Perennials That Like Heavy Wet Clay Soil

Updated July 19, 2017

If you have heavy, wet clay soil in your yard, you may despair of ever growing flowers and vegetables successfully. The majority of annuals and perennials prefer moist, nutrient-rich and well-drained soil, preferably in a sunny location. However, if you have wet clay soil you can plant perennials, but you need to ensure that you plant perennials that love that particular soil.

Coral Bells or Alumroot

These pretty and delicate flowers are hardy and will grow in sun, partial shade, well-drained soil and wet soil. Alumroot has various leaf colours that vary between green and purple, and it has pretty pink or whitish-pink flowers. The roots will resist rot when planted in clay soils.


Aconitum, also called wolfsbane or monkshood, naturally grows in wet meadows, so it is comfortable growing in wet clay soils. The flowers are blue, white, yellow or pink. This flower is diverse enough to match just about any garden scheme. The oddly shaped flowers look like the peaked hood of a monk. Note that this plant is very poisonous, so you should avoid planting it in gardens where children play.


The helenium genus is in the daisy family. These bright and cheery flowers look like a bundle of colourful daisies. Butterflies like helenium species, so plant these in a wetland butterfly garden. Helenium comes in yellow and red. In the wild, heleniums prefer to grow anywhere except dry soil, which is a boon for the gardener who has very wet clay soil.

Bee Balm

Bee balm attracts bees and other pollinators to the garden. This hardy plant is fragrant and comes in red and purple-pink. These plants will readily self-seed and can also be propagated from divisions of the plants. Allow them to spread along the border of the wet garden.

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About the Author

Anise Hunter began writing in 2005, focusing on the environment, gardening, education and parenting. She has published in print and online for "Green Teacher," Justmeans and Neutral Existence. Hunter has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Resource Management in environmental science from Simon Fraser University.