Almost every populated area on the planet has a rainy season, with desert climates being the only real exceptions. Here in the northeastern United States, the rainy season (or “mud season” as we call it) is March through May, in southwestern India (especially the state of Kerala), monsoon season is June through September, and in northeastern Australia (notably the city of Cairns), the wet season is typically between October and April.

No matter which section of the world you call home, it’s important to be prepared for the possibility of rain, especially when it comes to the health of your garden. Some of you may be wondering “Isn’t rain good for my garden?” and you would be mostly correct in your assumption, but too much water in a particularly short amount of time can drown roots and kill plants altogether. And there’s nothing worse than having the plants in your garden die before they ever had a chance to thrive.

That being said, here’s a list of perfect rainy season plants that will help you keep a little bit of color under those cloudy gray skies.

Lotus Flower

Perhaps the most beautiful rainy season plant on this list is the lotus flower. The lotus, which is the national flower of both India and Vietnam, is wide-petaled and is typically pink, white, or blue in color. This is an aquatic plant, so the seeds actually have to be submerged in water in order for them to grow.

You start off by putting them in a cup or jar of warm water, then picking out and throwing away any seeds that float, and then putting them in gardening soil once they begin to sprout. With a little time and patience, you can have a water garden filled with bright pinks and blues all season long.

Aster

This is a bit of a tricky one since “Aster” encompasses such a large group of flowers, but there are a few varieties that thrive with excessive water. The New England, New York, Golden, and Calico varieties are all excellent choices for your next rainy season garden, especially since the root system can handle so much water.

New England Aster

These colorful long-petaled perennials do require routine care, but nothing too strenuous to not be worth the time and effort. Just make sure you divide them in the fall (splitting the root system to create new plants), and if necessary, cut them back in the spring.

Waterlily

The waterlily is another aquatic plant that’s perfect the rainiest of conditions. This species, native to temperate and tropical climates, lives in soil underwater, and just like the lotus, it’s a perennial that can’t get too much water.

It should be noted, for some varieties of water lilies, the temperature of the water must be above 70 degrees for the plant to survive, which means this flower is best suited to tropical climates.

Hibiscus

The state flower of Hawaii, this easily recognizable plant is the perfect candidate for our rainy season list. We’ve all seen these bright, large-leaved mallows all over the place in TV shows, movies, and even on Hawaiian shirts, but what you may not have known is that these flowers can thrive in torrential downpours.

hibiscus

All you have to do is plant them and let the weather do the work.

Swamp Azalea

These small, oddly-shaped, white-petaled flowers are members of rhododendron family, and are perhaps the most versatile item on our list.

They can grow in climates ranging from frigid to tropical, absorb a great deal of water but not dry out as easily as other plants, and (given the right conditions) only require minimal care.  

Blue Flag

Known in different parts of the world as the Northern Blue Flag, Purple Iris, and Harlequin Blue Flag, this variety of iris is perfect for rainy seasons in the northeastern section of North America. The wide petals are violet in color, and hang low (almost-cascading) when they bloom, which gives the garden a mysterious look in the mist.

blue flag

The high absorption rate and low maintenance required make this perennial perfect for your late spring garden.

Cardinal Flower

The Cardinal Flower is one of only a few well-known members of the lobelia genus, with the other stand-out being the Great Blue Lobelia (which also nearly made this list). These towering crimson plants, which are also perennials, can grow from Nova Scotia all the way to Puerto Vallarta, making them nearly as versatile as the Swamp Azalea.

Not only can they handle an excessive amount of water, but they can also grow in sun and shade, indoors and outdoors, and hot and cold conditions. Just put them in the ground and let nature take care of the rest.

Swamp Sunflower

The Swamp Sunflower, also called the Narrowleaf Sunflower, is a large perennial that can reach up to 10 feet in height. As the name suggests, these flowers are best suited for tropical or subtropical climates (such as the swamps of the American southeast), which means the rainy season of June through September (or all year round in some places) is the optimal time for growth.

swamp sunflower

Although, they can grow as far north as New York and as far west as Missouri. The wide, bright yellow leaves, make this perennial (yes, another perennial) a great addition to any garden.

Witch Hazel

Perhaps the oddest looking flower on this list, the Witch Hazel is actually a small flowering tree that can grow up to 26 feet tall, though, most of them average 9 to 13 feet in height when mature. It may seem odd for a tree to be on this list, but the fact that it does especially well with an excessive amount of water, combined with its odd, spidery, purple and yellow flowers, makes it a perfect candidate for this list.

They can dry out easily, so watering is absolutely necessary on days when there is no rain, but besides that and a little pruning, these trees pretty much take care of themselves.

Swamp Rose Mallow

Also called the Crimson Eyed Rose Mallow, Eastern Rose Mallow, or just plain Rose Mallow, the last plant on this list is the Swamp Rose Mallow. This wide-petaled flower is a member of the same family as the Hibiscus and is equally beautiful when mature.

swamp flower

The difference between this flower and the Hibiscus is that the Swamp Rose Mallow can grow in a wider range of climates, from northern Canada all the way down to Mexico, making it a versatile and hardy plant. Usually pink, yellow, or purple, these flowers are found naturally in wetlands, meaning they can survive even the rainiest of days. Just plant in good soil, and watch this perennial flower grow in weeks.

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Images courtesy of HGTV, Proven Winners, New England Wetland Plants, HGTV, and Dave’s Garden

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