Rain Garden Plants

What makes a plant a good choice for rain gardens?

Rain garden plants must tolerate a range of moisture conditions. Depending on the site and rainfall amounts, they may have to weather long periods of dry soil punctuated by periods of damp or even soggy soil.

Why choose native plants for your rain garden?

Native plants with wildlife

Choosing plants native to your area offers distinct advantages:

  • They are adapted to your soils and climate.
  • They are hardy and will survive without special care such as fertilizers or pesticides.
  • They provide food and shelter for wildlife including birds and butterflies.
  • They will often self-seed or spread to fill the space, resulting in lower planting costs.

iConserve Pennsylvania offers helpful brochures about native plants, including a chart of common species for sunny moist gardens and shady moist gardens.

Where can I buy native plants?

Many nurseries, garden centers, and home improvement stores now carry some species of native plants; iConserv Pennsylvania Buy Natives page has a list of nurseries that specialize in native plants.

Look for native plant sales in the spring; in southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware late April and early May brings plant and seed sales at Delaware Nature Society and the Brandywine Conservancy.

Rain garden plant identification at Stroud Water Research Center.