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Evaluation of Survivability of Different Landscape Plants in Various Wet Feet Conditions

Australian Study – Plants Surviving Extreme Wet Conditions

In a recent decade-long Australian study, researchers examined the impact of urbanization and altered land use on ecosystems, particularly related to weather extremes, plant waterlogging, and increased flooding.

The study aimed to identify plant species that can thrive in extreme wet conditions, providing landscape architects with opportunities to create more resilient landscapes in Australian developments.

These selected plant species act as buffers against wet conditions, enhancing the usability of the landscape.

Additionally, the study highlighted the success of certain drought-tolerant native plants during flooding events.

It also identified Lomandra and other species suitable for heavy wet soils, offering specific plant recommendations for Australian bio-retention swales and rain gardens.

Three testing procedures showcased extreme waterlogging over a 10-year period.

Area 1 evaluated plants’ ability to withstand wet feet conditions.

Area 2 examined their effectiveness in bio-retention swales.

Area 3 observed plant adaptability in floodplains. Analysing data from six recent floods, the study employed statistical tools such as two-way ANOVA and Pearson correlation coefficients to determine some factors influencing plant survival.

Testing Area 1

In Testing Area 1, which had heavy clay-type soil and extreme wet feet conditions, certain plant species showed impressive survival rates.

Evergreen Baby Lomandra and Shara Lomandra had a 100% survival rate. However, commercial types of Lomandra confertifolia and Lomandra longifolia performed poorly.

Liriope species thrived in the wet parts of Area 1. A root rot treatment trial revealed that treating Tanika Lomandra longifolia with Metcalf TdAVC1 & TdAVA2 and Rhizovital42 from OCP significantly improved survival rates.

Testing Area 2

In the Bio-retention swale Testing Area 2, Liriope and Rhaphiolepis Cosmic White, along with native plants like Slim, Better John, and Green John Callistemons, thrived for 10 years.

Wet feet loving Shara, Evergreen Baby, and Tropic Cascade Lomandra also thrived. However, many plants, including Dianella and Tristianopsis, did not survive the trial.

Testing Area 3

In Testing Area 3, the study examined plant survivability in floodplains. Overall, the study emphasized the importance of selecting resilient plant varieties for floodplain landscapes.

The number of floods experienced correlated with plant survival, and mature plants had a higher chance of survival compared to young plants.

Lomandra, Liriope, Dianella, Nandina, ornamental grasses, Agapanthus, turf grasses, and Callistemon viminalis generally survived well. Hibertia scandens, Murraya, Acacia and many other varieties showed varying results.

Study Findings

The study underscored the significance of breeding wet feet-loving plants and testing plants to survive extreme wet conditions, highlighting the importance of variety over species when selecting plants.

For example, Grey Box and Mundi Westringia thrived in the wet, while other Westringia varieties did not.

These findings offer crucial guidance for landscape planners working in urban environments with wet conditions.

They also provide nurseries with knowledge to recommend suitable plants for wet conditions.

Summary Table

See our recommended list of Waterlogging tolerant plants that also survive drought in the table below.

Trade Name and Variety, or botanical name
Regularly waterlogged soils
Bio-retention Swales
 Floods Extreme, Moderate, or Small
Agapanthus Generally not No Extreme
Aloe No No Minor
Purple Lea® Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘PA400’ PBR Yes Yes Extreme
Nafray® Pennisetum alopecuroides Yes Yes Extreme
Common Yes Yes Extreme
Common No No Moderate
Slim™Callistemon viminalis ‘CV01’ PBR Yes Yes Extreme
Macarthur™ Callistemon viminalis ‘LC01’ PBR Yes Yes Extreme
Red Alert™ Callistemon viminalis ‘KPS38’ PBR Yes Yes Extreme
Better John™ Callistemon viminalis ‘LJ1’ PBR Yes Yes Extreme
Green John™ Callistemon viminalis ‘LJ23’ PBR Yes Yes Extreme
Camelia Various forms Probably not No Extreme
Casuarina cunninghamiana Yes Probably Yes
Casuarina glauca Probably Not No Moderate
Cordyline australis Probably Not No Moderate
Cupianopsis anacoides Probably Not Probably not Moderate
Baeckea virgata breeding No No Moderate
Breeze® Dianella caerulea ‘DCNC0’ PBR Yes but spotted leaves No Extreme
Lucia™ Dianella caerulea ‘DC101’ PBR Yes No Extreme
Fine Divine™ Dietes bicolor ‘Di2’ Probably Not No Extreme
Blue Horizon™ Eremophila glabra prostrate ‘EREM1’ PBR No No Moderate
Fraxinus griffithii New breed Probably Not No Moderate
Yalba™ Imperata cylindrica Yes Yes Moderate
Isabella® Liriope muscari ‘LIRF’ PBR Yes Yes Extreme
Just Right® Liriope muscari ‘LIRJ’ PBR Yes Yes Extreme
Katie Belles™ Lomandra hystrix ‘LHBYF’ PBR Yes Yes Extreme
Lomandra longifolia ‘Katrinus Deluxe’ PBR Mixed results No Extreme
Shara™ Blue Lomandra Fluviatilis LM380 Yes Yes Extreme
Lucky Stripe™ Lomandra hystrix ‘LMV200’ PBR Yes Yes Extreme
Nyalla®Lomandra longifolia ‘LM400’ No No Extreme
Shara™ Lomandra fluviatilis ‘ABU7’ PBR Yes Yes Extreme
Tanika® Lomandra longifolia ‘LM300’ PBR No No Extreme
Tropic Cascade™ Lomandra hystrix ‘LHWP’ PBR Yes Yes Extreme
Magnolia No No Moderate
Melaleuca linariifolia No No Moderate
Melaleuca Narrow form No No Moderate
Yareena™ Myoporum parvifolium ‘PARV01’ PBR No No Minor
Blush™ Nandina domestica ‘AKA’ PBR Yes No Moderate
Flirt™ Nandina domestica ‘MURASAKI’ PBR No No Moderate
Obsession™ Nandina domestica ‘SEIKA’ PBR Yes No Moderate
Green Mist® Phormium No No Minor
Plectranthus cillatis No No Minor
Cosmic Pink™Rhaphiolepis indica ‘RAPH02’ PBR Yes Yes Moderate
Cosmic White™ Rhaphiolepis indica ‘RAPH01’ PBR Yes Yes Moderate
Grey Box™ Westringia fruticosa ‘WES04’ PBR Yes Yes Extreme
Mundi™ Westringia fruticosa ‘WES05’ PBR Yes Yes Extreme
Ozbreed Zen Grass® Zoysia spp. ‘ZOY01’  PBR Intended Unknown Unknown Extreme
Nara Native Turf Yes Yes Extreme
Empire Zoysia Probably Unkown Extreme
Evergreen Baby™ Lomandra labill ‘LM600’ PBR Yes Yes Extreme
Amethyst™ Liriope muscari ‘LIRTP’ PBR Yes Yes Extreme

Further Reading

For the full paper, click here, and for a full paper summary visit this page.

Todd Layt is a renowned plant and turf breeder, researcher, and marketer with a passion for developing high-quality landscape plants and turf that are tough, resilient, and sustainable.

Over the years, Todd has established himself as an industry leader and has built an impressive portfolio of over 60 different plant varieties, many of which are now selling in large numbers across the globe.

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