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What to Plant in a Boggy Garden

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If you have an area, usually near a stream or a low lying area that just never dries out and feels spongy, porous and wet most of the time, cattails are not the only plant you can grow!  It is the ideal habitat for a fantastic range of plants. 

When choosing your plants, always keep in mind, your zone, the amount of light in your area, and how large the plant you are considering will grow. One of my favorite boggy plants, Gunnera manicata, can produce leaves of more than 10 feet in diameter!  So keep size in mind to ensure the plants will not hog space or sunshine from the other plants on your list.

Here is a list of some of the more popular bog loving plants.  There are many more, so if this isn't what you are looking for, ask your local nursery, I am sure they have a few plants that are native to your area that they can suggest.


These wonderful plants come in such a wide range of colors, they really can't be beat.  Their flowers are feathery and soft.  They have another bonus, they like dapled sun to shade. Depending on the variety, they grow from 6" to 4' tall and range from zones 3 to 8.


I LOVE this plant, unfortaunately for me, it isn't hardy in my zone.  That's really a good thing because my garden is not very large and this one is for large gardens only. They have huge, kidney shaped leaves and tall, bottle brush flower spikes. They prefer part sun but in cooler climates may need full sun.  They don't like very hot and humid weather. G. manicata can grow to 8' tall. Zone 7 to 10 depending on the species.


Is a very versatile plant, grows just as well in a boggy site as it does on a dry one as long as it's protected from the hot sun.  There is a huge assortment of foliage colors, shapes and sizes, some Hosta have fragrant flowers.  Do some research and find one that best fits your needs. There are so many to choose from, I am certain you will find one you love.  Can grow from 6" to 4' tall depending on the variety and are hardy to zone 3.


Many species are suited for boggy sites, as well as to stream side ones. They come in a variety of colors.  The size varies greatly as well.  The crested iris is 6" and the Eolian iris can grow to 42".  Several varieties are fragrant as well.  Do a little shopping around and find the one that best fits your garden design. The zone varies depending on species, some are hardy to zone 3 while others only can tolerate the winter temperatures of zone 7.  None can handle hotter climates than zone 9.

Pontederia cordata:  

Also known as Pickerel rush and is a nice bog plant with it's dark green, heart shaped leaves and blue or white flower spikes.  It does best in full sun and can grow to 4 1/2' tall. It is hardy in zones 3-11


 There is an enormous choice among the bog primulas in terms of color, size and form. Do a little research, find out what it is you're looking for before you buy. They vary in hardiness zone as well, but most do not tolerate the heat above zone 8.

Thalia dealbata: 

This plant is known as a water canna. It is native to swamp lands and marshes in the southern U.S and Mexico. It has ovate to lance shaped leaves and produces violet flowers on thin panicles.  It prefers a sunny location and can grow to 10' tall. Grows in zone 7 through 9.

Trollius europaeus:

Also known as Globe flower..  it's a hardy buttercup like plant with very rich, golden, yellow and orange flowers.  It prefers sun or part shade and can grow to 3' tall.  Hardiness zone 5-8

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