Plants That Grow Well in Clay Soil

Several types of plants that grow in clay soil, which is very heavy and contains a little bit of sand. Since it holds water so well, the plants that grow in it must be able to thrive in soggier environments than usual, and the same goes for when the clay soil becomes very dry, which results in cracked, hard soil. It is also important to choose plants that can spread roots throughout the dense clay.


Roses grow well in clay soil because of their strong roots that can seek water in clay even when it is dry. Phormiums are big trendy grass-like plants with broad sword-like leaves. They grow well in clay for the same reasons as roses. Some climbers grow well in clay, such as Vitis coignetiae, which has large bright green leaves that grow up to 1 foot across, with blooming colors in autumn.


Several types of shrubs grow well in clay soil. Shadbush has white spring blooms and bronze leaves, while Cuban Laurel has yellow spotted leaves. Berberis darwinii is a large group of shrubs that thrive in clay soil. For some variation of different cultures, try planting Caenomeles, a Japanese quince, that has lots of red to pink flowers that seem to bloom when nothing else in the garden does. Or go for the Mexican Choisya ternata, an orange blossom with glossy green leaves. Dogwoods also grow great in clay soils when they are waterlogged and have beautiful winter colors.

Fruit and Vegetables That Grow Well in Clay Soil

Some fruits and vegetables can flourish in clay soil. Potatoes is one of these, since they have strong roots and tubers that push through tough soil. Legumes also grow well, extracting nutrients from the clay. Cabbage, brussels sprouts, and kale grow strong crops, but produce later growth, and soft fruit trees like apples, pears and plums grow well in moderate clay soil climates with no waterlogging.

Keywords: clay soil plants, growing flowers, growing vegetables in clay soil

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.