What Florida Garden Plants Like Shade and Wet Soil?

What Florida Garden Plants Like Shade and Wet Soil?

“Can you tell me of a good, hardy plant that can survive in a shady spot that gets wet frequently here in SW Florida? It’s along my house facing North but floods when we get lots of rain, but the flooding never lasts more than a day?” Question from Colleen of Englewood, Florida

Answer: There are a number of attractive landscape plants suited to shady spots with intermittent flooding where you live in Florida. Here are just a few.

Florida Garden Plants for Moist Shade

Canna Lilies (Canna hybrids) grow well in partial shade, have beautiful leaves and flowers, and thrive in wet and average soils. I like the manageability of dwarf varieties.

Florida Gamma Grass (Tripsacum floridana) is a tidy, grassy perennial native to your region that will grow in partial shade. It will tolerate both bouts of drought and standing water.

African Iris (Dietes bicolor) is a groundcover for shade that tolerates periodic wet soil and has attractive iris-like yellow flowers.

Elephant Ears (Colocasia spp) thrive in moist soils and shade, come in many sizes and colors, and have beautiful big, bold leaves.

Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum) is a house plant up north but grows beautifully in the landscape down in Florida where it can take moist soils and shade.

White Begonia (Begonia popenoei) is a large-leaved, shade-loving begonia that does not mind wet soils now and then.

For more plants suited to your moist-shade location, reach out to your local Florida extension agent (click here to find yours).

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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