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Plants for a waterlogged garden?

We've been living in our rented house for about a year now, and I'm having real trouble with knowing what plants to chose for our 'garden'. I say 'garden' in inverted commas because there's no soil in it, it's entirely concreted over.

It's very shielded, with the house on one side and high fences around it, so although parts of the area get full sun for part of the day, none of it has full sun. 

And because the ground doesn't soak up moisture, it's ALWAYS damp. I have a very nice Houttuynia cordata Flame that seems to love the conditions, and a few strawberries in a large planter that seem happy enough, but everything else seems to give up the ghost within weeks. 

Can you please recommend some more plants, prefereably perennials, that will enjoy being in the space? It would nice to get lots of variation on height, leaf shape and colour to give us something to interesting to look at throughout the year. 

Easy maintainance would also be a plus as I've never had an outdoor space before and really don't know what I'm doing!



  • Hi Donna, I'm not surprised the strawbs love it - you can't really give them too much water!  When you place plants in pots, do you put some drainage (eg coarse grit, pea shingle etc) at the bottom?  That is essential if placing the pots directly on concrete.  I would suggest 2 inches (5cm) of drainage before putting any compost in.  Use taller pots if you need to in order to get that drainage layer in.  An alternative (or in addition) is to place your pots on pot stands which will raise them off of the ground so that standing water will not soak into them from below.  Most plants hate their feet being constantly wet and will quickly keel over.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Try this link to the RHS plant selector. There are a huge number of plants to choose from, most of which will do well in containers, and do as bob has advised its essential to keep the plants from becoming waterlogged, as in a sharp frost it will kill the roots.

  • izzy8izzy8 Posts: 147

    As long as you protect from slugs Hostas do very well in pots

  • Emma1978Emma1978 Posts: 201

    Astilbes image

  • I have lined the pots with grit, but the soil itself seems to retain water, presumably because the air is damp. I have some rosemary which I raised higher up (by putting it on the oil tank!), and that's now much happier, but obviously that's not a solution for the whole area. 

    Some interesting suggestions here, thank you. image 

  • Many gardeners do not seem to know that chives is a very successful bog plant- actually a bit over successful as it self seeds, but it is very pretty.

    Another favourite of mine is the day lily which like chives loves a nice boggy border!

  • I live in a very wet area and have discovered the hard way that there are plants which just don't do. But happily there are plants which love it and do really well.

    Ones I have had success with: hardy geraniums, astilbes, ferns of all shapes and sizes, sedums big and small, euphorbias, iris. My favourites are the astilbes, they are no bother, have lovely leaves and flowers, and the flower spikes are an interesting shape even when they have gone over. Also the slugs will not eat them!

  • Lupin 1Lupin 1 Posts: 8,916

    Primulas & Polyanthus do well in my damp area, also Dicentra. 



    DonnaInSussex wrote (see)

    I have lined the pots with grit, but the soil itself seems to retain water, presumably because the air is damp. ....image 

    Raise your pots up on tiles/bricks/pot feet, making sure you don't block drainage holes - that will help the soil in your pots to drain.

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 750

    This reminds me of a visit to the GC at the weekend. My and I partner both nodded to each other, some of the big T/C pots (these are empty pots for sale and 45c + diameter) were like ponds. They were all stood on gravel, no soil in, holes in the bottom, but all it took to block those holes was a few leaves.

    I lost all my hardy cyclamen the first winter after I moved because although I filled the large 50cm pots half full with gravel and stood them on tiles they were still like bogs. All the bulbs and corms were soggy and mouldy. Now I have them filled with gravel and just put the plants into the gravel. I don't recommend this for everything but I only grow alpines in those pots now.

    So, the moral is: make sure the drainage holes don't get blocked. image

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