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.

Feed the Soil

Feed the Soil not the Plant.  Plant health depends on healthy roots; healthy roots depend on healthy soil for air, water and nutrients delivered in forms plants can use. Soil that is rich in organic matter, aka compost, is rich in nutrients and in the life that makes those nutrients available to the plants (bacteria, worms, etc.) .

Ornamental plants in good soil usually do not need added fertilizer, and crop plants that do need extra food need less of it when it’s released slowly by friendly soil from things such as rock powders, kelp and green manures.

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.

It’s Organic and it’s Green

Sustainable Residential Landscape Architecture

Plants play a very important role in a healthy ecosystem. They reduce  pollutants,  oxygenate the atmosphere,  and are important to overall human health.  By using a comprehensive approach to sustainable  landscape  design, Sustainable Residential Landscape Architecture (SRLA) practices can improve water and energy efficiency while using  plants to eliminate chemical fertilizers, produce food, and clean the air. 

Homeowners can use plants to recreate healthy ecosystems and reduce  some  of the negative  effects of residential buildings. There are many simple ways to experience  the benefits of plants — restoring native plants to residential  landscapes,  using plants as food sources, creating wildlife habitats through the strategic use of plantings, and adding indoor plants to improve air quality inside your home.    

If included as part of your master landscape design plan, SRLA can help you use plants to cut down on the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.  And as we all know, cutting outr chemicals in our residential gardens will make for a healthier home, and life. 

Home & Design Magazine Article ‘A Modern Landscape’

Home & Design Magazine Article ‘A Modern Landscape’

When J. Mark White of GardenWise was called in to restore the garden of a 1920s Colonial Revival, he was already familiar with the property, having previously landscaped the front and back yards. After fire struck the Cleveland Park home, the owners turned to the landscape architect for a redo.

 

Bring ‘Em In for Winter!

GardenWise on Winter Plant Rooms

When you bring your plants inside this year, which you should do with all containers and pots, remember that you can actually save money on fuel costs by turning down the heat in a room set aside for winterizing plants. 

Plants will flourish in bright rooms with nighttime temps as low as 60 degrees.  Reduce watering  — do not fertilize — and group pots together to raise levels of humidity.  Keep your plants away from heat registers; overheated rooms will stress plants, lower the level of humidity, and increase pest problems.

Your plants will stay safe and healthy, and you’ll save a few dollars along the way!  But even if you don’t create a plant room, bring your plants inside during the winter season because they will die if you don’t bring ’em in.  Plants are like old friends, and there’s nothing better than having some old friends come back to the garden each year.