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30 of the Prettiest Water-Loving Flowers (for Rainy Locations)

The prettiest water-loving flowers.

The world is covered with thousands of varieties of flowers and flowering shrubs -- yet it can still feel impossible to find the perfect flowers for your garden. If you live in a wet climate, have a stream or otherwise water-prone backyard, check out this list of prettiest water-loving flowers

Water is life. Interestingly, both the planet Earth and the human body are comprised of around 70 percent water. Water exists in and around us, it’s in the air as water vapors, frozen in icecap and glaciers, flowing in lakes and rivers, and pooling below in aquifers and the soil we trod on and cared for. No living organism on our planet can survive without water. As such, it should come as no surprise that some plants not only need water but prefer it and thrive most when they get a lot of it.

Water-loving plants and flowers are those that do well in soggy soil, whether that soil is due to a drainage issue in your backyard or due to you simply being in a rain-prone area like Washington state, British Columbia, or the UK. The following is a look at some fantastic specimens that love to be in soggy soil as well as some that will thrive directly on and in the water, which is ideal for individuals looking to plant around a koi pond or similar water body.

1. Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus)

Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus)

Known by many local names, the sweetshrub is prized most for the sweet, fruity flowers that give it the moniker ‘sweetshrub’. Those reddish-brown flowers are shaped like urns and bordered by deep green, oval leaves.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full or most sun
  • Water: Moderate
  • Soil pH: Acid, neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 4-9

2. Summersweet Clethra (Clethra alnifolia)

Summersweet Clethra (Clethra alnifolia)

This gorgeous shrub flowers during the mid to late summer. The summersweet clethra’s flowers look like beautiful white cones that taper down to a tip. These flowers are very fragrant and renowned for attracting bees, butterflies, and, in the correct region, hummingbirds. Gardeners also appreciate the shrub for its nice yellow fall colors.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full sun to partial shade
  • Water: Moderate
  • Soil pH: Acid
  • Hardiness zone: 3-9

3. Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

This North American flowering shrub loves most to grow beside streams and other flowing water. From spring to early summer, the plant blooms in gorgeous clusters of rose, pink, and white flowers with purple markings. Gardeners looking to pair flowers should plant it alongside azaleas and rhododendrons.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Prefers partial shade but amiable with full sun
  • Water: Moderate to high
  • Soil pH: Acid
  • Hardiness zone: 4-9

4. Canna (Canna indica)

Canna (Canna indica)

Looking to add some more tropical-esque flowers to your garden? Then you’ll love the bold, bright colors of canna. This plant flowers gorgeous red, orange, yellow, or pink flowers depending upon the variety you choose and is capable of thriving in colder environments.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full or partial sun
  • Water: Needs soil well-watered and moist
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 7-10

5. White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra)

White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra)

This native clump-forming wildflower can be consistently found in the wild along stream banks, marshes, and flood plains. It thrives in wet soil and can do well across a variety of temperature conditions. It’s most well-known for its 6-8 inch spiky bloom flowers that are white with pink tinges.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full or partial sun
  • Water: Soil should be left moist or regular watering
  • Soil pH: Alkaline, neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 3-8

6. Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum)

Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum)

Also often referred to as ‘Gateway’, this is a compact and robust plant that’s incredibly easy to grow and have thrived (hence the ‘weed’ part of its name). During the summer, cute dusky-pink flowers bloom in large clusters and are renowned for attracting butterflies of all species as well as bees.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full or partial sun
  • Water: Soil should be left moist
  • Soil pH: Acidic, neutral, and alkaline — this flower loves it all
  • Hardiness zone: 4-8

7. Siberian Iris (Iris sanguinea)

Siberian Iris (Iris sanguinea)

As its name points out, this gorgeous iris is native to Asia and northern parts of Europe. As such, it tolerates the cold very well and is renowned for its grassy leaves and slender, delicate blossoms. Not only does the Siberian iris enjoy wet soil, but you can even grow it in shallow standing water.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full sun preferred but can do well in partial shade
  • Water: Moist to constant
  • Soil pH: Acidic, to neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 3-8

8. Ligularia (Ligularia stenocephala)

Ligularia (Ligularia stenocephala)

Ligularia is sometimes referred to as the rocket flower thanks to its spires of bright yellow flowers that blast from cool, dark green stems and leaves. This is a perennial flower that will certainly add color to any yard or garden but it does love water — a lot of it.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Prefers partial shade and will wilt if left in the hot midday sun
  • Water: Does best in moist, rich soil with regular watering
  • Soil pH: Neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 4-9

9. Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinals)

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinals)

The bright red blooms of the cardinal flower are renowned for attracting hummingbirds and butterflies, making it a fantastic choice for the gardener looking for a bright but native-looking yard. This flower does particularly well next to streams and backyard ponds. However, it’s important to note that it is slightly poisonous and should not be planted if you have curious dogs, cats, or children.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Partial to deep shade in warmer bioregions but will accept full sun in more northern climates.
  • Water: Does best in moist, rich soil with regular watering
  • Soil pH: Mildly alkaline
  • Hardiness zone: 3-9

10. Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis sylvatica)

Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis sylvatica)

Some Midwestern states may have listed the forgot-me-not as a troublesome weed, but it’s a weed you very well may love growing in your yard. These flowers do especially well alongside a body of water and will bloom in a bright cloud of purple and light blues during the spring. Just note that even if you get rid of them by the end of the season, you may have found they already seeded and will enjoy fresh new blooms come the next year.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full sun to partial shade
  • Water: Moderate watering with occasionally wet soil
  • Soil pH: Acid, alkaline, or neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 3-8

11. Japenese Primrose (Primula japonica)

Japenese Primrose (Primula japonica)

The Japanese primrose is a robust and vigorous flowering plant that can grow to upwards of 24 inches tall. Its flowers bloom in whorls and you can choose varieties that will create flowers of white, pink, red, or purple. For best effects, plant this flower next to a stream, pond, or in otherwise damp soil.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Does best in partial shade
  • Water: Moderate
  • Soil pH: Acid to neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 4-8

12. Sweet Kate (Tradescantia)

Sweet Kate (Tradescantia)

This beautiful lily is known for its beautiful chartreuse foliage. Towards the end of spring and on into summer, the plants ill bloom with clusters of three-petaled violet blue flowers that make for a wonderful contrast against the plant’s yellow stalks. Uniquely, each flower will only live for a day yet because the plant creates an abundance of buds, one plant will enjoy nearly all of its season in bloom.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: The best blooms occur when the plant is in full sun
  • Water: Moderate
  • Soil pH: Acid, neutral, or alkaline is fine
  • Hardiness zone: 4-9

13. Wild Calla (Calla palustris)

Wild Calla (Calla palustris)

In some regions, the wild calla is more aptly known as the swamp lily. This water-loving flower loves to grow in and about ponds and other types of still water. It blooms a showy white spathe that will give way to bright red berries in late summer and early fall.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Partial or deep shade
  • Water: Lots! This plant thrives in muddy soil or still shallow water
  • Soil pH: Acidic
  • Hardiness zone: 2-6

14. Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

The marsh marigold is often one of the first plants to blossom in spring and is the sign of its brought clusters of yellow flowers that are often the harbinger of warmer weather. These yellow flowers are particularly appreciated for their resemblance to buttercups.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full sun
  • Water: Thrives in shallow water or otherwise routinely wet soil
  • Soil pH: Acidic, alkaline, and neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 3-7

15. Queen of the Prairie (Filipendula rubra)

Queen of the Prairie (Filipendula rubra)

This spectacular flower more than earns its name with its bright cotton-candy pink blooms that burst forth from the plant’s five-foot-tall stems. The queen of the prairie has won several awards by gardening groups and is often featured amidst prized gardens due to its beauty and longevity.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full sun
  • Water: Moderate
  • Soil pH: Acidic, alkaline, or neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 3-9

16. Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

It’s an unfortunate name for plant that blooms a bright pink flower every bit as lovely as the aforementioned queen of the prairie. What’s unique about the swamp milkweed, however, is that when it blooms, its flower appear together like a giant pink ball atop a thin yellow-greenish stalk.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full sun
  • Water: Moderate but must be well-drained
  • Soil pH: Acidic, alkaline, or neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 3-6

17. Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)

Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)

Aplty named, the Virginia sweetspire is a flowering deciduous shrub that, when it flowers, does so in creamy white spire of tiny flowers. When properly cared for, this shrub will produce so many flowers that it can be hard to find the leaves behind the masses of sweet-smelling spires.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: This plant does well both in full sun and full shade.
  • Water: Big water needs as this plant grows best in wet but well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic
  • Hardiness zone: 5-9

18. Hardy Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos)

Hardy Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos)

This is a vigorous and robust plant that boasts massive hollyhock-like flowers that can measure as large as 8 inches across. These flowers are beloved for their creamy-white colors and the ability of the plant itself to produce as many as 20 massive flowers a day.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full sun
  • Water: This flowering plant does best in medium to wet soil and moderate watering. However, it lives up to its hardy moniker by being capable of withstanding droughts once established.
  • Soil pH: Thrives in neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 5-9

19. Florida Anise (Illicium floridanum)

Florida Anise (Illicium floridanum)

Florida anise is listed as a protected species in Florida due to it being threatened in its natural environment. In the wild and in one’s home, this flowering plant is renowned for its brilliantly red octopous-like flowers. This plant is a great choice for around homes and other plantlife.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Partial to full shade
  • Water: Prefers consistently moist soils
  • Soil pH: Acid to neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 4-9

20. Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

These delicate flowers only bloom for about three weeks and yet they are highly sought after in bouquets and floral arrangements. That’s because few others compare to this flower’s bright white, bell-shaped flowers that dangle so delightfully on the plant’s stems.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Partial to full shade
  • Water: Prefers consistently moist soils
  • Soil pH: Acid, alkaline, or neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 2-7

21. Bugbane (Actaea simplex)

Bugbane (Actaea simplex)

The bugbane flower blooms throughout late summer and into early fall and it is a great flower to grow along with walking areas or around the home. Note that the flower’s sweet scent is attractive to deer and rabbits as well as the more garden-friendly butterflies, bees, and birds.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Partial to full shade
  • Water: Moderate
  • Soil pH: Neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 4-8

22. Natal Lily (Crinum moorei)

Natal Lily (Crinum moorei)

Native to South Africa, the natal lily is considered one of the most desirable of late summer bulbs due to the porliferance of its flowers. Just one stalk can bear as many as ten blossoms and those blossoms are sure to catch your eye as well as the eye of local wildlife like bees, butterflies, and birds.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full sun
  • Water: Moderate
  • Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 7-9

23. Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)

Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)

This flower is short in stature and serves well as a gorgeous ground cover in a moist, shady area of your yard or garden. Its small white petals give off a sweet scent appealing to butterflies.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Partial to full shade
  • Water: Moderate, prefers moist soil
  • Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 4-8

24. American Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)

American Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)

The American blue vervain is a gorgeous lavender flower that blooms forth from pinkish stems that look very much like candelabras. They are ideal for gardeners who have bumblebees or who want to attract them. They also look great in table arrangements.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full
  • Water: Does best with moderate watering in moist but well-drained soil, but this flower can also withstand the infrequent drought
  • Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 3-9

25. Bush Monkey Flower (Mimulus aurantiacus)

Bush Monkey Flower (Mimulus aurantiacus)

Native to certain parts of the Pacific Northwest, the bush monkey flower is a bright flower that comes in variations of salmon-orange, orange-red, and bold orangish-yellow. It’s highly desirable for these unique shades and its long blooming season.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full to partial shade
  • Water: Moderate
  • Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 7-11

26. Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus salicifolius ‘First Light’)

Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus salicifolius 'First Light')

The swamp sunflower is a very low-maintenance flower that blooms from late summer to mid fall. Those flowery blooms appear as eye-catching yellow daisies with a chocolate center.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full
  • Water: Average
  • Soil pH: Alkaline to Neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 5-9

27. Snowdrift (Astilbe x Arendsii)

Snowdrift (Astilbe x Arendsii)

Snowdrift is a hybrid flower that boasts of flowery plumes each packed with hundreds of tightly knit flowers. These flowers open in succession every season for an extended period of blooming. They are often used in natural bouquets and floral arrangements.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full
  • Water: Average
  • Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 4-9

28. Daylillies (Hemerocallis)

Daylillies (Hemerocallis)

Daylillies have a very, very short period that typically won’t last longer than a month and each flower will only open up for an average of 24 hours (hence its name). That said, its brilliant colors and low maintenance profile make it a desirable garden plant.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full to partial sun
  • Water: Moderate with some varieties preferring moist soil
  • Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 3-9

29. Blue Lily Turf (Liriope muscari)

Blue Lily Turf (Liriope muscari)

If you’re really looking to make an impact with your ground covering, then adding the blue lily turf to your yardscape is an absolute must — especially if you live in a wetter climate or bioregion. This evergreen perennial blooms vibrant purple flowers throughout summer and fall and those flowers give way to handsome blackberries. The blue lily turf thrives when planted along moving water or moist but well-drained soil.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full to partial sun best but will tolerate full shade
  • Water: More than average
  • Soil pH: Acid to neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 5-10

30. Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)

In the language of flower giving, black-eyed Susans represent motivation and encouragement. These soft golden-yellow flowers often included in congratulatory bouquets, such as after someone received a promotion or graduated. This is an apt meaning as black-eyed Susans are very hardy and can grow in a great variety of conditions. Yet, it does tend to do the best in fertile, moist soil. Planting them alongside the aforementioned blue lily turf would offer gorgeous summer contrasts.

Requirements:

  • Sun needs: Full to partial sun
  • Water: Slightly more than average
  • Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
  • Hardiness zone: 4-10
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