How Bog Gardens Work

Bog Plants: From Flowering to Flesh-eating

Sphagnum moss is one of the most common plants found in bog gardens.
Sphagnum moss is one of the most common plants found in bog gardens.
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Here are a few of the more popular plants that thrive in bogs:

Sun-loving bog perennials

  • Day Lily: Hemerocallis, or day lilies, are the stalwarts of bog gardening. Their height depends on the species, and they bloom from May to September in a multitude of colors.
  • Heather: Erica, or heather, is a tailor-made ground cover for bogs. E. tetralix, or "bog heather," produces pink flowers all summer long [source: Perry].

Shade-tolerant bog perennials

  • Monkshood/Wolf's bane: Aconitum. These blue-purple flowering plants are hardy in a variety of temperatures. They bloom in summer, and grow 3 to 5 feet (.9144 - 1.524 meters) tall and their roots are poisonous.
  • Yellow Waxbells: Kirengeshoma. This showy plant flowers in early autumn, after many other bog plants have shed their colors. Its bright yellow cone-shaped flowers adorn deep purple stalks and grow 2 to 4 feet (.6096 - 1.2192 meters) tall [source: Perry].

Carnivorous and specialized bog plants

Unscrupulous plant vendors sometimes gather these species from the wild, damaging their fragile habitat. Make sure to verify that your carnivorous and specialized bog plants were propagated in a nursery.

  • Pitcher Plants: Sarracenia. These insectivores feature clumps of upward-turning trumpets that collect rainwater and send insects to their watery deaths. The "Ladies in Waiting" and "Dixie Lace" hybrids were developed especially for home gardeners and will grow to zone 5 with some protection in the winter [source: Fisher].
  • Venus Flytrap: Dionaea muscipula. The shell-shaped leaves of this famous carnivore are tipped with spikes and snap shut to trap unsuspecting insects. Venus Flytraps grow to 18 inches (45.7 centimeters) tall and are a must-have for carnivorous plant collectors [source: Fisher].
  • Sphagnum Moss: This is the foundation for any true bog garden. Fill your bog with water and let a layer of living moss float on top. As the mat grows and decays, it will deposit peat into your bog. Over time, the moss will become thick enough to support plants, shrubs and even trees [source: Burrell].

Other bog plants

A huge variety of plants, bulbs, grasses, trees and shrubs have adapted to grow in moist conditions. Bog maple, bog cypress, bog rosemary and varieties of lily, daffodil and narcissus are but a few of the many other bog plants worth exploring.

Now that your bog is planted, check out the next section for information about maintenance and creating container bog gardens.