Tips on Working with Wet Soil

Gardens might have a variety of microclimates, which could result in the presence of both moist and dry places close together (under a tree, for instance).  When the top level of the ground water is close to the soil surface due to a high water table or compacted soil, the soil may be damp. Clay soils are moist in the winter and scorchingly dry in the summer. If you don’t add drainage, you’ll need to work with your soil and select plants that can withstand moisture.

As always, it’s ideal to play to your garden’s advantages by selecting plants that flourish in the circumstances it provides. This may require you to put various plants in various garden areas. You can think about establishing a bog garden if your property has an area that is both highly moist and poorly drains.

Is the soil in your garden wet? Some telltale signs can include moss and mind-your-own-business growing abundantly, holes filling with water, and plants frequently succumbing to fungi. Many plants do well in moist soil, so it needn’t be disastrous for your garden.

Alternately, you could just reside in a region of the nation with a lot of rainfall, which keeps your soil perpetually moist. Consider building a bog garden if you have a very moist portion of your garden. Discover 10 bog garden plants. The secret to successful gardening on damp or moist soil is cultivating healthy soil and choosing plants that are appropriate for your soil type.

Handling wet soil

wet clay soil

Add some grits. Improve drainage by adding grit; this is crucial in the winter when many plants dislike sitting in chilly, soggy soil. 

Grow plants that enjoy wetness. Numerous plants, such as the Hydrangea macropylla, Hydrangea paniculata, spiraea, Lobelia cardinalis, bamboo, hostas, ligularia, drumstick (Primula denticulata) and Japanese primulas (Primula japonica), Lythrum salicaria, astilbe, actaea, Viburnum opulus, and Hesperantha coccinea, prefer moist environments.

Construct elevated beds. Consider building raised beds for veggies and flowering plants if your soil is very damp. This will enable you to grow a larger variety of plants since you can fill the beds with the ideal soil mixture for the plants you want to grow. Alternately, plant atop dirt mounds to let extra water drain. 

Add compost. At least once a year, add well-rotted compost to the soil to help aerate it. Nutrients in the soil are washed away by excessive rainfall. By incorporating well-rotted compost or manure into your soil or by fertilizing with things like chicken pellets, you can keep your plants flourishing, blossoming, and producing fruit. View our video on how to summer-feed your plants.

Create a pan. A “pan” can be made by a heavy downpour compacting the soil’s surface. To stop a pan from developing, use a fork to ruffle up the soil’s top layer.

After a lot of rain, avoid walking on the ground since this may further compact the soil. When planting or digging, stand on a plank.

Free from slugs and snails. Slugs and snails prefer moist environments so should be kept away from plants. Be watchful and eliminate any you encounter. Use only a little amount of slug pellets; organic pellets have been proved to be equally efficient as chemical ones. Learn how to keep slugs and snails at bay.

Plan changes for planting and tillage. Using little or no tillage is one approach to dealing with issues brought on by moist soils. Perform just those tillage tasks that are absolutely essential, such as field leveling, weed management, or fertilizer incorporation, to move to a minimum tillage strategy. Producers can establish a crop with little (field cultivate then plant) or no tillage (no-till planting) if seedbed preparation timeframes become too constrained.

Those who have not applied nitrogen may experience delays as a result of the wet weather. Soil should not be compacted by applying nitrogen on its own; however, the tractor that is hauling the applicator may do so. The ideal method for nitrogen application is to wait until circumstances are suitable to prevent soil damage and severe nitrogen loss owing to the possibility of compaction and a high chance of ammonia loss (due to inadequate soil covering after application).

Plants that thrive in wet soil

woman carrying basket of flowers

Hosta. Hostas do well in wet areas. Large-flowered Hosta ‘Yellow River’ has green leaves with yellow borders that are veined, and it blooms from July to August with purple flowers. It is ideal for growing in a sunny or somewhat shaded border since it is more sun-tolerant than other hostas. Protect yourself from snails and slugs.

Himalayan honeysuckle. A lovely shrub with a lengthy season of attractiveness, Leycesteria formosa has angular leaves, drooping white and claret blooms from mid- to late summer, and reddish purple berries in the fall. Bees are drawn to the blossoms, and many different bird species, including blackbirds, are drawn to the berries. Grow in either full sun or light shade.

False goatsbeard. False goatsbeards, or asters, produce exquisite plumes of fluffy blooms starting in late spring from masses of ferny leaves. They thrive in wooded gardens with lots of shade, where their pink or white blossoms add a pop of color.

Siberian flag iris. Small, delicate blooms and thin, brilliant green leaves are produced by Iris sibirica. It requires room to stretch out since it clusters together. Grow in full sun or moderate shade with neutral to slightly acidic soil.

Bleeding heart. This plant is a heart-shaped and white-tipped blooms. The heart-shaped, white-tipped blooms of Lamprocapnos spectabilis, formerly known as Dicentra spectabilis, the bleeding heart, hang from arching flower stalks from late spring to early summer.  Even if it thrives in a little shade, it frequently grows even better in a sunny border, as long as the soil is kept moist enough. The bleeding heart hang from arching flower stalks from late spring to early summer. Even if it thrives in a little shade, it frequently grows even better in a sunny border, as long as the soil is kept moist enough.

Hydrangea. In recent years, a number of lovely and useful new hydrangea varieties have been released, and there are some lovely variants for all types of garden. They may grow in the sun or the shade, although they like wet soil. trimming hydrangeas requires caution since various varieties respond differently to trimming. 

Masterwort. As long as the plants are mulched with leaf mould, astrantias will survive drier conditions but prefer damp soils. Large, eye-catching blooms on Astrantia major ‘Shaggy’ with green-tipped, pointy white bracts are held above a mound of glossy green foliage. Grow in some shade for the greatest benefits.

Candelabra Primula. Early in the summer, Candelabra primulas produce erect spikes of tiny flowers from rosettes of semi-evergreen leaves. Do not deadhead plants after they have flowered since it is ideal to cultivate them in groups and let them self-seed. They work well in a soggy, wooded environment. Grow in wet, acidic to neutral soil in some shade for optimal results.

Bistort. Persicarias are perennials that create mats and produce small spikes of flowers from midsummer through the end of the growing season. They grow best in sun or moderate shade toward the front of a border and are perfect for use as ground cover.

Dogwoods. Dogwoods with colorful bark are cultivated for their winter color, when their vibrant, leafless stems glow like lanterns in the barren winter landscape. Deep red stems, greyish green leaves with white margins, petite, creamy-white blooms, and clusters of white berries are all characteristics of Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’. When grown in full sunlight, it yields the brightest stems.


Both the soil’s texture and its structure, which are distinct characteristics, have a significant impact on how soils behave in terms of things like their ability to hold water, supply and supply of nutrients, drainage, and nutrient leaching.

The ability of coarser soils to contain and keep nutrients is often lower than that of finer soils in terms of soil fertility. However, this capacity is diminished by the significant leaching that fine-textured soils experience in damp settings.

If your soil appears to be cultivatable and upon observation of your soil pit it has poor drainage and a low water table, add a lot of organic matter to the soil.

Clay soils benefit from organic matter because it aids in the chemical breakdown of the clay into smaller fragments.  It is frequently impractical to add enough sand, grit, or gravel to significantly lessen the dominating influence of the clay component, hence doing so is rarely beneficial.

To significantly alter the soil structure and drainage, you will need one barrow load of organic matter for every square meter of soil. Nevertheless, choosing plants tolerant to moist soil conditions is a good idea