Developing Species List

Native plants work best in rain gardens oppose to typical Garden Variety plants seen in flower gardens. Plants within the rain garden develop deep root systems that help rainwater drain much faster through the soil. Allowing rainwater to infiltrate into the ground more efficiently will filter out harmful pollutants that would otherwise pass into the storm sewers and potentially down stream creeks and rivers. The following is a list of suggested plants suitable for this area along with their light preference.

Light Preference: Shade

Botanical Name
Common Name
Bloom Time
Bloom Color
Aquilegia canadensis
Columbine Spring - Summer
Scarlet, Yellow
1 - 2 feet
Onoclea sensblilis
Sensitive Fern
Non-flowering Non-flowering 1 - 2 feet
Osmunda cinnamonmea
Cinnamon Fern
Non-flowering Non-flowering 2 - 5 feet
Osmunda regalis
Royal Fern
Non-flowering Non-flowering 1 - 3 feet

Planting Tips

  • A variety of perennials and grasses should be used in the rain garden, 5 to 10 different species of plants will create a variety of color and improve the longevity of the rain garden.
  • Include at least 25 to 30% grasses or sedges interspersed throughout the garden. They provide structure and support for some of the larger fobs which need the support.
  • Generally, place the taller plants towards the back of the rain garden and shorter plants towards the front. If there is no clear front and back then place the taller plants towards the center and the shorter plants towards the periphery.
  • Space plants at least 12 to 18 inches apart as most native plants mature to a large size within 1 to 2 years after planting.
  • During routine weeding and maintenance, be particularly attentive to removing invasive species of plants like Canada Thistle, Teasel and Reed Canary Grass - they can quickly take over new plantings if not controlled.