Generally in Nebraska we’re looking for drought-tolerant plants in order to use our water resources wisely, but occasionally we have low spots that water settles from run off, or heavy soil that takes a little longer to dry out. These areas are perfect for a beautiful perennial bed or water-loving specimen tree. The plants in the following list should help get your landscaping started. Keep in mind these plants can’t live in standing water, but thrive in wetter soils. More involved drainage problems may require help from a professional landscape architect or designer. There has been lots of research in the last few years through the University of Nebraska and development in towns in different regions of Nebraska of rain gardens and bioretention gardens, so check out UNL’s rain garden resources for more information. Our greenhouse and nursery staff can help you determine the needs of your site and the perfect plant to thrive in your landscape, so stop in with any questions.

Perennials for sun:

  • Anemone
  • Aster (Purple Dome or the Wood’s series)
  • Bee Balm
  • Catmint
  • False Indigo
  • Gayfeather (pictured)
  • Hibiscus (pictured)
  • Iris (Japanese)
  • Joe Pye Weed
  • Milkweed (Swamp)
  • Obedient Plant
  • Primrose (Missouri)
  • Rudbeckia (Goldsturm or Herbstonne)
  • Sneezeweed

Perennials for shade:

  • Astilbe (Chinese)
  • Bugbane
  • Fern
  • Foam Flower
  • Ligularia
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Spiderwort
  • Toad Lily

Perennial grasses:

  • Big Bluestem
  • Indian Grass
  • Switchgrasses


  • Bald Cypress
  • Oak, Swamp White (moderate moisture tolerance)
  • River Birch (moderate moisture tolerance)
  • Willow


  • Buttonbush
  • Chokeberry
  • Dogwood (moderate moisture tolerance)
  • Elderberry
  • Hydrangea (Annabelle)
  • Sweetspire (Little Henry)
  • Viburnum (Blue Muffin, Autumn Jazz)
  • Willow

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