What To Do with All This Rain? Plant a Rain Garden!

Rain gardens are an easy way to return water to our aquifer, reduce erosion, and help prevent stormwater runoff.

Running down the driveway or patio, rainwater can pick up lawn chemicals and pesticides. A rain garden is basically a low section of the landscape planted with native plants that like to get their “feet” wet. The garden collects rainwater, giving it a chance to “strain” out impurities before draining into the aquifer.

Swamp sunflower. Photo courtesy UF/IFAS.


They work best when they’re placed at the bottom of downspouts or naturally low spots in the landscape, usually where water tends to puddle. They’re especially useful for collecting runoff from paved surfaces. Rain gardens can be any size or shape and can attract thirsty wildlife.

When selecting plants, you’ll need to consider how much sun your site gets and how much space is available. Make sure you select plants that are not just water-tolerant, but also drought-tolerant for the times between rains.

Rain gardens rely on plants that will survive dry spells but then soak up excess stormwater during Florida’s rainy months, preventing the water from running across your landscape.

Blue flag iris. Photo courtesy UF/IFAS.
Blue flag iris. Photo courtesy UF/IFAS.

Include different types of plants in your rain garden to create a complete and cohesive look that will provide year-round interest. The following is a short list of flowers, shrubs, and grasses that would perform well in a rain garden.


  • Blue flag iris
  • Goldenrod
  • Swamp sunflower
  • Spider lily
  • Milkweed


  • Florida gamma grass
  • Muhly grass
  • Wiregrass


  • Virginia willow
  • Buttonbush
  • Wax myrtle

Here is a list of native plants that will do well in your North Florida rain garden. As always consult your local Extension Office for more information. All of the information in this article was provided by UF/IFAS Extension.


Posted: April 14, 2015

Category: Horticulture
Tags: Annuals, Best Management Practices, Garden Design, General Gardening, Native Plants, Panhandle Gardening, Rain, Rain Garden, Runoff, Spring 2015, Stormwater, Wildflowers

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