Special care must be taken in landscape areas that are wetter than average. They may be low areas that accumulate rainwater or areas near lakefronts. Each area requires different management strategies. 

Low areas in home landscapes often accumulate water, causing grass and other landscape plants to die, or they become infected with fungi. 

How can you best manage this? Consider installing a rain garden. 

Rain gardens are great options for locations that naturally accumulate water and for areas where water is directed to. When selecting plants for a rain garden, think about how much time the area spends inundated with water. Locations that have extended dry periods benefit from using wetland plants. Wetland plants have adapted to handle times of water inundation and drought. If your rain garden is wet most of the time, you can select plants that require more constant amounts of water. 

Plant options

Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) Height: 4 ft. Spread: 4 ft. Soil: Well-drained to wet, drought tolerant.

Canna lily (Canna spp.) Height: 6 ft. Spread: 3 ft. Soil: Wet, not drought tolerant.

Blue flag iris (Iris virginica) Height: 4 ft. Spread:  1 ft. Soil: Wet, not drought tolerant.

Button bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) Height: 6-20 ft. Spread: 6-8 ft. Soil: Wet, not drought tolerant.

African iris (Dietes iridioides) Height: 3 ft. Spread: 2 ft. Soil: Well-drained to wet, drought tolerant.

Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) Height: 3 ft. Spread: 2 ft. Soil: Well-drained to wet, drought tolerant.

Swamp sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius) Height: 4 ft. Spread: 4 ft. Soil: Well-drained to wet, drought tolerant.

Swamp mallow (Hibiscus coccineus) Height:6 ft. Spread: 4 ft. Soil: Well-drained to wet, slightly drought tolerant. 

Frog-fruit, Fog-fruit, Turkey tangle (Phyla nodiflora) Height: 6 in. Spread: varies. Soil: Dry to wet, drought tolerant.

While this is not an inclusive list of what your options are, this will help you get started on your garden plans. Additional information about setting up a rain garden and all listed plant is available by scanning this QR code or going to https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/pdf/articles/rain-garden-manual-hillsborough.pdf

 

 

 

 

All photos courtesy UF/IFAS Lake County Extension, excepting the swamp sunflowers and canna, by Regina Doherty, Master Gardener Volunteer, and button bush, by Jim Davis.

 

Single copies of UF/IFAS Extension publications (excluding 4-H and youth publications) are available free to Florida residents from county UF/IFAS Extension offices.

An Equal Opportunity Institution. UF/IFAS Extension, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is led by Andra Johnson, dean. 

Jamie Daugherty is the Residential Horticulture Agent of the UF/IFAS Lake County Extension office. Questions? Email lakemg@ifas.ufl.edu

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