Plants for Rain Gardens


Plants that work well in rain gardens


Southern blue flag | Iris virginica

A late spring bloomer, this iris is native to inland swamps, marshes and flood plains in northern and central Missouri.

  • Flowers: May–June
  • Mature height, 2–3 feet; spread, 1–2 feet
  • Fragrant, blue violet flowers with falls crested in yellow and white
  • Forms a solid mat that needs thinning to stimulate flowers that provide nectar for hummingbirds

Golden Alexanders | Zizia aurea

This member of the carrot family is a host plant for black swallowtail butterflies.

  • Flowers: April–June
  • Mature height, 12–30 inches; spread, 16–24 inches
  • Long-lasting flowers that turn into seed clusters
  • Thick, glossy semi-evergreen foliage provides nice contrast to other native plants

Culver’s root | Veronicastrum virginicum

It is a good cut flower and provides nectar for many varieties of bees.

  • Flowers: June–August
  • Mature height, 3–5 feet; spread, 2–4 feet
  • Candle-like spikes of pinkish-white flowers are 6 inches long
  • Blooms for 4–6 weeks

Swamp milkweed | Asclepia incarnate

Also called marsh milkweed, this milkweed grows naturally in swamps and wet meadows and grows well in the garden.

  • Flowers: August–September
  • Mature height, 3–4 feet; spread, 3–4 feet
  • Has a faint vanilla fragrance when it blooms
  • Excellent nectar plant for butterflies and an exceptional host to monarch caterpillars
  • Blooms also provide nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies

Palm sedge | Carex muskingumensis

This sedge resembles miniature palm fronds and is almost evergreen.

  • Mature height, 11–24 inches; spread, 12–18 inches
  • 8-inch-long, pointed leaves radiate from stem tops
  • Does well in light shade to full sun