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Is Fetterbush Lyonia a Wetland Plant?

Is Fetterbush Lyonia a Wetland Plant?

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Paul Brown

There are certain types of plants called wetland plants, meaning they grow in wetter areas than other plants, such as swamps. The fetterbush lyonia is commonly found in these areas. This begs the question, is it a wetland plant?

Fetterbush lyonia is considered a wetland plant. This is because it grows in wet, swampy areas and doesn’t thrive in arid regions. However, with proper care, it can live in less moist areas. 

In this article, I will discuss where the fetterbush lyonia is native and some additional information on the wetland plant, such as general care tips.

Where Is Fetterbush Lyonia Native To?

The fetterbush lyonia is native to Eastern North America, the United States east coast, and North America. As a whole, the plant grows mostly in Virginia, through Florida, and Louisiana (source).

Fetterbush Lyonia can be found mainly in wetlands and moist areas such as swamps, bogs, wet forests, and other places with a high water volume. However, the plant does prefer a break from the damp conditions here and there. 

The fetterbush lyonia is considered a wetland plant. A wetland is an area covered in a few inches of water or stays saturated for up to two weeks (source). This would include swamps, bogs, and wet forests. 

This plant often reaches heights of 3 to 6 feet (0.91-1.83m). In the late winter to early spring, you’ll see it produce pink or white blooms with a delicate scent (source).

This shrub attracts butterflies, bees, and several types of birds with its beautiful flowers and sweet smell. It is also very resistant to grazing deer. 

For both people and animals, the fetterbush lyonia is highly toxic (source). So, if you have pets or live near wildlife you don’t want to hurt, don’t plant this shrub.

Fetterbush Lyonia Care Tips

You’ll need to follow a few general care rules if you own any fetterbush lyonias.

Fortunately, they are relatively easy to care for. You can grow them in non-swampy areas, but you’ll need to make sure to follow the care tips strictly since the plants will not be in their natural habitat. 

Let’s discuss some of these tips. 


When it comes to pruning, fetterbush lyonia can put up with a lot. The best time to prune the plant is when it has finished blooming in late spring.

Pruning can be necessary because this plant is known to be competitive and takes over space. If you cut it back to the ground, it can handle this harsh pruning and grow right back.

You’ll want to ensure you make your cuts at a 45-degree angle when pruning. This will help the plant grow back correctly.

After the initial pruning, you’ll only need to remove any dead parts of the plant as you notice them. You can also cut back pieces as you see fit to get a desired or much cleaner shape. 

Sunlight and Watering

This plant likes to grow in partial shade and highly rich, acidic soil. Because it is an ericaceous plant, it is acidic. However, if necessary, it can also endure various soil types, such as sandy soil.

 You can plant fetterbush lyonia in your backyard, even if it isn’t a moist or swampy area. 

When doing this, you’ll have to strictly monitor the amount of water the fetterbush lyonia gets. Since it won’t be in its natural moist habitat, you’ll need to ensure it gets enough water.

The plant can handle some dryness so wait to water when the top few inches dry out. If you’re in an area that gets a lot of rain, you can water it less than usual. 

The fetterbush lyonia likes water but doesn’t like swimming in it, so keep that in mind. 

Leaf Spot

Fetterbush lyonia is an easy target for leaf spot because it needs wet conditions to grow. Excess water on leaves offers the perfect conditions for leaf spot bacteria to grow. The wet conditions make it hard to manage the disease.  

Pseudomonas and Xanthomas are the common bacteria found in leaf spot (source). This disease can look somewhat different depending on the plant it is attacking. The spots can be yellow, brown, or a mix of both. They can also be round or have an irregular shape. At times, the spots can have a raised texture or feel like the part of the leaf is sinking in. 

When the infection reaches the most advanced stages, it causes the entire leaf to change to brown and then shrivel up. This causes significant leaf loss, which can be terrible for your fetterbush. 

Usually, there is a considerable amount of time between the time of infection to when visible symptoms begin to show up. As a result, once you notice the physical symptoms, the disease has already progressed too far. The plant will be useless at this point. 

Therefore, it is important to practice preventative measures. Since the fetterbush lyonia is a wetland plant, it is hard to keep excess moisture away; however, you can do several other things. For instance:

  • Removing dead or fallen leaves from the fetterbush is essential because the leaf spot can also thrive on decaying debris. 
  • You can also spray a fungicide on any new growth as a preventative measure. Leaf spot will attack new growth first, increasing the chances of keeping the leaf spot away. 

Use a fungicide such as Bonide 775 Copper Fungicide (link to Amazon) to prevent leaf spot.

This fungicide is excellent for multiple fungal infections that can attack your plants. The spray is affordable and gets the job done, so it’s worth a shot to use it as a preventative measure for your fetterbush. 


Fetterbush lyonia is a wetland plant found in moist areas such as swamps and wetland forests. However, it can survive dryer conditions as needed. It is commonly found in Virginia, Florida, and Louisiana. 

This shrub prefers partial shade and acidic soil. When growing fetterbush in your backyard, ensure to provide it with proper care. This is essential, considering the plant is not in its typical moist environment. 

Because of the moist conditions, fetterbush lyonia gets leaf spot pretty easily, which can kill it rather quickly. Use a fungicide on new growth as a preventative measure.