University of Illinois Extension


Sharon Yiesla
Unit Educator, Horticulture
Lake County

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Put the Right Plant In the Right Place

We all wish our gardens had perfect soil and perfect drainage. Unfortunately, that is seldom the case. There is that spot in the yard that never seems to dry out or the flower bed that dries out faster than the rest. The answer to gardening in these trouble spots, is proper plant selection. The lists of plants below give a good starting selection of plants that tolerate different levels of soil moisture. Lists like these are good starting points. Once you have a list of drought tolerant plants in hand, you need to know more about each one. For instance, does it need sun or shade, what color are the flowers, when will the plant bloom, and how tall is the plant?

Constantly moist to wet soils: This list includes two groups of perennials; those that require a consistently moist soil and those that can tolerate wet soils.

Aruncus dioicus

Goat’s Beard

Astilbe x arendsii


Brunnera macrophylla

Siberian Bugloss

Caltha palustris

Marsh Marigold

Chelone spp.


Cimicifuga racemosa

Black Snakeroot

Dodecatheon meadia

Shooting Stars

Equisetum hyemale

Scouring Rush, Horsetail

Filipendula rubra


Filipendula ulmaria


Houttuynia cordata


Iris ensata

Japanese Iris

Iris pseudoacorus

Yellow Flag, Yellow Flag Iris

Iris versicolor

Blue Flag Iris, Wild Iris

Ligularia dentata

Bigleaf Ligularia

Ligularia ‘The Rocket’

Rocket Ligularia

Lobelia cardinalis

Cardinal Flower

Lobelia siphilitica

Great Blue Lobelia

Lysimachia spp.

Loosestrifes (this does not include Purple Loosestrife)

Phlox divaricata

Wild Blue Phlox, Woodland Phlox

Physostegia virginiana

Obedient Plant

Polygonum (Persicaria) spp.

Fleeceflower, Smartweed, Knotweed

Ranunculus repens

Creeping Buttercup

Rodgersia pinnata

Rodgersia, Rogers-flower

Smilacina racemosa

False Solomon’s Seal

Tradescantia virginiana


Trollius europaeus

Common Globeflower

Dry sites (in sun): This list of plants includes perennials that grow in drier soils. Newly planted perennials will not exhibit drought tolerance.

Achillea spp.


Antennaria rosea

Pussy Toes

Anthemis tinctoria

Golden Marguerite

Arabis caucasica

Wall Rock Cress

Artemisia spp.


Asclepias tuberosa

Butterfly Weed

Aurinia saxatilis


Callirhoe involucrata


Centaurea montana

Mountain Bluet

Coreopsis spp.

Coreopsis, Tickseed

Echinacea purpurea

Purple Coneflower

Echinops ritro

Globe thistle

Eryngium spp.

Sea Holly

Euphorbia spp.


Gaillardia x grandiflora

Blanket Flower

Helianthemum nummularium


Helianthus x multiflorus

Perennial Sunflower

Iberis sempervirens

Evergreen Candytuft

Liatris spp.

Blazing Star, Gayfeather

Limonium latifolium

Sea Lavender, Statice

Malva alcea

Hollyhock Mallow

Oenothera spp.

Evening Primrose

Perovskia atriplicifolia

Russian Sage

Potentilla spp.

Potentilla, Cinquefoil

Rudbeckia spp.

Black-eyed Susan, Orange Coneflower

Saponaria ocymoides

Rock Soapwort

Sedum spp.

Sedum, Stonecrop

Sempervivum tectorum

Hen-and -chickens

Stachys byzantina

Lamb’s Ears

Yucca spp.



February - March 2001: Hybrids & Heirlooms | Put the Right Plant In the Right Place | Windbreaks Can Help Save On Energy Costs | Apple Scab & Black Knot

Past Issues

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