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Plants for clay soil on a steep slope


I was wondering if anyone knew what plants would grow well on a steep slope (water will probably run off) with very clay soil. The garden faces north / north west. What will survive? 

Style wise, cottage garden, preferably scented.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. 

Many Thanks, Bernadette 


  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 4,189
    Pulmonaria, primroses, foxgloves, hardy fuschia, any spring bulbs you fancy, sweet cicely, vincas, japanese anenomes (probably). If it's not too windy and you don't have very limey soil, acers will grow there. Flowering cherries, probably, crab apples possibly. If you have acidic soil, rhododendrons and azaleas. Some hydrangeas.
    “It's not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren't doing it.” ― Terry Pratchett
  • We've got VERY clay-rich soil (basically just clay...our street translates from Welsh as "clay pool close" to give you an idea), and in the ground we've got pygmy lavender, a rose Bush (not sure of the type sorry), some oriental lilies, an apple tree, daffodils and tulips. All growing very well and loving life.
  • Hello,

    Great suggestions so far. 

    Will the steep slope affect how the clay soil acts? I read that the rain doesn't soak into the soil on a slope, but does the clay soil counteract this? 

    Roses and apples definitely work (already have them), and I will look into cherry trees. Really looking forward to growing Japanese anemone, vincas and sweet cicily. Already a fan of foxgloves, bulbs and primroses. Nervous about putting any more lavender in the clay because the previous ones died/dying (probably unsurprisingly) does 'pygmy lavender' put up with it better, what is the varieties name?

    Thank you, Bernadette 
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 5,832
    I've added a generous mulch onto my steep clay bank every year and it's really improved the conditions for plants and helps retain water.
  • *also oriental lillies will be great thank you Richard. 
  • Hi wild edges,

    Your mulching idea sounds great. 

    Did you have to terrace your garden to make the mulch stay in place instead of sliding down to the bottom of the hill? I've not tried gardening the slope yet :S so I'm not sure how much 'roll factor' it has yet... 

    Thank you :) 
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