Conifer plants for clay soil
Several conifer plants spanning a range of different shapes and sizes can succeed on heavy, clay soils. Conifers are ornamental, cone-bearing woody seed plants, mostly trees and mostly evergreen. They have a range of uses in the garden from small specimens in the rock garden, as a means of adding shape, form and structure to mixed borders, perhaps as a backdrop to showier plants or as perimeter hedging. Many conifers have long, thin leaves, often with a needle-like appearance, whereas others have broad, flat, strap-shaped foliage. Some of the best varieties for clay soils are Chamaecyparis conifers, Ginkgo, Juniper plants and pine trees.
Chamaecyparis, aka Cypress conifers, are one of the most popular ornamental garden conifers with a tall-growing habit and distinctive, feathery evergreen foliage. They come in a variety of foliage colours through greens, blues and golds with short, scaly leaves on flattened shoots. Pea-sized, scaly cones ripen from female flowers, starting off green before turning cream and then brown. Juniper conifers are another good choice with small, narrow, needle-like foliage, best known for their use in gin-making. Juniper are perfect for brightening up the winter garden, producing masses of fleshy, aromatic, berry-like cones. Pines are synonymous with woodland and mountainous landscapes. Small and dwarf pine conifers create a professional architectural look, which is equally effective in the border or containers. They are perfect in the rock garden, as the centre-piece of a container display with summer bedding around the outside, or as a foil for showier plants in the border.