Evergreenshrubs for clay soil. - Knowledgebase Question

Moneta, Vi
Question by jimurban
February 8, 2009
I live in Virginia, Zone 6 to 7, and would like some ideas on 3 to 5ft. shrubs that do well in heavy clay soil and partial to full shade. I have some Buford Hollys that do well. Azalias and Rhododendron that havent done well, and Boxwoods and Ilex that died after a few years.


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Answer from NGA
February 8, 2009

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Sounds as though you've already acquired, or attempted to plant, the most popular flowering shrubs for your gardening region. You might have more success with your azaleas and rhodendrons if you amend the soil prior to planting. While they will grow in clay soils, their roots cannot tolerate overly wet soils. Amending with compost or other organic matter will allow your clay soil to drain quickly enough that you can have success with rhodies and azaleas. Other broad-leaved evergreen shrubs for home landscapes include glossy abelia (Abelia grandiflora). This shrub produces a flower display from May till frost and will remain evergreen in mild winters. Harsher winters will tend to make it lose leaves and some twigs will die and need to be pruned out in the spring. Oregon grape-holly and leather-leaf mahonia (Mahonia aquifolium and M. bealei) are interesting, shade-loving, upright, coarse textured evergreen shrubs that can be used as specimen plants, or in a shrub border.

Hope this information is helpful!

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