There are many different native or well-adapted plants that can be used in rain gardens in Nebraska. Below are a few that we have used here in Scottsbluff that have done very well in our rain garden.
Bee balm (pictured above) is an excellent rain garden plant, but it can spread aggressively. In our rain garden, it spread very quickly in May and June, but once it started getting hot in July, it stopped spreading.
Black Eyed Susans were used in the bottom of the rain garden and have done well, but have not spread as much as the Bee Balm.
Coneflowers were used on the berm and in the bottom of the rain garden. They did well in both areas.
Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris) was used in the bottom of the rain garden as this plant can tolerate swampy conditions.
Agastache is a plant that was recommended to us by one of our local Master Gardeners. It was planted in the bottom of the rain garden and has done very well. It should be noted that our rain garden drains fairly quickly, and a rain garden that stays wet longer may have different results.
Our asters have done very well and were great for their color that lasted late into the fall.
We used sedum as a groundcover on the berm of the rain garden, since this is a plant that doesn’t like to be too wet.
Prairie dropseed was another plant we used on the berm.
For more information on rain garden plants for the state of Nebraska, UNL Extension has developed a very comprehensive plant guide for rain gardens that is available for $15 (Publication #EC1261). You can order through any Extension office.
If you have used any of these plants in a rain garden, we would love to hear how they did. Please comment below!