Garden Obstacles: Clayey Soil

Updated: Jan 25

It doesn't happen often on Long Island but there are some areas with pockets of soil with clay in them. It's usually still well draining because our natural soil is a sandy loam. Improve the texture of your clay soil and you’ll be able to plant even more species. Amend it by mixing in organic matter, such as mulched leaves and compost. Position plants so the top of the crown or root ball is slightly above the top of the soil (about 1"). This will help prevent their suffocating in the event the clay stays too soggy even after you’ve improved its texture. Most of these plants take full sun to partial shade but there are a few that will take shade.


Key: 🦌 deer resistant, 🐇 rabbit resistant, 🌚 shade


Native Plants For Clayey Soil


Ferns:

Matteuccia struthiopteris - Ostrich Fern 🦌🐇🌚

Onoclea sensibilis - Sensitive Fern 🦌🐇🌚

Osmunda cinnamomea - Cinnamon Fern 🦌🐇🌚

Osmunda regalis - Royal Fern 🦌🐇🌚


Grasses:

Andropogon gerardii - Big Bluestem 🦌

Elymus virginicus var. halophilus - Salt Marsh Wild Rye 🦌

Panicum virgatum - Switch Grass 🦌

Schizachyrium scoparium - Little Bluestem 🦌

Sorghastrum nutans - Indian Grass 🦌


Perennials:

Achillea millefolium - Common Yarrow 🦌

Allium cernuum - Nodding Onion 🐇

Amsonia tabernaemontona - Bluestar

Anemone canadensis - Windflower 🦌🐇🌚

Aruncus dioicus - Goatsbeard 🦌🐇🌚

Asarum canadense - Wild Ginger 🦌🌚

Asclepias incarnata - Swamp Milkweed 🐇🦌

Asclepias syriaca - Common Milkweed 🐇🦌

Baptisia australis - False Indigo 🐇

Boltonia asteroides - False Aster

Callirhoe involucrata - Poppy Mallow 🦌

Conoclinium coelestinum - Mist Flower 🌚

Echinacea pallida - Pale Purple Coneflower 🦌🐇

Echinacea paradoxa - Yellow Coneflower 🦌

Echinacea purpurea - Purple Coneflower

Eryngium yuccifolium - Rattlesnake Master 🦌

Eupatorium perfoliatum - Common Boneset 🦌

Eutrochium dubium - Coastal Plain Joe Pye Weed 🦌

Eutrochium fistulosum - Hollow Joe Pye Weed 🦌🐇

Eutrochium maculatum - Hollow Joe Pye Weed 🦌

Eurybia macrophylla - Big Leaf Aster 🐇

Euthamia graminifolia - Grass-leaved Goldenrod

Helenium autumnale - Helen's Flower 🦌

Heliopsis helianthoides - False Sunflower

Iris versicolor - Blue Flag Iris 🦌🐇

Liatris spicata - Blazing Star 🦌

Monarda didyma - Bee Balm 🦌🐇

Monarda fistulosa - Wild Bergamot 🦌🐇

Oligoneuron rigidum var. rigidum - Stiff Goldenrod 🦌

Packera aurea - Golden Groundsel 🦌🌚

Penstemon hirsutus - Hairy Beardtongue 🦌🐇

Polygonatum biflorum - Solomon's Seal 🌚

Pycnanthemum muticum - Blunt Mountain Mint 🦌🐇

Pycnanthemum virginianum - Common Mountain Mint 🦌

Ratibida pinnata - Gray-headed Coneflower🐇

Scutellaria incana - Skullcap

Solidago caesia - Bluestem Goldenrod 🦌🐇🌚

Solidago flexicaulis - Zig Zag Goldenrod 🦌🌚

Solidago nemoralis - Gray Goldenrod 🦌

Solidago odora - Sweet Goldenrod 🦌🌚

Solidago rugosa - Rough Goldenrod 🦌

Solidago sempervirens - Seaside Goldenrod 🦌

Solidago speciosa - Showy Goldenrod 🦌

Symphyotrichum cordifolium - Blue Wood Aster 🐇

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae - New England Aster

Verbena hastata - Blue Vervain🐇

Vernonia noveboracensis - New York Ironweed 🦌

Zizia aurea - Golden Alexanders


Sedges:

Carex bicknellii -Bicknell's Sedge 🦌🌚

Carex bromoides - Brome-like Sedge 🦌🐇🌚

Carex grayi - Mace Sedge 🦌🌚

Carex plantaginea - Seersucker Sedge🦌🌚


Shrubs:

Amelanchier canadensis - Serviceberry

Aronia melanocarpa - Black Chokeberry 🦌

Cornus sericea - Red Twig Dogwood 🦌

Hamamelis virginiana - Common Witch Hazel

Hypericum prolificum - Shrubby St. John's Wort 🦌

Rhus glabra - Smooth Sumac 🐇

Sambucus canadensis - Black Elderberry

Viburnum lentago - Nannyberry

Viburnum trilobum - Americana get Cranberry Bush


Trees:

Betula nigra - River Birch 🦌

Celtis occidentalis - Common Hackberry

Magnolia virginiana - Sweetbay

Nyssa sylvatica - Black Gum

Prunus virginiana - Chokecherry

Quercus bicolor - Swamp White Oak

Salix discolor - Pussy Willow


Vines:

Clematis virginiana - Virgin's Bower 🦌

Top Row: Common Yarrow, Nodding Onion, Swamp Milkweed

Second Row: River Birch, Mace Sedge, Mist Flower

Third Row: Common Boneset in bud, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, False Sunflower

Fourth Row: Crested Iris, Blue Flag Iris, Sensitive Fern

Fifth Row: Royal Fern, Blunt Mountain Mint in bud, Zig Zag Goldenrod

Bottom Row: Indian Grass, Blue Vervain, Zizia aurea with Black Swallowtail caterpillar

Pictures: KMS Native Plants LLC


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