Looking for year-round greenery, but your planting location has soil that never seems to dry out properly? Fortunately, there are quite a few plants to choose from! Here are 18 evergreens for wet soil that you can consider for your landscape.
As you plan your gardens, you may find it difficult to get the perfect terrain, especially when some landscapes have areas that stay pretty wet. Fortunately, there are plenty of pretty shrubs and greenery that love wet soil. Here is a list of evergreen shrubs that like wet soil and more tips about where to plant them.
1. Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) is evergreen tree that is very tolerant of wet soil . As natural swamp trees, these plants are also adaptable to intermittent flooding, making them excellent evergreens to plant in moist, boggy areas.
This evergreen tree is commonly seen in swamps but makes a great privacy screen in the yard as long as it gets enough water. Plant this tree in rich, slightly acidic soil and use it for privacy in large yards.
Growing about 1-2 feet per year, these trees grow to about 70 feet tall. These versatile trees can be grown in a wide range of climates, from Zones 4-10.
2. Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
These triangular-shaped evergreen shrubs love zones 2 through 8 and survive in boggier landscapes. These deciduous trees grow an additional 3 to 4 feet per year, depending on the variety. While many are conical in shape, others are rounded and other shapes. Adding organic matter to the soil will help them grow nicely as well.
3. American Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)
These broadleaf evergreens for wet soil have great fall foliage. You will see them in hues such as yellow, red, orange, and burgundy. They have snow-white flowers that bloom in spring and red fruits seen in September. These plants grow to be 8 – 12 feet in height.
4. Inkberry (Ilex glabra)
This plant gets its name from the dark fruit is produces. It is also known as the gallberry. This comes from the fact that black ink was once made from the galls of oaks. This spring, blooming plants prefer partial shade and acidic soil. They are toxic to pets and people, but are certainly tolerant of wet soil.
5. Hardy Anise (Illicium parviflorum)
This upright tree is on the smaller side and loves wet conditions. It can be grown in partial shade or full shade. When fully grown, it reaches about 20 feet in height. These do great as a hedge along a backyard or near a fence as a foundation plant. These plants are great because they are deer resistant as well.
6. Chinese Swamp Cypress (Glyptostrobus pensilis)
This endangered conifer is the sole living genus of Glyptostobus. These tall deciduous trees reach about 98 feet in height! Their trunks are about 3.5 feet in diameter. They have long-winged seeds that drop in the fall and are lovely plants that like wet areas.
7. Wax Myrtle (Morella cerifera)
This beautiful plant can reach a height of 20 feet. It has a mildly spicy fragrance and little blue berries that come out in the winter. You will see these plants, most commonly from New Jersey to Oklahoma and Texas. These are wonderful screen plants around the border of your landscape or in a particular location along the fence.
8. Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
Southern magnolia trees have large white flowers that bloom in spring and summer. They have dark green leaves with a shiny green hue and red underneath. They grow to be about 70 feet tall and 40 feet wide. They have a slow to medium growth rate but don’t mind wet soil.
9. American Holly (Ilex opaca)
This plant is also known as the white holly, prickly holly, evergreen holly, Christmas holly, and Yule holly. It has many fun names. It grows to be about 25 feet tall and sometimes as tall as 60 feet in warmer areas. It gets new growth in the spring, and you will see bright red berries on the female plants.
10. Princess Flower (Tibouchina urvilleana)
This gorgeous wetland shrub is called Lasiandra and the purple glory bush. These fast-growing plants quickly reach heights of about 7 feet tall. Caring for these plants is very simple and attracts hummingbirds and butterflies all season long.
11. Florida Anise (Illicium floridanum)
You will find this evergreen shrub along shady stream beds or in moist areas of the woods. They greatly resist insects and disease and have become widely popular in gardening today. In the spring, they bloom maroon or purple flowers. These plants prefer planting zones 6 to 9.
12. Shining Fetterbush (Lyonia lucida)
The shinyleaf or fetterbush is a smaller plant (only 3-6 feet tall). They have urn shaped flowers that bloom in the late spring. This plant love acidic soil and doesn’t mind wet soil. The foliage on this plant is glossy-green and leathery. It is one of many native shrubs to North America.
13. Florida Leucothoe (Agarista populifolia)
Florida Leucothoe (Agarista populifolia) is a busy shrub is also known as the hobblebush or doghobble. It is native to North Caroline and Florida, as well as Alabama. It loves hardiness zones 7a to 9b. When in bloom it has fragrant white flowers on the underside of its branches. These plants grow to be 8 to 12 feet.
14. Leatherwood (Cyrilla racemiflora)
These deciduous trees are native to North America and are most common in coastal and piedmont regions. It has cinnamon-colored bark when young, and its mature bark appears flaky. The summer flowers are white, and the fall foliage is orange-red in color. They are lovely ornamental trees for the home landscape, and pollinators love them. This plant prefers moist to wet well-drained soil with tons of organic matter.
15. Japanese Fatsia (Fatsia japonica)
The leaves on this plant are outrageous! They are so unique in shape and the little buds on them are very cool to look at. The Japanese Fatsia grows to about 10 feet. The plant loves to grow in deep shade and produces clusters of white flowers that resemble dandelion puffs.
16. Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
This plant is also known as the Michigan Holly, Black Alder, and Common Winterberry. These are not, in fact, evergreen, and the green foliage turns black when the first frost hits. They are considered evergreen, though, because the red clusters of berries remain on the branches even through winter. They readily attract birds all year long.
17. Coastal Leucothoe (Leucothoe axillari)
This broadleaf shrub tolerates drought but is also fine with wetlands. It does however need about six hours of sunlight to keep leaf spot diseases at bay. The plant grows about 2 to 4 feet in height with 1 to 3 inch flowers. It also have dark brown fruit that grows seasonally. They love hardiness zones 6 through 9.
18. Devilwood (Osmanthus americanus)
This plant is also known as wild olive. It has clusters of long, glossy, green leaves that surround black olive like fruit. They resemble small cherries or very tiny olives, hence their nicknames. They have very fragrant blossoms and prefer rich, moist, or dry soil. They grow up to 30 feet in height and thrive in wet areas.
19. Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal minor)
This is a small shrub that thrives in warmer climates. It prefers warmer hardiness zones that you find in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. You will often see them in lowlands, rivers, swamps, and floodplains. They have a high heat tolerance as well.
Many factors determine how well your shrubs will grow, but these species will surely thrive in swampy parts, wetlands, and areas without great drainage. You don’t have to worry about the moisture in the soil when caring for these evergreens. Once planted in the ground, they require minimal care, and you don’t have to worry about periodically flooded conditions. Enjoy these fun shrubs year-round!
What are the best low-maintenance evergreen shrubs wet soil?
American Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)
Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
Inkberry (Ilex glabra)
Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
Hardy Anise (Illicium parviflorum)
Which wet soil tolerant evergreens are good for hedges?
Emerald Green Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald Green’)
Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera)
Victory Pyracantha (Pyracantha koidzumii ‘Victory’)
Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
- Colorado State University Extension, Evergreen Shrubs
- University of Missouri Extension, Selecting Landscape Plants: Broad-leaved Evergreens
- University of Minnesota Extension, Choosing evergreens for your landscapes
- PennState Extension, Evergreen Native Plants