perennials clay soils

Perennials For Clay Soils

All of the perennials in this list will grow on clay soil and don’t require anything special when being planted. Note, t’s not a good idea to amend the soil when putting them into your garden.

In fact, if you have a perennial flower that isn’t listed here – please add it in the comments section below and tell us a bit about how it grows for you – and how heavy your clay really is. This will give us all a new look at some plants we might not have considered.

  • Acanthus will accommodate itself to the heavier soils
  • Achillea will grow anywhere.
  • Aconitum or monkshood is a classic lover of heavier soils.
  • Alcea or Hollyhocks surprisingly grow well on clay soils.
  • Amsonia should do well on clay.
  • Anchusa is good once established and protected from slugs (slugs like damper soils and they love anchusa).
  • Anemone are excellent perennials for clay soils and will thrive and flower well on clay. The taller varieties are excellent.
  • Asters will grow anywhere. Clay or concrete does not matter to this plant.
  • Bergenia should be fine.
  • Brunnera macrophylla should do well although I’m not sure about the newer hybrids – you’ll have to trial them.
  • Campanula the taller species do better than shorter, so do C persificolia. You’ll find variations between varieties. ‘Loddon’s Pink apparently does well but “Telham Beauty’ is variable.
  • Chrysanthemum (Shasta Daisies) do well enough although they will be shorter-lived on clay than in well drained soils.
  • Coreopsis verticillata is the best in clay. Forget all others.
  • Doronicum spring bloomer, one of the earliest of yellow daisies.
  • Digitalis or foxglove – scatter the seed and let nature take its
  • Echinacea thrive on heavier soils
  • Echinops make good clay soil plants. These things will grow anywhere but in a closet.
  • Geranium: most of the geraniums will tolerate clay soils.
  • Helenium are very showy daisies and they will grow handsomely on clay soils.
  • Helianthemum or perennial sunflowers will grow nicely (if it can be said that this plant ever grows “nicely”) 🙂
  • Heliopsis is another of the perennial sunflowers and it too grows well.
  • Hellebore surprisingly enough are listed as surviving quite nicely.
  • Hemerocallis are great on clay. They do take a little longer to become established but can’t be killed. Heuchera are great perennials for clay soils and this is a relief given the amount of semi-shaded clay around
  • Iris germanica or flag iris will grow on heavier ground although many of the species iris will not
  • Kniphofia will tolerate clay.
  • Lysimachia will tolerate heavy soils as well but given the fact that you can grow this plant in asphalt and not kill it, this does not surprise me.
  • Lythrum will do quite nicely
  • Monarda or beebalm survive and thrive on the regular moisture of clay.
  • Peonies do quite well in clay soils – one of my mainstay plants
  • Rudbeckia believe it or not, the biennial forms will live on clay as will the taller species such as ‘Herbstonne’ and even the most popular ‘Goldsturm’ will be fine.
  • Salvia nemerosa is reputed to do well on these soils but other salvia are very short-lived and are to be considered as annuals.
  • Senecio are long-lived but then again, I’ve never been a major fan of this plant.
  • Solidago will live quite comfortably and this is a good thing.
  • Thalictrum is a good plant and will do well.
  • Verbascums will tolerate clay but I note that they are short lived at the best of times.

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