Forum home Plants

Planting into clay covered with gravel.

bobloesbobloes Posts: 134
Hi All,

I terraced my heavy clay front garden a couple of years ago and laid down a membrane and 20mm gravel, 5cm depth.  I planted some shrubs and small fruit trees with very few failures although some plants grew too big or I did not like so modifications have and are taking place. 
I want to plant a shrub rose, a New Zealand hebe and a Chilean Guava.  I feel confident that they will be OK but does anyone have experience of any of them or advice which might suggest I do not do it. 
Always grateful for your thoughts

Cheers  Bob


  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 10,811
    Hi @bobloes , Whereabouts are you?  Hebes might not like heavy clay soil or winter wet/cold. I'm also not sure of the Chilean Guava either but don't know much about them.  If I may say so, it seems a rather strange mix of plants? 
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,688
    Some Hebes can cope with clay soils, but need a fair bit of sun too. Best to plant a larger size Hebe rather than a small plant. With Chilean Guava, it needs shelter from harsh winds and quite a bit of sun. The soil will not be suitable. They really prefer a more free draining soil. 
  • bobloesbobloes Posts: 134
    I am in Weymouth about 400 metres from the sea.  Really interesting points.  They will all be spaced about two metres apart almost as display(?) plants ie only gravel around them, but Lizzie variety can be the spice of life??  There will definitely be enough sun although it could be subject to occasional strong winds.  I did think of trying to produce a 'micro soil climate' with lots of grit.  The hebe is growing well in a pot, now about two years old and some 60 cm high, a lovely donation from a friend.  I often think that plants can be great adaptors. ie lots of our favourites come from very different environments.  Once again very grateful, gives me pause for thought.  Cheers

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,246
    I'd agree with @Borderline. The rose should be fine, but the Guava would need adequate drainage, and the Hebe will too if it's going to last. They [hebes]  can cope surprisingly well with lots of wet, and even quite heavy, soil, but it doesn't do them any favours long term. 
    I think the Guava might get affected by the wind too, but could be ok if you site it carefully. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • bobloesbobloes Posts: 134
    As a consequence of your combined advice I have put the hebe and the guavas in my vegetable raised beds over winter in order to think about what to do.  I am a very slow thinker!!  The soil there is the same clay but has been enriched over the years with loads of compost and, being raised, better drainage.  They are still exposed to the same north west facing winds etc that the weather can produce.  I do not have a personal relationship with any of them yet so if it does not work out - c'est la vie!!!  Thanks.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,246
    I hope you get a good result @bobloes. Sometimes it pays to think about things for a while. I do a lot of that... ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
Sign In or Register to comment.