Best Plants for Rain Gardens


Rain gardens are a beautiful and environmentally friendly way to manage stormwater runoff. They help reduce erosion, filter pollutants, and recharge groundwater while providing an attractive addition to your landscape. So choosing the right plants is crucial for the success of a rain garden. Furthermore this guide will introduce you to some of the best plants for rain gardens. Thus ensuring your garden thrives and supports local ecosystems.

These are the plant nursries more than 300, listed so far in EUgardens. Some of them cultivate Plants for Rain Gardens. So have a look.

What is a Rain Garden?

A rain garden is a shallow, planted depression designed to capture and absorb rainwater from roofs, driveways, and other impervious surfaces. So by mimicking natural hydrology, rain gardens help reduce the volume and improve the quality of stormwater runoff. They typically include native plants that can tolerate both wet and dry conditions.

Best Plants for Rain Gardens

  1. Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

    • Description: This native perennial produces striking blue-violet flowers in late spring to early summer.
    • Benefits: Excellent for wet areas, it attracts butterflies and supports pollinators.

    • Growing Conditions: Prefers full sun to partial shade and thrives in wet to moderately dry soils.

  2. Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

    • Description: Known for its beautiful pink to mauve flowers, swamp milkweed is a magnet for butterflies, especially monarchs.

    • Benefits: Supports pollinators and acts as a host plant for monarch caterpillars.

    • Growing Conditions: Prefers full sun and moist to wet soils.

  3. Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

    • Description: This plant features vibrant red flowers that bloom from mid-summer to early fall.

    • Benefits: Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, adding bright color to your rain garden.

    • Growing Conditions: Thrives in full sun to partial shade and prefers consistently moist soils.

  4. Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

    • Description: This tall perennial boasts clusters of pinkish-purple flowers in late summer.

    • Benefits: Attracts bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects.

    • Growing Conditions: Prefers full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soils.

  5. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)

    • Description: A native ornamental grass with airy, feathery flower spikes that turn golden in the fall.

    • Benefits: Provides habitat and food for birds and other wildlife.

    • Growing Conditions: Tolerates a range of conditions but prefers full sun and moist to dry soils.

  6. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

    • Description: Featuring large, daisy-like flowers with purple petals and a central cone, this plant is a garden favorite.

    • Benefits: Attracts pollinators and beneficial insects while being drought-tolerant.

    • Growing Conditions: Prefers full sun and well-drained soils, can tolerate periods of dryness.

  7. New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

    • Description: This perennial has dense clusters of purple to pink flowers with yellow centers, blooming in late summer to fall.

    • Benefits: Provides late-season nectar for pollinators.

    • Growing Conditions: Thrives in full sun and moist to slightly dry soils.

  8. Sedge (Carex spp.)

    • Description: Sedges are grass-like plants that come in various sizes and colors, providing texture and interest.

    • Benefits: Excellent for stabilizing soil and preventing erosion.

    • Growing Conditions: Tolerates a wide range of conditions, from wet to dry soils, depending on the species.

  9. Redosier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)

    • Description: A shrub known for its striking red stems and white flowers, followed by white berries.

    • Benefits: Provides year-round interest and habitat for birds.

    • Growing Conditions: Prefers full sun to partial shade and moist soils.

  10. Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea)

    • Description: This ground cover produces bright yellow flowers in early spring.

    • Benefits: Excellent for covering large areas and preventing soil erosion.

    • Growing Conditions: Thrives in partial to full shade and consistently moist soils.

Some tips for Planting a Rain Garden

  • Site Selection: Choose a location that receives runoff from downspouts, driveways, or other impervious surfaces.

  • Soil Preparation: Amend soil with compost to improve drainage and fertility.

  • Planting Design: Group plants with similar water and light requirements together. Use taller plants in the center and shorter plants around the edges.

  • Maintenance: Mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Water regularly until plants are established, then let natural rainfall do the work.


Using the best plants for rain gardens not only enhances the beauty of your landscape but also contributes to environmental sustainability. By selecting appropriate native plants, you can create a rain garden that manages stormwater effectively, supports local wildlife, and adds vibrant colors and textures to your yard. So visit EU Gardens to find best gardening companies around you. Happy gardening!

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