red clay dirt - Knowledgebase Question

weaverville, No
Question by wendy_proffi
March 13, 2010
my yard is primarily red clay, grass grows pretty good for most of the summer then slowly starts dying. the bank behind my house is red clay also; I am trying to find something to plant on it to help hold it (as it washes really bad). we planted fescue and rye grass seed on it last year but it didn't all survive due to the dryness of the ground. any suggestions on what to plant on the bank?


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Answer from NGA
March 13, 2010

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There actually are a few plants that not only tolerate clay soils but will help to improve them over time. Echinacea Purple Coneflowers-These plants literally will break up the soil as they grow. They are drought tolerant, sun loving, vibrant and provide food for the Goldfinches, so what?s not to like? These perennials have many cultivars with different petals, colors, or other characteristics.

Painted Daisies-These plants are similar to the Purple Coneflower, but come in different colors.

Leucantheum maximum Shasta Daisies-These white daisies came from the mum family and provide cheery blooms similar to, but usually larger than, daisy flowers.

Blue Cornflowers-These brilliant blue flowers cover the plant above beautiful, gray, strappy leaves. This plant is also drought tolerant.

Daylilies-The daylilies that have naturalized huge sweeps of neglected land are an example of exactly how tough these plants are. Daylilies come in many colors and bloom variations.

Lirope-This green, grass-like plant is amazingly tough and does quite well in clay.

Coreopsis or Tickseed-This plant is very drought hardy and also very tolerant of clay. It is covered with a mass of small, daisy-like flowers during the summer months, and has delicate, ferny foliage.

Rudbeckia or Black Eyed Susans-These cheery perennials look striking massed in front of Purple Coneflowers. Bright yellow petals surround their black centers.

Others tolerant of clay soils include: American Ferverfew, Blackberry Lily, Columbine, Feather Reed Grass, Heavenly Bamboo, Honeysuckle, New England Aster,
Oxeye Daisy, Perennial Flax, Russian Sage, Stonecrop, Wild Cranesbill and Wild Lilac.

Hope you find the right combination of plants for your garden!

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