30 Flowers that Grow in Clay Soil


growing daylily in clay soil

by Jennifer Poindexter

Do you live in an area where the soil is mostly clay? Are you concerned you can’t grow a beautiful flower garden due to this type of soil?

I understand your concerns. Where I live, the soil is mostly clay. Therefore, it can be hard to grow some plants in the traditional sense because clay soil has its drawbacks.

When clay soil becomes dry and compacted, it can make it hard for the roots of plants to dig into and prosper.

Yet, did you know clay soil also has a benefit? It’s wonderful at retaining moisture. If you’re looking for flowers which can prosper in clay soil, you’re in the right place.

Here are the flowers which thrive when grown in clay soil.

1. Daylily

If you live in planting zones three through nine, the daylily could be a great option for growing in clay soil. This flower is a low-maintenance perennial.

It comes in a variety of colors and blooms during the summer months. If you’d like a gorgeous way to dress up an area with less than stellar soil, the daylily could be a great place to start.

2. Hosta

A Hosta is a plant that when it seems nothing else will grow in a certain area, you plant one, and watch it bring a dead area to life. The Hosta grows in planting zones three through nine and prefers shaded areas.

If you’re concerned a Hosta won’t bring enough color to your growing space, you’re in for a treat. Hostas grow in more than just green. Some varieties come in a blueish color, and they produce white and light purple blooms. Plant a few and watch them brighten up a once desolate space in your yard.

growing bee balm in clay soil

3. Bee Balm

This is a great option for nature lovers. If you’re interested in feeding the bees or inviting pollinators into your garden, plant bee balm. This is another option which does well in planting zones three through nine.

Not to mention, bee balm produces bright colors and unique blooms. When you need to add a little spice to your landscape but want it to be practical as well, bee balm is a great option.

4. Butterfly Bush

I love butterfly bushes. They remind me of my mother-in-law because she had quite the green thumb and loved growing these bushes all around her yard. Her yard was nothing but clay, yet these plants grew beautifully.

If you have an area in your yard that receives full sunlight, and you live in planting zones five through nine, try your hand at raising a butterfly bush. They, too, draw pollinators to your yard. They’re also perennial, so you can plant them once and enjoy them for years.

growing astilbe in clay soil

5. Astilbe

Do you have a partially shaded yard that’s also mainly clay soil? Don’t give up hope of creating a beautiful landscape.

In fact, you should try planting astilbe in your yard. This plant does best in planting zones three through nine and prefers partial shade. The blooms will come in pink, purple, white, or red. They should add lots of color to your growing space in late summer.

6. Aster

Asters are another fan-favorite when you need a plant to grow in less than desirable conditions. This flower is versatile and grows well in planting zones three through nine. It’s also a perennial that’s known for being low maintenance.

Some people like to plant flowers to create a bloom cycle. The aster would be a wonderful choice for a flower which blooms later in the year. Asters produce flowers from the later portion of summer through to the first hard frost of fall.

growing coneflower in clay soil

7. Coneflower

One look at coneflowers, and you know where it got its name. The petals drop and cause the center of the flower to protrude in a cone-shape. These are another growing option for planting zones three through nine.

Coneflowers are perennial and come in a variety of colors including pink, red, white, orange, and yellow. This is another wonderful option for drawing pollinators to your yard or garden area.

8. Iris

The iris flower is one of my favorite options on this list. They grow vertically and produce vibrant blooms. Plus, they’re hardy in planting zones three through nine.

These beautiful blooms are low maintenance perennials. You will need to divide them every three to four years to keep the plants from becoming overcrowded. Some varieties will even bloom twice in a year. They’ll bloom one time in the spring and again in the fall.

9. Black Eyed Susan

Black Eyed Susan flowers are a great choice for planting zones four through nine. These flowers produce gorgeous yellow blooms with a dark center.

There are many different varieties of Black Eyed Susans. This will determine the time of year they bloom and if they’re an annual or perennial. Be intentional about where you plant these flowers as they can grow to be as tall as three feet.

growing sedum in clay soil

10. Sedum

Sedum is a bush-like plant with long green stems and flowers which bloom in clusters. When they bloom, they produce gorgeous colors.

If you’re interested in a larger flowering plant, sedum is a great pick for those in planting zones three through nine. They’re perennial, low maintenance, and bloom from the middle of summer through the fall.

11. Blue Cardinal Flower

What if you live in an area with clay soil and little sunlight? You should investigate growing flowers like the blue cardinal flower.

This plant prefers to grow in the shade and can handle clay soil. It also prefers saturated growing conditions. Even if your soil and lighting aren’t ideal for some of the other common plant options, this flower could certainly fit your needs.

12. Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye weed was once used to cure certain illnesses. That’s how it got its name. It was named after the man who first began using it for this purpose. If you’d like to grow a piece of history in your yard, you can.

This plant grows best in planting zones four through eight. It produces gorgeous pink blooms but needs full sunlight and moist soil. This isn’t a good option for areas prone to drought.

growing liatris in clay soil

13. Liatris

This is another vertical plant which produces long stems and bountiful blooms. It’s also commonly known as blazing star.

If you have an area with full sun, and you live in planting zones four through eight, this could be a great choice for you. Liatris is low maintenance, prefers moist soil, and can even handle drought.

14. Viburnum

Viburnum is a flowering shrub. Therefore, it may not work in every type of flower garden. Yet, if you need a larger shrub to add character to an area around your home, don’t overlook this option.

This shrub grows best in planting zones five through eight, and it needs full sun. It prefers moist, clay soil. Ensure your soil isn’t so compacted that it doesn’t drain. This plant needs adequately draining soil to thrive.

15. Helenium

Helenium is another great option for clay soil in planting zones four through eight. These flowers grow best in full sunlight and should produce a plethora of brightly colored daisy-like blooms.

Due to their bright colors, they’re a wonderful way to draw pollinators to your garden space. They’re also wonderful at providing color around your home since they have a long bloom time which extends from summer through the fall months.

growing phlox in clay soil

16. Phlox

Phlox have small pansy-like blooms. They’re vibrantly colored and a great choice for planting zones four through eight.

These perennials are low maintenance, and though they grow well in clay soil, it’s vital that the soil still drains adequately to ensure your flowers will return faithfully each year.

17. Russian Sage

Russian sage grows best in planting zones five through nine. It produces light purple blooms which are great for adding charm around your home.

This gorgeous plant is also wonderful for attracting pollinators. Be sure to plant Russian sage in a location with full sun, and it should bloom from the summer months into fall.

18. Tickseed

Do you have a garden area which receives full to partial sunlight? If so, tickseed would be a great addition to this area.

This flower can thrive in clay soil as long as it drains adequately. They’re low maintenance and drought tolerant which is great for the gardener who doesn’t have a ton of time to commit to their landscape.

19. Balloon Flowers

Balloon flowers produce rounded blooms which eventually open into cup-shaped flowers. They don’t just bloom one time and call it quits.

In fact, these flowers will bloom multiple times during the summer months. If you have a partially shaded growing location and live in planting zones three through eight, the balloon flower could be a good fit for your garden.

growing yarrow in clay soil

20. Yarrow

Yarrow is a larger plant that can provide quite a bit of color around your landscape. This plant can grow to be as tall as three feet.

It produces blue, green, or silver foliage. The blooms of this plant are typically red, pink, white, and yellow. You can see this fascinating presentation from spring through the middle of summer.

21. Coral Bells

I love the beauty coral bells supply. The plant produces richly colored foliage with long stems. From there, the blooms pop out and hang like little bells.

If you’d like to have this plant around your home, they do best in planting zones four through nine. This flower is a perennial and will thrive where it receives partial sunlight.

22. False Indigo

False indigo is another bush-like plant. It produces long stems and blue, white, or yellow blooms. This plant is a perennial and is hardy in planting zones five through nine.

Be sure to plant false indigo in full sun because it thrives in bright lighting. By caring for this plant properly, it should return for many years.

23. Indian Pink

This is one of the most unique flowers on our list. If you’re looking for flowers which can handle clay soil while adding distinctive charm to your landscape, you must check into this one.

Indian pink grows best in planting zones six through nine, loves the shade, and prefers moist soil. This is why clay soil is actually such a good fit for it. Be mindful of where you plant this flower as it can grow to be up to three feet tall.

24. Goldenrod

Goldenrod is an easy-to-grow plant that does well in planting zones three through nine. This beautiful plant is hard to miss with its rich, golden blooms.

It’s easy to appease as it only needs full sunlight, and any type of soil will do as long as it’s well-draining. Take care of the roots of this plant by ensuring they don’t constantly stand in water, and goldenrod should grow beautifully for you.

growing sea holly in clay soil

25. Sea Holly

This is another unique plant that you’ll either love or assume it isn’t for you right off the bat. The blooms of sea holly are colorful but resemble thistles.

If you’d like this unique style of bloom, plant sea holly in full sunlight to ensure it grows well. You can even use this plant for cut flower arrangements. They’re durable and last for days.

26. Hepatica

Do you have clay soil and little sunlight? Some would say you’re out of luck because nothing will grow. I have great news! Hepatica just might grow in these conditions.

This plant does well in planting zones three through seven. It likes shade, damp soil, and will grow in clay soil. However, it must drain adequately. If you provide the right growing conditions hepatica will produce blue, pink, or light purple blooms.

27. Perennial Sunflower

Did you know there’s a perennial version of the sunflower? It isn’t quite as large as annual sunflowers, but it’s equally as gorgeous, in my opinion.

Perennial sunflowers are hardy in zones four through nine. They can thrive in clay soil as long as it drains adequately. By providing ample sunlight and ensuring the roots aren’t constantly saturated, perennial sunflowers could make a great addition to your home.

28. New York Ironweed

New York ironweed is a flower that’s beautiful but may not be a perfect fit for every home. This flower grows well in clay soil, but it can become quite large.

In fact, New York ironweed can grow to be as tall as seven feet. If you can handle the height, have a planting location with full sun, and can keep the flowers consistently moist then this could be the flower option for you.

growing cup plant in clay soil

29. Cup Plant

The cup plant got its name because the blooms form little cups. They hold moisture for the plant when the flowers get watered or rained on.

This is a very flexible flower that’s great at attracting pollinators. As long as you plant this flower in full sunlight, it can handle clay soil, being consistently saturated, and even periods of drought.

30. Arkansas Blue Star

Our last flower to discuss is the Arkansas blue star. It produces light blue blooms which are shaped like stars, explaining how the plant got its name.

These flowers can grow in full to partial sunlight and in planting zones five through eight. However, they must be provided consistently damp soil. Most clay soils are great at holding moisture, so it should be a good fit for this flower option.

This concludes our list of flowers which grow well in clay soil. If you have clay soil around your home and thought you stood little chance at growing flowers, I hope this list has shown you otherwise.

Now, scroll through the list and pick out the options which work best for your planting zone and growing conditions. Then you should be moving in the right direction to beautify your home even with clay soil.

Learn More About Growing in Clay Soil

https://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/articles/clay.html

https://forestry.usu.edu/news/utah-forest-facts/gardening-in-clay-soils

https://extension.missouri.edu/news/clay-soil-a-mixed-blessing-but-easily-corrected-1815

sea holly with text overlay thirty flowers that grow in clay soil

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