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Small garden plants for boggy clay soil

Updated February 21, 2017

Some small garden plants thrive in wet, clay soil. Growing plants in boggy, clay soil proves challenging, even for experienced gardeners. Many plants prefer well-draining, rich, loam soil, making wet clay soil a poor growing environment.

Plant types

Impatiens capensis is an annual flower that performs well in boggy clay soil, while camassia makes a good bulb choice in such areas. Ostrich and sensitive ferns require constant moisture and perform well in clay soil. Small, ornamental grasses grow nicely as well. These plants grow up to 1.2 metres (4 feet) high, with the exception of impatiens, which grows up to 1.5 metres (5 feet) tall.

Garden benefits

By choosing garden plants that naturally perform well in boggy clay soil, you save considerable work amending soil and improving drainage. This reduces plant loss due to insect infestations and diseases such as root rot, common problems for stressed plants.

Soil improvements

Improve nutrient content and soil structure by incorporating 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) of organic matter in to the top 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 inches) of soil. Most clay soil is alkaline, so avoid plants that prefer acid conditions. Creating raised beds allows plants requiring good drainage to perform well, even in clay soil.

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About the Author

Kristin Urbauer has been freelance writing since 2009 when she began publishing work for various websites. She enjoys writing on a variety of topics including children, education, gardening, pets, mental health and alternative medicine. She attended the University of Nebraska where she majored in English.