Wetland Plants For Zone 8

Choosing The Best Plants For Wetland Areas

Wetlands are essential ecosystems that are rich in wildlife and wonder. Wetland plantings offer beauty and interest while providing shelter and food for a variety of fascinating and important creatures. In fact, over one-third of the species listed in the United State's Federal Endangered Species Act rely on these complex ecosystems for survival.

Types of wetland plants

The term “wetlands” encompasses a broad variety of wet habitats, such as marshes, bogs, swamps, and ponds. There are four types of plants that thrive in wetlands, including shoreline, emergent, floating, and submerged. Emergent plants, such as bulrush, root themselves in the saturated sediment but stretch into the air. The type of plants that will grow in your area depends on factors such as the acidity of the soil and whether the water is fresh or salty.

Trees and shrubs

Trees, shrubs, ferns, and woodland flowers grace the banks of wetlands and help control erosion. The graceful limbs of willows dip their fingers in the water. Bald cypress lifts knobby knees from the water. Evergreens blend beautifully with birch, and the brilliant bark of dogwood shrubs shine in the stark winter landscape. Fragrant perfume wafts from the rose-like flowers of meadowsweet shrubs. Laurels, rhododendron, and hollies create thickets, which give cover to rabbits, deer, and a variety of birds. Tasty blueberries and cranberries thrive in acid bogs.

Emergent plants

Wetland grasses, such as wild rice, help provide a base and maintain the natural habitat by filtering water and allowing it to percolate quickly through the soil. Soft cattails add texture and make great background plants. Stunning cardinal flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies in droves. Iris bloom in every color of the rainbow. Strange carnivorous plants, such as the pitcher plant and Venus flytrap, devour pests. Cover plants, such as the lovely pickerelweed, attract a variety of beneficial wildlife, including ducks, muskrats, turtles, frogs, and pollinating insects.

Floating and submerged plants

Lily pads have one-of-a-kind circular shapes and some of the loveliest flowers available. Submerged plants, such as naiad species, add oxygen to the water while acting as natural filters. Brightly-colored fish nibble algae and coast among the submerged roots of floating water plants, while graceful swans paddle above.

Wetlands stir all the senses and offer unlimited options for unique textures and color. A water garden makes a lovely focal point for any landscape and provides a peaceful area to sit and read or engage in quiet conversation.