Rain Garden Plant Suggestions

Filed Under: Aquatic Plants, Ornamental Grasses, Perennial Plants · Keywords: Rain Garden, Plants, Suggestions, Varieties, Wet, Moist, Soil, Bog, Swamp · 1850 Views
I want to create a rain garden and I need some plant suggestions that will work for the Covington GA area. The area that I have in mind floods completely during heavy rain storms and may hold water for 24-48 hours.

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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Hi Terry-This is a good and interesting question. As my location normally gets very little rain I was interested in researching the benefits and procedures in developing a rain garden that may help others in areas that get rains such as you have had this year. Rain gardens can not only be fun to build but are very beneficial in many ways. If you could answer a few questions it would help in giving you some plant choices to look at. A well designed water garden should drain completely within 12 hours or so. Even though many plants will tolerate very moist soils very few will survive long periods of pooling water. If the area drains too slowly soil ammendments may be added for better drainage or a way to devert a portion of the water away from this area may be necessary. Soils saturated for too long a time can cause root rot, crown rot, fungal disease, and other problems associated with roots not being able to breath or take in needed nutrients. Is the area to be planted in full direct sunlight, partial sun, shade, filtered shade and how many hours and time of day will they get sun or some shade? Do you know the type of soil you will be planting in (clay, loam, sand, silt)? How large an area is the planned area for the water garden? Is the area sloped where plants will help with erosion of the soil? Do you have any height or width requirements for the plants? Does this area stay moist year round possibly getting runoff from other areas in the landscape or does the soil dry in the warmer months where plants would need watering during these times?
After answering these questions I can give you some plants to consider that should do well In your hardiness zone 7b. Possibly other members acquainted with your location can also help with plant ideas and their availability in your area knowing more about the area they will be planted in.

9 years ago ·
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Gardenality.com · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Hi Terry - I'm in McDonough, GA and have a bog garden on my property. I'll also provide some plant suggestions when you've provided the answers to John's questions.

9 years ago ·
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Travon Daskindozer

Travon Daskindozer · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
The area that I want to create the rain garden in is approximately 45 feet by 20 feet. It receives sun until about 1:00 and filtered shade after that. The soil is primarily clay but I do I plan to do till in some organic matter before planting. I hope that this will improve the drainage from two days to around the 12 hour mark that you indicated. The area stays somewhat moist year round but holds water after we receive a heavy rain.

The area is sloped. It is the back corner of my property where most of the water rushes to. During the summer months it does dry out some but I do not mind giving it water as necessary to get it through the hot summers here.

Concerning height and width, I don't really have any preference except that I would prefer to stay under 8 feet in height. I would love to plant a tree in the center of the garden but I have been unsuccessful in my search for one that will work.

Please let me know if there is any other information I can provide and thanks for any suggestions that you can come up with.)

9 years ago ·
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2 Answers

Answer #2 · Gardenality.com's Answer · Terry - Here's my "favorites" list for plants and trees that will tolerate part shade and moist to wet soil in USDA Zone 8a. I have all of these growing in my own gardens.


Weeping Willow
Sweet Bay Magnolia
Corkscrew Willow
Japanese Fibre Banana
Illicium floriodanum (Florida Anise)
Red Maples
Upright or Weeping Yaupon

Lillicium floridanum (lower growing varieties)
Clethra - 'Ruby Spice' and 'Hummingbird' are favorites
Japanese Aralia (Fatsia japonica)

Louisiana Iris
Yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus)
Elephant Ears (Colocasia) - Black Diamond is a favorite
Farfugium (Leopard Plant)
Equisetum hymale (Horsetail Grass)
Pinapple Sage
Salvia uliginosa (Bog Salvia)
Swamp Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus)
Needle Palm
Canna Lily
Cameleon Plant (Houttuynia cordata)
Ginger Lily (Hedychium)
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium)
Bee Balm (Monarda)
Lobelia cardinalis
Obedient Plant (Physostegia)
Mexican Petunia (Ruellia 'Purple Showers')
Turtlehead (Chelone)
Anemone (Windflower)
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia)
Marianna Maiden Hair Fern

Juncus (Rush) - 'Blue Arrows' is a fovorite
Acorus (Sweet Flag)
Carex (some varieties)

Jasmine rankinii (Swamp Jasmine)
Climbing Hydrangea (Decumaria barbara)

Hope this was helpful. Wilson Bros Nursery, just around the corner from you in McDonough, GA, carries quite a few of these plants, though we don't always have all of them all year round. Here's a link to our page:



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Travon Daskindozer

Travon Daskindozer · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Brent - thanks you for your suggestions especially since you are in the area and have experience with the plants that you recommended. I was getting conflicting information on the internet and it was hard to know which source to trust. I discovered your nursery about 6 months ago when I started landscaping my yard. All but two plants in my yard came from your nursery!

During my last visit, Jennifer suggested that I utilize your website and forum to get information about the plants that would work in a rain garden in this area. I am certainly glad that I did. I will look over your suggestions as well as John's and come up with a plan for my rain garden. Once I have a plan, I'll be over to select my plants.

9 years ago ·
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Gardenality.com · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Terry - We appreciate the business and are glad to be of assistance. Have you found and used the Plant Search...where you can narrow down your selections based on USDA Zone, Sun Exposure, Soil Moisture, etc? If not, it's an excellent tool to find just the type of plants you're looking for. Here's a link to an article that explains it:


9 years ago ·
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Answer #1 · Maple Tree's Answer · Terry-Here is a list of some shrubs, perennials, and trees you may be interested in looking at. These plants should grow well in your location with filtered sun in the afternoon. The White Birch and River Birch are a real favorite tree of mine. I have six white Birch and had a River birch which was a great medium sized tree. They do really well in my landscaping where some get average water and others do well in very wet soil most of the year round due to sprinkler run of in an area that does't drain well. They are a beautiful tree with outstanding white bark. As Brent said, he is in mid Georgia and will be able to give you some ideas as to plants that will do well for your location. Just click on the links below to go directly to the plant files. If there isn't a link noted for a named plant you can google it to get any information you need or let me know and I can also find a plant file.

American Beautyberry

Inkberry Holly

Broadleaf Meadowsweet (Spiraea Alba var. latifolia)

Arrowwood Viburnum

Alba Sweet Rocket

Red Twig Dogwood **

Yellow Twig Dogwood **

Mountain Laurel

Common Ninebark


Virginia Sweetspire

Rose of Sharon

Dwarf Yaupon Holly **

Buttom Bush **


** According to some Coooperative Extension services these plant can grow in standing water for a period of time


Canna Lily

Day lilies

Sweet Flag

Obedient Plant


Swamp Milkweed

Pink Turtlehead

Cardinal flower

Great Blue Lobelia

Sweet Coneflower

Joe pye Weed

Bee Balm





Red Maple Acer rubrum

Sweetbay, or Swamp magnolia

Silver Maple - Also called River maple or Swamp Maple (Acer saccharinum)

Let me know if you have any other questions.


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Travon Daskindozer

Travon Daskindozer · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
John - thanks so much for taking the time to assemble this list. It is just what I need to get started.

9 years ago ·
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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
You're very welcome Terry. Its good questions like this that will help others I'm sure down the road.

9 years ago ·
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