The semi-double double white flowers are blushed in bud, highly scented, open over many weeks and develop red hips later. For flowering shrubs that like clay, a great place to start is with native smooth hydrangea, also called Annabelle hydrangea. I do encourage gardeners to think of shrub roses just as they would any flowering shrub and to use them accordingly. They are also highly resistant to diseases that can plague conventional lilacs, too. Special interests include hardy shrubs, trees, herbaceous perennials, flower bulbs, wildlife and garden design; he has authored books on all of these subjects. Mahonias also do well on clay and provide cheering winter and early spring colour. Yes, you can grow hydrangeas even in clay soil! They grow in sun or shade, in all types of soils, in wet and dry conditions, and are resistant to both deer and rabbits. Look for the variety Golden Lanterns with soft golden yellow leaves. If you think you have these conditions, a simple solution without amending your soil would be to use these proven plants from the list below. It is not easy to grow in dense soil but this list of plants for clay soil will give you a fighting chance. The plant itself if tough, vigorous and quick-growing. I feel rather smug about my sandy soil which is light, easy to dig and drains freely. A combination of these two plants with symphoricarpus, the snowberry is ideal where gardening is impossible, on a heavy clay bank for example. R. ‘Cunningham’s White’ is an old variety with dark green foliage and the palest mauve flowers that fade to white. This tough species can grow in most any soil and even tolerates shade well. Many shrubs grow well on clay soils, especially the popular deciduous flowering shrubs: deutzia, philadelphus, weigela, forsythia and ribes for example. A keen gardener Andy and his wife Ros have a two acre garden in Hampshire, U.K. that is open to groups by appointment. Join me on my next 4 week online Shrubs course here at Learning with experts, ... Read moreAndy McIndoe is our Chief Blogger, and teaches five courses on the site. Clay soil is much maligned by gardeners and homeowners everywhere, and no wonder: it’s heavy, sticky, and difficult to work in. So, if you’ve been struggling to achieve your dream garden or landscape in clay soil, cheer up! Their yellow flowers combine well with the golden variegations of spotted laurels. There's some beautiful flowering trees that cope admirably in clay soil, as well as trees with beautiful bark or evergreen foliage. They love a good, sunny spot, which ensures best color on dark-leaf varieties like the Wine series as well as abundant blooms. For the longest bloom period, look to reblooming varieties like Sonic Bloom® or the Snippet® series. We’ve selected some of the best trees to grow in clay, although we still recommend improving clay soil prior by working in some organic matter. Fortunately, Dr. Tom Ranney from NCSU developed the Double Take™ series, which has the same super saturated flower colors but in big, doubled versions and without thorns. For a dark red ‘Nova Zembla’ is a great choice: upright growth with deep red, weather resistant blooms. For the very best bark colour, remove shoots close to the ground in spring to encourage the formation of new shoots for next winter's display. In addition to the unusual foliage, pink flowers in early summer contrast with the black leaves for a traffic-stopping display. In fact, smooth hydrangeas, also known as Annabelle hydrangeas, are native to North America and grow naturally in very heavy clay soils without a problem. Andy has over thirty years experience as a practical horticulturist and consultant. Tyler Zey. To ensure that the effort you spend digging pays landscape dividends, look for these flowering shrubs and evergreens that happily grow and bloom in clay soils: ( The best shrubs for clay soil are those that are tolerant of its texture and its ability to hold water and then dry out. Plants like clay a lot more than gardeners do. It can grow in nearly any soil and needs no pruning to grow into a landscape-worthy accent or hedge. If you are asking yourself, “Do I have heavy clay soils?” Try this test. Quagmires in the rainy season, concrete-hard and cracked in drought - clay soils can be very challenging to gardeners. For smaller gardens Magnolia stellata is the natural choice and it performs reliably with a wonderful display of starry, shining blooms from early spring. 2m (6ft6in). For late summer flowers the hardy hibiscus are reliable, even if they are late to break into leaf at the beginning of the season. Hydrangea paniculata 'Floribunda' is a good choice for clay soils. They do best in well-drained, fertile soil. I always emphasise that if you say “clay” with a smile on your face it sounds so much nicer. Tough hawthorns are deciduous trees or shrubs, and a good choice for clay soils. Hibiscus syriacus ‘Hamabo is one of the best. They grow well on clay, the foliage stays green and healthy and the flowers can be superb. Do remember that shrubs grown on clay have great stability, the weight of the soil keeps the roots firm and the plants rarely suffer from wind-rock. For larger spaces choose one of the cultivars of Magnolia soulangeana, however this grows best in neutral to acid clay. On heavy clay shrubs are a natural choice because major cultivation of the soil is rarely required after planting, just the removal of weeds around the plants. The simplest way to choose is to compare young, containerized plants while they are in flower. Jen . My whole yard is clay and hard to work with. Surprise! A regular contributor to magazines, newspapers and BBC Radio, Andy lectures widely at home and abroad. Get FREE Gardening tips and ideas from our experts in your inbox. Want to learn more about shrubs? To get the very most out of a lilac planting, look for Bloomerang® reblooming lilacs – they bloom alongside other lilacs in spring, but after a brief rest, bloom mid-summer through fall for more color and fragrance. Heavy clay soils can be hazardous to many plants. But the simple fact is that clay soil gets its bad rap because it’s hard on people - from a plant’s point of view, clay soil is usually not problematic at all. Dogwood Shrubs – Dogwood shrubs are extremely versatile plants that can handle clay soils with ease and grow in sun and part shade. Planting in spring may be difficult if the ground is wet and heavy. Growing wild over much of the eastern United States and Canada, diervilla is a quiet, refined shrub that does a lot in the landscape but asks very little from you. Dig a … Many old-fashioned shrub roses grow well on clay soil, so ‘Blanche Double de Coubert’ is a representative of them all, as well as being one of the finest old roses in its own right. Ribes sanguineum. The grey, catkin-like buds are attractive in winter. Your choice is only limited if your clay soil is also in shade. Comments (6) aegis1000 . Those can be a bit fussy about where they are planted, but their close cousins, the shrub dogwoods, are some of the most widely adaptable landscape plants on the market. What he should have said was: If you have clay, you will have to make the best of it by choosing the right plants. While Kodiak® diervillas may not be the most flashy shrubs you’ll ever plant, you will definitely appreciate how hard-working they are – and how much work they save you. Perennial Plants for Shady Clay. Here are ten beautiful shrubs that will thrive in clay. They're also often high in nutrients and if the structure can be improved, make some of the best growing conditions for plants. Flowering currant flowers are dainty and delicate, adding finesse to the garden in late spring. Better still, they all have strong, sturdy stems that won’t flop, even after summer rains, like ‘Annabelle’ notoriously does. Not only does clay soil pose no problems for these durable, hard-working shrubs, they are also extremely deer and rabbit resistant, too. These tough perennials all will grow well in heavy clay. Whether you live in the frigid North or the steamy South, you can grow these easy-care, practically fool-proof hydrangeas. Spring brings a blanket of white flowers, each dotted with bright pink pollen in the center. To create an idea board, sign in or create an account. Ornamental elderberries like Black Lace® and Laced Up® are so beautiful and exotic looking that it comes as a surprise to many people that they are also extremely tough. With large, saucer-like blooms for months every summer in beautiful shades perfectly suited to sunny days, its prettiness belies an extremely tough plant. Besides the compass plant, the shorter Silphium integrifolium (Rosinweed) also makes a good choice for clay soil. These elderberries aren’t finicky about their soil, but they prefer cooler climates. Whether you call it rose of Sharon or althea, everyone agrees that this old-fashioned favorite is hard to beat for easy-care summer color. For the most part, these can be true — but only if the clay […] Butterfly bush, for example, is not usually a great choice for planting in clay soil because it cannot stand up to cold, wet conditions. Some soils may be a clay mix, which means that it may be predominantly clay, but also include a certain % of another type of soil as well. Join me on my next 4 week online Shrubs course here at Learning with experts, Understanding your Soil: Acid and Alkaline Soils. We promise we won’t pass your details on to anyone else. In fact, smooth hydrangeas, also known as Annabelle hydrangeas, are native to North America and grow naturally in very heavy clay soils without a problem. Clay soils might be heavy to work and a bit challenging, but they are fertile and lend a good deal of support and anchorage. Find plants you love and create idea boards for all your projects. Be sure to research before planting and check the sun availability in your clay soil locations. Reasons to grow: Of all the plants for clay soil, this one is the most spectacular in winter with its almost glowing, bright red bark.It also has a good red autumn leaf colour. Try ‘Beauclerk’ (for its white flowers with a purple tinge) or the similar ‘Belle Etiole’ for its lemon fragrance. Other good shrubs to grow on clay soils: Note: These will grow in clay soil, but some do best in a part-sun spot. Growing it on a clay soil means that its even lower maintenance. However I would still recommend an annual feed with a slow-release general fertiliser for best results. Take your pick of four glorious shades: Double Take Scarlet™, Double Take Orange™, Double Take Pink™, and Double Take Peach™. Started from scratch fifteen years ago, the garden is naturalistic in style, with an extensive wildflower meadow and informal planting. All can be planted anywhere and relied upon for beautiful, practically effortless coverage. © 2021 Proven Winners North America LLC. Such soils … Hedges For Clay Soil – So often you hear gardeners lamenting about wanting to grow x, y and z plants in their gardens only to qualify it with ‘but we are on clay’, as if it is some kind of soil borne deficiency or shortcoming. Everyone loves lilacs, and it must be because their fragrance is so delicate that people tend to think they are hard to grow. Kodiak® Black diervilla emerges in shades of deep purple black; Kodiak® Orange in shades of orange and red; and Kodiak® Red in a deep and handsome red. It doesn't let water drain easily, and it bakes solid when dry. These are followed by shining purple fruits loved by pheasants, hence the common name: “Pheasant Berry”. Rosa ‘Thomas á Becket’ Rose ‘Thomas á Becket’ Roses grow well in clay soil, and there are lots of types and colours to choose from. I'm looking for reliable shrubs that will grow well in clay soil. Low Scape® Mound aronia naturally grows as a tidy little tuffet, making it the perfect groundcover or edging. Low Scape® Hedger aronia has a taller but narrow habit, so it makes the perfect low hedge for landscaping or screening off air conditioners and the like. In addition to their ability to withstand challenging conditions, smooth hydrangeas like the Incrediball® series and Invincibelle® series bring all-new colors to this landscape standard. Many times plants will need a more organically rich soil than clay delivers. We selected the Happy Face series for extra-large, very bright blooms. Sometimes known by the unfortunate name of chokeberry (thanks to its edible but astringent fruit), aronia is a beautiful North American native with multi-season appeal. Plus, they are typically untouched by deer and rabbits. I have clay. These shrubs grow in heavy clay in nature, offer generous blossoms, and are practically foolproof to cultivate. Both go well with roses, which also grow well in clay soil. If you’re looking for something smaller, the dwarf Lil’ Kim® series is just the ticket. Get updates from our experts in your inbox. For the most part, these can be true — but only if the clay […] This may change the suitability of the soil to grow different things in it, as it isn’t a full clay soil Full sun/partial shade I have both moist and dry conditions. Acer japonicum, palmatum (Japanese maple), Amelanchier lamarckii AGM, Betula (birch), Cratageus (hawthorn), Eucalyptus, Laburnum anagyroides, L. x watereri 'Vossii' AGM, Liquidambar styraciflua, Malus (crab apple), Pyrus salicifolia 'Pendula' AGM (weeping pear), Sorbus While heavy clay soils will need significant improvement before most plants will happily grow in them, moderate to light clay soils can be very suitable for a wide range of plants, providing that the drainage is adequate. It doesn't, however, mean you can't grow gorgeous plants anyway. As summer wears on, purple-black fruits develop. Holly Philadelphus species and varieties Known as mock oranges, these white-flowered, often fragrant, shrubs are very variable in size. They are nestled into a neat, mounded shrub of emerald green foliage that emerges with a snowy white coating of fine, soft hairs. Andy has over thirty years experience as a practical horticulturist and consultant. Red Rover® combines brilliant fall color, blue berries, and deep mahogany-red stems. The arborvitae class of plants is made up of a few different varieties of tall, pyramid-shaped trees or shrubs with needles and cones, any of which will grow tall and strong in clay. Image: RHS/John Trenholm 10 plants for clay soil: Ribes sanguineum 10. Come fall, the foliage really comes alive, appearing lit from within, which makes them the perfect alternative to burning bush in places where it has become invasive. It’s perfect to brighten up a shady corner. Trees and shrubs to grow in clay soil. Or how about rose of Sharon (aka Althea), a long-time garden favorite with its huge, saucer-like flowers. The tall arching, hollow stems are sea-green. Evergreens can sometimes be tricky to grow. All one really has to do is plant them in a sunny spot and enjoy. Follow. With all year round interest a combination of this type makes a good screen or backdrop. 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