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clay soil so little choice of plants

Have done what we can to improve the soil in our garden as it is still really heavy clay soil making it hard work. We have some shrubs to keep us going but need more colour that is long lasting and that needs little looking after.


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,382

    Clay soil is actually very fertile and will grow all sorts of things.  It's just hard to work.  There are other threads lower down about how to improve clay soil by adding plenty of sharp sand, fine grit, well rotted compost and manure to break up the clods.    You need to add such material to the soil when planting any new, sizeable plants and add a thick layer of mulch every autumn for the worms to work in over winter.

    In the mean time, you can either sow a selection of annuals in trays next month and then prick them out into small pots and plant them out in the garden in May or you can buy small plugs from the garden centre in March and April and plant those out direct - as long as they're hardy - or grow them on in trays or bigger pots till the frosts have passed in May.

    If you want to reduce the overall work, go straight for perennials.  Hardy geraniums com ein all sorts of colours and sizes and will go on for years.   Achilleas also come in many colours and flower for long periods.  Ajuga reptans makes good low ground cover and Japanese anemones will give you late colour into autumn.   Aquilegias for late spring colour, bergenias for foliage ineterst and late winter/early spring flowers, campanulas, knapweed, euphorbias if you like acid colours, hellebores, hemerocallis, iris sibirica, knaitia, ox eye daisies, primulas, pulmonarias and thalictrum.   Roses also like clay soils.

    Look them up for flower colour and plant sizes plus foliage forms so you have a variety of size, form and flowering times to take you through the seasons then go and see what's on offer at the garden centre.




    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,817

    I have clay soil. I earmark an area at a time and improve and find most things will grow, some very well. Just have a go add plenty of compost/manure every time you plant something, i eto each plant and slowly it will improve.

  • chicachica Posts: 252

    hi renu i also have clay soil but in spring garden full of aquilegias anemonies real old cottage plants lots of plants will grow in your soil i just dig out a big clod of clay and fill the hole up with soil,and in it goes you will be fine look forward to hearing from you

  • RenuRenu Posts: 2

    Thank you all for the advice given. Will get on as soon as I can get into the garden that is waterlogged at the moment.

    Will start to look up all the plants mentioned.

    Thank you all so much.

  • I have hard clay soil ,so far I have 2 raised beds for flowers & veg in the rest

  • Bunny ...Bunny ... Posts: 3,471
    I can grow most things in my heavy clay , only things to avoid for me are the dry loving plants and rockery as its just too wet for them.
  • I had heavy clay soil mixed with chalk in some parts:/nightmare! we sectioned of areas, put in some raised beds and improved the soil with compost manure, sand, whatever we could think of and now two years later its alot better; not perfect but definitely workable. In the meantime I used pots scattered around to put splashes of colour...fuchsias seem to thrive here but I can't get Foxgloves to stay and the roses struggle so I dug them up and put them in large pots last Autumn...waiting to see if they're better this Summer.....roll on the sunshine I sayimage

  • Roses like clay soil, have a cottage garden on clay with a wide variety of flowers. Some plants that are thugs in other gardens are fine in mine. Have a collection of perennial geraniums.
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  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 81,358

    The clay soils of Mid Suffolk are some of the most fertile, productive and expensive arable land in the country - add humous, allow the worms to work and don't walk on it in the winter image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

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