The Q&A Archives: Shrubs for Clay Soil

Question: We've lost a fair size hibiscus of some 20 years in clay. We are thinking of replacing it with one of two shrubs or small trees but drainage in poor soil is an issue. Without reconditioning the soil what zone 9 + plants would you recommend?

Thank you.

Answer: There are really quite a few shrubs that will tolerate clay soils. Here's a list:
Deciduous shrubs
Berberis thunbergii, Japanese Barberry
Chaenomeles japonica, Flowering Quince
Cornus sericea, Red or Yellow Twig Dogwood
Corylus avellana, Harry Lauders Walking Stick
Cotinus coggygria, Smokebush
Euonymus alatus, Burning Bush
Forsythia intermedia, Forsythia
Hydrangea macrophylla, Hydranga
Spiraea bumalda, Spirea
Viburnum sp., Viburnums
Weigela florida, Flowering Weigela

Evergreen shrubs
Aucuba japonica, Gold Dust Plant
Buxus microphylla, Korean Boxwood
Chamaecyparis pisifera, Plume Cypress
Cotoneaster sp., Cotoneaster
Ilex glabra, Inkberry
Mahonia aquifolium, Oregon Grape Holly
Picea abies varieties, Dwarf Norway Spruce

Hope one (or more) fit the bill!

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