Zone 6 herbaceous perennials

How many times have you seen in a plant description the phrases “resents wet feet”? or “likes moist but well-drained soil”? Plant roots need oxygen and the water prevents them from getting it so many plants can’t tolerate a lot of water. Unfortunately, there always seem to be some areas of the garden that are wet. Most are not wet all the time but have periods when they can not absorb all the water than pours down on them. Poor drainage is a challenging problem and sometimes native plants are the best solution. Take a look at the wet bottom lands around your area and you will see that there are some very attractive ones that do well.

Here are five easy to grow herbaceous native plants that can grow in moist soils. Some can even tolerate occasional flooding.

Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)
A native of damp thickets and wet meadows, blue vervain also does well with average moisture. The purple-blue spikes of flowers open from the bottom up and last for weeks. The plant will bloom a second time if it is deadheaded and will self-seed if you don’t pick the flowers. The flowers provide nectar for butterflies and the larva of buckeye butterflies use it as a host plant.

  • Height: 3-5’
    Bloom Time: Mid to late summer
    Light: Full sun to partial sun
    Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Bonset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
Large clusters of small white flowers bloom for weeks from summer to autumn above course, hairy, crinkly leaves. And all that time butterflies visit for nectar. Although boneset prefers moist soil it will grow in drier soil as long as it has abundant sun light. Bonset is tall but has strong stems and does not flop.

  • Height: 2-5’
    Bloom Time: Mid-summer to autumn
    Light: Full sun
    Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Bottle Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii)
For color and shape, the unique flowers of bottle gentian can’t be beat. The deep blue flowers never actually open and so they retain the bottle shape that gives the plant its name. The flowers are pollinated by bumblebees that have to find their way into the flowers to do their work. A great plant for the front of the garden near a wet spot such as under a downspout but it will also grow in average soil moisture.


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DALY: Use care when planting around septic drainfields  — Gwinnettdailypost.com
Shallow rooted annual and perennial herbaceous plants can be planted closer to the drain fields since they do not have invasive roots. Turfgrass can be grown over the drain field and is beneficial since it helps hold the soil in place.

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