Plants that Survive in Clay Heavy Soil are GardenWise

Clay-Heavy Plants that Survive & Enchant

A favorite part of my job that I enjoy very much is  landscaping — figuring out which plants will work best in a particular garden, based on amount of light, soil type, water availability, and many other factors.  I work a lot in Northern Virginia, an area which is notorious for clay heavy soil.  I’ve been working with this type of soil for over 20 years, and through all my adventures, I’ve come across some fantastic plants that do incredibly well.  For those who have hit their wall with their clay heavy soil, here are some of the most beautiful clay soil champs available.  Blue Cornflower, a Kennedy favorite, is guaranteed to take your breath away.  Below are some flower suggestions for those with clay-heavy soil, beginning with the irresistable Blue Cornflower.

Blue Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) These brilliant flowers are what memories are made of — rare among “blue” flowers as they are actually blue.  They are delicately fragrant and drought tolerant.  This flower has a lot of history — it’s the national flower of Estonia,  was used in Pharaoh Tutankhamunand’s funeral wreath, and was President Kennedy’s favorite flower, worn by John Kennedy Jr. at his wedding to honor his father. 

Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) These plants (herbs, actually) do very well in clay-heavy soil, are drought tolerant,  and come in a variety of colors – the  purple blooms will stop you in your tracks.  They will break up soil as they grow, and are a favorite among those who practice herbal health as they have been known to boost the immune system. 

Daylily ( Hemerocallis) A must grow for anyone with clay-heavy soil, they do well in a wide range of soil conditions, come in a variety of wonderful colors, and are rugged.  They also establish quickly, grow vigorously, and survive winters with little care.  

Liriope (Liriope muscari) With spikes of tiny violet-blue flowers, this grass-like plant is named after the nymph Liropie, mother of Narcissus.  The plant is a member of the lily family, has dark green, ribbonlike foliage that  recurves toward the ground, and does very well in soil with clay.   

Coreopsis Verticillata or Tickseed is a plant that is very tolerant of clay and its disc florets and ray florets are bright yellow that will make you smile from ear to ear, even on a not so sunny Fall day. 

• Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) is the Maryland state flower and a cheery perennial with bright yellow petals that surround black centers. It’s a striking flower that does very well in clay soil. Plant them en masse and enjoy the show!

Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum) With its classic daisy appearance of white petals around a yellow disc, they are attractive to bees and birds, and are drought-tolerant.  They do well in clay-heavy soil and have cheery blooms.

Plants that Thrive in Clay-Heavy Soil

GardenWise on Clay-Heavy Survivors

Some areas are lucky to have clay-heavy soil, something I think about often as I work often in the clay heavy soil of Northern Virginia.   I use the word lucky because I have the opportunity to share some of the most beautiful clay heavy soil survivors, with blooms that will take your breath away.  Below are some suggestions for those with clay-heavy soil, beginning with the irresistable Blue Cornflower.

Blue Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) These brilliant flowers are what memories are made of — rare among “blue” flowers as they are actually blue.  They are delicately fragrant and drought tolerant.  This flower has a lot of history — it’s the national flower of Estonia,  was used in Pharaoh Tutankhamunand’s funeral wreath, and was President Kennedy’s favorite flower, worn by John Kennedy Jr. at his wedding to honor his father. 

Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) These plants (herbs, actually) do very well in clay-heavy soil, are drought tolerant,  and come in a variety of colors — the  purple blooms will stop you in your tracks.  They will break up soil as they grow, and are a favorite among those who practice herbal health as they have been known to boost the immune system. 

Daylily ( Hemerocallis) A must grow for anyone with clay-heavy soil, they do well in a wide range of soil conditions, come in a variety of wonderful colors, and are rugged.  They also establish quickly, grow vigorously, and survive winters with little care.  

Liriope (Liriope muscari) With spikes of tiny violet-blue flowers, this grass-like plant is named after the nymph Liropie, mother of Narcissus.  The plant is a member of the lily family, has dark green, ribbonlike foliage that recurves toward the ground, and does very well in soil with clay.   

Coreopsis Verticillata or Tickseed is a plant that is very tolerant of clay and its disc florets and ray florets are bright yellow that will make you smile from ear to ear, even on a not so sunny Fall day. 

• Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) is the Maryland state flower and a cheery perennial with bright yellow petals that surround black centers. It’s a striking flower that does very well in clay soil. Plant them en masse and enjoy the show!

Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum) With its classic daisy appearance of white petals around a yellow disc, they are attractive to bees and birds, and are drought-tolerant.  They do well in clay-heavy soil and have cheery blooms.

They Thrive in Clay

GardenWise on Clay-Heavy Survivors

I work often in the clay heavy soil of Northern Virginia, which means I have the  opportunity to share  some of the most beautiful clay soil survivors, with blooms that will take your breath away.  Blue Cornflower, a Kennedy favorite, and more are guaranteed to take your breath away.  Below are some suggestions for those with clay-heavy soil, beginning with the irresistable Blue Cornflower.

Blue Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) These brilliant flowers are what memories are made of — rare among “blue” flowers as they are actually blue.  They are delicately fragrant and drought tolerant.  This flower has a lot of history — it’s the national flower of Estonia,  was used in Pharaoh Tutankhamunand’s funeral wreath, and was President Kennedy’s favorite flower, worn by John Kennedy Jr. at his wedding to honor his father. 

Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) These plants (herbs, actually) do very well in clay-heavy soil, are drought tolerant,  and come in a variety of colors — the  purple blooms will stop you in your tracks.  They will break up soil as they grow, and are a favorite among those who practice herbal health as they have been known to boost the immune system. 

Daylily ( Hemerocallis) A must grow for anyone with clay-heavy soil, they do well in a wide range of soil conditions, come in a variety of wonderful colors, and are rugged.  They also establish quickly, grow vigorously, and survive winters with little care.  

Liriope (Liriope muscari) With spikes of tiny violet-blue flowers, this grass-like plant is named after the nymph Liropie, mother of Narcissus.  The plant is a member of the lily family, has dark green, ribbonlike foliage that  recurves toward the ground, and does very well in soil with clay.   

Coreopsis Verticillata or Tickseed is a plant that is very tolerant of clay and its disc florets and ray florets are bright yellow that will make you smile from ear to ear, even on a not so sunny Fall day. 

• Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) is the Maryland state flower and a cheery perennial with bright yellow petals that surround black centers. It’s a striking flower that does very well in clay soil. Plant them en masse and enjoy the show!

Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum) With its classic daisy appearance of white petals around a yellow disc, they are attractive to bees and birds, and are drought-tolerant.  They do well in clay-heavy soil and have cheery blooms.

June Gardening Checklist

Hurry, Summer is Coming!  

It has been cold, warm, and wet this spring, which will be great for the summer But it’s made for a difficult time in trying to start and finish the usual spring garden chores. Here is a June list, a few days early.

Eliminating at least half of your lawn is a great green garden step, but if you’ve decided to keep your lawn areas, take care of them! Mowing and feeding your lawn areas is important for the continued health of the lawn. It will encourage the lawn to grow portfolio-landscapes_r1_c1_f4thick and green and help to keep it weed free. Mowing will  prevent seeds from forming on the grass or any weeds you may be cultivating, thus keeping them from spreading to other parts of the lawn. It is recommended to fertilize your established lawn several times through the season, but especially important in the spring. Choose a fertilizer that is suited for the type of grass you have and select slow-release, granular complete fertilizers for established lawns – they deliver a consistent supply of nutrients during the lawn’s fastest growth times. Fertilize at least one more time during the growing season, and apply a winter formula in early fall if one is recommended for your lawn  type. Don’t worry if you forget, research says that once a year, whenever you remember, is actually fine for established turf.

You say you don’t have weeds in your lawn?  You are a lucky gardener! For those of us who do, there are weed formulas that you can apply in the early summer months if you missed the April deadline. Again it is important to know what type of weeds you have and choose the most appropriate formula accordingly. Be advised if you are top seeding areas; you have to be very specific that you apply weed control that won’t affect the grass seed. As we try to be as eco-friendly as possible, we recommend you try natural formulas and products first.

As the early showers start to slow down, be sure to water your entire garden regularly. Although it doesn’t seem so, it is time to get all the warm weather vegetables in the ground. The soil temperature is warm enough and the cool nights aren’t going to be a problem for most plants. Be careful about working the soil when it is too wet though. After a good rain wait until the soil easily flows through your fingers before you get in and dig around. 

portfolio-landscapes_r1_c1_f5Many of you have asked about drought resistant flowers for planters and boxes. Planters  need to be watered once or even twice a day during the heat of summer. We have some suggestions for you if you are using annuals; begonia, salvia, marigolds, gazania, gallardia, portulaca and zinnias among others, all will tolerate drier conditions. They all come in many colors and sizes to choose. If you pair them with perennials  the list is endless. Here are only a few  of the many suggestions for perennials: dianthus, echinacea, helichrysum, lavandula, perovskia, rudbeckia, sedum and thyme. Be adventurous and combine different sizes, shapes and colors of foliage and flowers  to make a big impact.

Enjoy your garden; and always plan ahead for each changing season!