Well, this winter’s polar vortex certainly tested plant hardiness. Now we’ve segued into the wettest May on record. With so many of us dealing with dense clay soils that don’t drain well anyway our trees, shrubs and perennials are STRESSED!!!!
Wet and squishy is one thing, but taken to the extreme end of the spectrum becomes “floodplain”. I define “floodplain” as standing surface water for 12-24 hours (or more) multiple days a year. I’ll skip the entertaining retail anecdotes where people share, “Well, the water does stand in that area for more than a day at a time, but it’s only a dozen or so times a year.” That’s when I counter that it’s a bit like saying you can only drown in a bathtub when there’s water in it. Smile face emoji? The point is it’s as important for roots to get oxygen as it is for our lungs.
Aside from rice, what Chicago area landscape plants survive floodplain conditions? Here are recommendations with a proven track record. The majority are native, or selections of native plants.
If you plant your floodplain with any of these hard-working, water-tolerant beauties landscape survival is assured!
Chief Horticulture Officer