Plants For Poor Soils - Knowledgebase Question

Greenbrae, CA
Question by xdu132
May 20, 1999
Can you recommend some shrubs and ground covers for my heavy clay and rocky soil? I also have warm summers, but cool winters.

I've had good luck with agapanthus and bulbs - is this because they have shallow roots and are not hitting the heavy clay soil (which is about five inches under the top soil)?


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Answer from NGA
May 20, 1999

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Some plants that thrive in heavy, poor, and shallow soils include Michaelmas Daisy (in fact most Asters will do well under the conditions you describe), Helenium, Viburnum plicatum (Japanese Snowball, Weigela, Rudbeckia, Buphthalmum, Solidago, Crataegus (Hawthorn), Forsythia, Spiraea arguta, Salix (Willow), Anemone, Lysimachia clethroides (Loosestrife), Leopard's Bane, Monarda (Bee Balm), Daylily, Foxglove and Prunella. Be sure to mulch the garden with organic matter to help the soil retain moisture and help suppress weeds. If you can dig the organic matter into the soil at the end of the season you'll eventually improve the soil and make it more hospitable to a wider range of plants.

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