Choosing native plants for rain gardens

To have a successful rain garden, you'll need to familiarize yourself with plants that tolerate both saturated and drought conditions. Rain gardens have three planting zones characterized by different soil conditions. Here are some plant examples well suited to rain gardens.

Native plants for rain gardens in the sun

Common name Scientific name
Coastal Strawberry Frageria chiloensis
Common Camas Camassia quamash
Dense Sedge Carex densa
Douglas Aster Aster subspicatus
Northwest Cinquefoil Potentilla gracilis
Oregon Iris Iris tenax
Slough Sedge Carex obnupto
Tufted Hairgrass Deschampsia cespitosa
Western Columbine Aquilegia formosa
Yarrow Achillea millefolium

Native plants for rain gardens in the shade

Common name Scientific name
Coastal Strawberry Frageria chiloensis
Creeping Oregon Grape Mahonia nervosa
Dagger-leaved Rush Juncus ensifolius
Deer Fern Blechnum spicant
False Solomon's Seal Smilacina racemosa
Fringecup Tellima grandiflora
Large-leaved Avens Geum macrophyllum
Piggyback Plant Tolmiea menziesii
Salal Gaultheria shallon
Stream Violet Viola glabella
Sword Fern Polystichum munitum
Wood Sorrel Oxalis oregano
Western Bleeding Heart Dicentra formosa

Caring for your plants

Once a rain garden is built, new plants need to be watered regularly for the first two to three years until they are well established. Mulching annually conserves water and reduces weeds until the plants close in over the soil. You can also help the plants to establish by weeding in the spring, summer, and fall months. If you use native plants and mulch them with leaf litter or arborist wood ship mulch, there should be no need for fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. Keep the inlet and outlet clear of debris and well protected from erosion with rocks. Appropriate care and regular maintenance can protect your investment for many years to come.

- Page 9 from Managing Rainwater: A Homeowners Improvement Guide for Low Impact Development (LID) in Bothell 

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