It’s no secret that planting in clay soil can be difficult – the clay becomes solid when dry and slippery when wet. When you are working with clay soil, you have two options: 1) Try to change the composition of the soil or 2) find plants that can thrive in this type of soil. Changing the soil composition is a long process that requires a lot of consistent hard work. Finding the top plants that thrive in clay, on the other hand, is easy.
There are actually many plants and flowers that do surprisingly well in clay. Try growing a garden with these adaptable plants:
Asters are daisy-like flowers that do amazingly well when planted in clay. They are very adaptable, usually bloom in autumn and grow 2-5 feet tall. Plus they come in a variety of colors, lavender, pink, white and more. Fun fact: they get their name from the Latin word for “stars.”
Goldenrod plants, in the Crown of Rays variety, are less than 2 feet tall, bloom in the late summer and have spiky yellow flowers. Other types of Goldenrods grow well in clay, but can grow up to 5 feet tall.
Russian Sage thrives in dry, hot conditions. In fact, this flowering plant does so well that some consider it to be an invasive species. Its lavender flowers and silver gray leaves make it a visually stunning addition to your garden.
Daylily flowers can grow in all types of conditions, making them great to plant in clay soil. They bloom several times throughout summer and come in a number of colors.
Little Bluestem is a North American prairie grass that can withstand long periods of drought with roots that burrow deep within the soil. It usually has blue/green foliage that turns crimson in autumn.
Fountain Grass is very low maintenance ornamental grass. The “Hameln” variety is shorter than other kinds, growing to about 2-2½ feet tall.
Ironweed is a tough perennial flower that can withstand drought and the summer heat. Its flowers are a pinkish purple color and even attract butterflies.
Canna can bring a tropical, dramatic vibe to your garden with its lush, colorful flowers and green foliage. It grows between 2 to 6 feet tall and can grow in poorly drained soils, like clay.
Black Eye Susan flowers can add a sunny, bright feeling to your garden. The most commonly grown variety is “Goldstrum” and is a bright, gold color.
Perennial Geraniums bloom in spring and can grow in full sun to part shade. They will continue to bloom throughout the summer, bringing lots of color and life to your garden.
Coral Bells, named for their small bell-shaped flowers, come in a variety of colors from silver to peach to deep purple. To see bright pink flowers set against silvery foliage, try the “Paris” coral bells.
Blazing Star is an interesting-looking plant: the small, densely clustered flower heads are feathery and colorful on long slender stems. Because they tend to look like feathers, the plant is sometimes called gayfeather.
Bee Balm can attract hummingbirds to your garden, and it is resistant to deer and rabbits. Its colorful flowers are red, pink, lavender and purple.
Sea Holly can add texture to your garden with its clusters of blue flowers and jagged leaves. This plant is also resistant to deer and rabbits.
Purple Coneflower attracts birds and butterflies to your garden with its colorful flowers. It needs a lot of sun to grow and comes in colors like red, burgundy and pink.
Coreopsis is a flowering plant perfect for covering the ground. It loves the sun and blooms in the summer.
As evidenced above by all these types of plants, clay soil is not death sentence to your garden. Plant a few of these top plants that thrive in clay and watch them grow into a medley of colorful plants!
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