines (Botanical Name – Common Name)

  • Ajuga species – Carpet Bugle
  • Aspidistra elatior – Cast Iron Plant
  • Bignonia capreolata – Cross Vine
  • Campsis radicans – Trumpet Creeper
  • Convallaria majalis – Lily of the Valley
  • Decumaria barbara – Wild Climbing Hydrangea
  • Gelsemium sempervirens – Carolina Jessamine
  • Hydrangea anomola petiolaris – Climbing Hydrangea
  • Liriope spicata – Liriope
  • Lonicera sempervirens – Trumpet Honeysuckle
  • Smilax smallii – Jackson Vine
  • Wisteria frutescens – American Wisteria

Ferns (Botanical Name – Common Name)

  • Athyrium filix-femina – Lady Fern
  • Athyrium nipponicum – Painted Fern
  • Cyrtomium falcatum – Holly Fern
  • Dryopteris erythrosora – Autumn Fern
  • Dryopteris filix-mas – Male Fern
  • Matteuccia pennsylvanica – Ostrich Fern
  • Onoclea sensibilis – Sensitive Fern
  • Osmunda cinnamonea – Cinnamon Fern
  • *Osmunda regalis – Royal Fern
  • Thelypteris palustris – Marsh Fern

Ornamental Grasses (Botanical Name – Common Name)

  • *Arundo donax – Giant Reed
  • *Carex species – Sedges
  • Chasmanthium latifolium – Northern Sea Oats
  • Schizachyrium scoparium – Little Bluestem
  • Sorghastrum nutans – Indian Grass
  • Spartina pectinata – Cordgrass

Perennials & Bulbs (Botanical Name – Common Name)

  • *Acorus calamus – Sweet Flag
  • *Acorus gramineus – Dwarf Sweet Flag
  • *Alocasia macrorrhiza – Giant Alocasia
  • Arisaema triphyllum – Jack-in-the-Pulpit
  • *Asclepias incarnata – Swamp Milkweed
  • Aspidistra elatior – Cast Iron Plant
  • Aster novae-angliae – New England Aster
  • Astilbe x arendsii – Astilbe
  • *Canna species – Canna
  • Chelone species – Turtlehead
  • Cimicifuga species – Bugbane
  • *Colocasia esculenta – Elephants Ear
  • Convallaria majalis – Lily Of The Valley
  • *Crinum americanum – Swamp Lily
  • Crinum species – Crinum
  • Eupatorium purpureum – Joe-Pye Weed
  • *Filipendula species – Meadow Sweet
  • Galium odoratum – Sweet Woodruff
  • Hedychium species – Ginger Lily
  • *Helianthus angustifolius – Swamp Sunflower
  • Hemerocallis hybrids and species – Daylily
  • *Hibiscus coccineus – Scarlet Swamp Hibiscus
  • Hibiscus species – Rose Mallow
  • Houttuynia cordata – Houttuynia
  • *Hymenocallis – Spider Lily
  • *Iris ensata – Japanese Iris
  • *Iris hybrids – Louisiana Iris
  • *Iris laevigata – Rabbitear Iris
  • *Iris pseudacorus – Yellow Flag
  • Iris sibirica – Siberian Iris
  • *Iris virginica – Southern Blue Flag
  • *Leucojum aestivum – Summer Snowflake
  • Ligularia species – Ligularia
  • *Lobelia cardinalis – Cardinal Flower
  • *Lobelia siphilitica – Blue Cardinal Flower
  • *Lysimachia clethroides – Gooseneck Loosestrife
  • *Lysimachia punctata – Yellow Loosestrife
  • Malvaviscus arboreus – Turks Cap
  • Mentha species – Mints
  • Mertensia virginica – Virginia Bluebell
  • Monarda species – Bee Balm
  • Myosotis scorpioides – Forget-Me-Not
  • Physostegia virginiana – Obedient Plant
  • *Rhexia virginica – Meadow Beauty
  • Smilacina racemosa – False Solomon’s Seal
  • Tiarella cordifolia – Foam Flower
  • Tradescantia virginiana – Spiderwort
  • Tricyrtis formosana – Toad Lily
  • Vernonia noveboracensis – Ironweed
  • *Xanthosoma atrovirens – Taro
  • *Zantedeschia aethopica – Calla Lily
  • Zephyranthes atamasca – Atamasco Lily
  • Zephyranthes candida – Rain Lily

Annuals (Botanical Name – Common Name)

  • Asperula orientalis – Blue Woodruff
  • Impatiens varieties – Impatiens
  • *Mimulus alatus – Monkey Flower
  • Solenostemon cultivars – Coleus
  • Viola cultivars – Pansy

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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