When life gives you clay soil... make a flower bed with plants that love being in the moist ground! While hard to dig and sometimes soggy, this soil is rich in nutrients and can retain moisture for a long time, both essential features for many green pets. We have already prepared a list of plants for clay soil, so you can see how diverse your options are!
Our List Of Best Plants for Clay Soil
Clay soil is notorious for being hard to handle. But don't give up too soon. You can enjoy greenery outdoors with just a little work. To eliminate the situation of poor drainage, add bulky organic matter or gypsum; and to make the mix even more nutritious, add composted bark, manure, or organic mulch. When all set, pick the plant to your liking!
Perennials for Clay Soil
If you want help guarding off rabbits or deers, consider planting Sea Holly around your property. This plant has a unique appearance due to its sharp bracts and exciting colors – silvery stems and pale purple, white, and green spikes.
Sunlight: Sea Holly needs at least 6 hours of full sun to thrive.
Placement: Place in a location where this clay plant can get a needed amount of light is the best.
Watering: Sea Holly doesn't need a lot of water, only during periods of prolonged droughts.
Soil requirements: This plant thrives in a sandy, well-drained substrate.
Hosta is a perfect ground cover that is easy to look after. Hostas are valued for their foliage, which has various ornaments that can satisfy practically any taste!
Sunlight: Hostas enjoy full sun but can also handle partial shade.
Placement: Hostas adapt to different conditions reasonably well, so you can base your choice on how they will add to the overall view of your outdoors.
Watering: Make sure to water once or twice per week. However, the amount can be higher during hot months.
Soil requirements: The main requirement is that the soil is well-draining.
The perfect flower to brighten your mood in early fall when nature prepares for winter sleep. These purple, white, or blue daisy-shaped plants grow well in clay soil with just a little need for amendments.
Sunlight: Asters can adapt pretty well to partial shade but love full sun.
Placement: Asters like to be in moist and colder environments.
Watering: Usually, watering twice a week should be enough. Be careful not to splash any liquid on the leaves, as this might cause diseases.
Soil requirements: Asters will thrive in loamy and well-draining moist ground.
Flowers For Clay Soil
A flower that doesn't need an introduction. From ancient times, roses symbolized love, passion, and beauty. Fortunately for you, these plants are one of the best for clay soil.
Sunlight: Roses like to be in full sun.
Placement: You can plant Roses somewhere it can get the needed amount of light. However, roses need to be protected from the afternoon sun in hot climates.
Watering: During the growing season, water the flowers twice a week.
Soil requirements: To provide the best environment, enrich clay soil with organic matters such as compost or mulch.
Beautiful showy flowers that can be a nice touch of color to your outdoors in summer! They come in various shades, from purple and blue to white and pink. Don't forget to watch your pets around Hortensias, as they are toxic for your little friends.
Sunlight: Hortensias thrive in part shade or full sun.
Placement: You can pick any place where it can receive the needed light and good drainage.
Watering: If you want to enjoy luscious green leaves and incredible bloom, water Hortensias three times per week.
Soil requirements: Usually, these flowers enjoy loam soil with high organic content, so make sure to add organic matter to your soil.
- Daylily (Hemerocallis fulva)
This extremely productive plant will keep you company while you wait for the rest of the flowers to start blooming. Its bright flowers usually last only a day, but the plant produces so many buds that you won't even see the change in its appearance.
Sunlight: Daylilies feel best in full sun or at least part sun.
Placement: You can place your flowers in a sunny spot, where the plant will get at least 4 hours of sunlight.
Watering: Usually, watering twice a week will be enough, but check on the soil's moisture during hot months.
Soil requirements: Daylilies need moist and rich in nutrients, well-draining soil.
Best Trees For Clay Soil
- Chinese magnolia, The Saucer magnolia (Magnolia soulangeana)
This Magnolia hybrid has stunning white and pink tulip-shaped flowers with a light scent. Since it grows to 25 ft (7 meters) tall, it's beloved by gardeners with limited spaces.
Sunlight: Magnolia prefers full sun but can manage part sun.
Placement: Choose a spot in your garden where the tree can get full sun at least 6 hours per day.
Watering: This tree needs watering once a week.
Soil requirements: Chinese Magnolia can thrive in clay, loamy or sandy soils.
A highly decorative shrub with an intoxicating smell can become a centerpiece of your garden or yard. If you pick your Lilacs wisely, you can enjoy their bloom and fragrance from April to June!
Sunlight: Lilacs need full sun to bloom.
Placement: Make sure to pick a place where it can get at least 6 hours of full sun.
Watering: You can pour your Lilacs a drink every ten days or two weeks.
Soil requirements: Lilacs enjoy loamy and well-drained soils.
- Thuja (Thuja occidentalis Linn)
This tree is perfect for people who highly value their privacy. These giant evergreen beauties can become a natural fence between you and the rest of the world.
Sunlight: Thuja loves to be in full sun, but part shade can also work.
Placement: You can plant your tree based on your needs, but a spot with access to full sun is the best.
Watering: You can water your Thuja every ten days.
Soil requirements: Thujas adapt well, and you can plant them in any well-draining soil.
Other Plants That Like Clay Soil
- Silk Tassel bush (Garrya elliptica)
This bush radiates the elegance of the Edwardian or Victorian era due to its dramatic tassels that somehow remind earings. Thus, if extravagant aesthetics are your thing, this will be a perfect plant for you!
Sunlight: Silk Tassel Bush can grow well in the sun and shade.
Placement: Plant this bush in a shady spot to avoid burning the leaves.
Watering: Watering once a month is just enough for a fully established plant.
Soil requirements: Well-drained soil is a must, so add some sand or compost to increase drainage.
Chokeberry is perfect for people with a practical mindset. You will enjoy its spring bloom, summer berries, and delicious jam in winter!
Sunlight: Chokeberry will be grateful for full sun, but part shade can also work.
Placement: Plant this tree somewhere it can be exposed to the full sun.
Watering: Water your tree twice a week.
Soil requirements: Aronia is exceptionally hardy, so almost any soil will suit it.
Pros and Cons of Planting in Clay Soil
Clay soil is no reason to give up your dream of a green garden or a flower bed. You have to make the best out of the situation. Learning about all the strong and not-so-strong sides of your soil will be a great start.
- Can tolerate dryness for more extended periods;
- Excellent water retention;
- Great nutrient density;
- Perfect for plants that need a lot of moisture.
- Slow draining;
- Tends to become denser in winter;
- Compacts too fast, which complicates the growing of plants roots;
- Proneness to become alkaline in pH;
- Due to its density reduces aeration;
- Warms slower, which delays plant growth.
Golden Rules On How to Plant in Clay Soil
Preparation is a crucial element of success when working with clay soil. Improve your ground with raised beds, bulky organic matter, organic mulches, and gypsum. Also, it's best to think ahead and create some walking path for your future flower bed or garden, as clay soil doesn't react well to being stepped on. We advise you to avoid early planting, as clay soil might be too hard to dig into. And last but not least, pick appropriate plants that grow well in clay soil.