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Plants for Wet Clay Soil

Updated February 21, 2017

Gardens in areas where soil is made up mainly of clay are often difficult to grow. Clay soil is clumpy, hard and does not drain moisture well, holding water for long periods of time. Since clay soil is heavy and thick, plant roots often have a tough time growing. Fortunately, some plants still grow and perform well in wet, clay soil. Amend the soil with organic matter if possible to help the plants grow even more and increase your chances of a long-lasting, successful garden.

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Native Plants

Plants that grow naturally in the area can tolerate less-than-ideal soil conditions like wet, clay soil. They also need little care to thrive. Search for native plants for your region on PlantNative's website. You can also look for a local nursery or community service organisation that sells native plants.

Wetland Plants

Plants that grow in the wetlands can tolerate the wet soil conditions that often plague clay soil. Search a university extension website or call your county extension office for a list of wetland plants native to your area. Examples of wetland plants include pussy willows, ironweed and marsh marigolds.

Plants for Heavy Soils

Some plants grow well in heavy soils and will tolerate staying wet for long periods of time, as is common in clay soils. Examples of plants that can be planted in clay soil are hollyhocks, alcea, asters, geraniums and flag irises.

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About the Author

Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

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