Perennials for clay soil

Despite their sometimes bad reputation, clay soils should be seen as more of a blessing than a curse. Sure, a garden on wet clay may be prone to waterlogging in winter and cracking in summer, but it’s also rich in nutrients and moisture retentive. Digging clay soils will keep you fit and its composition can be improved with plenty of well rotted organic matter such as compost, leaf mould or bark chippings to improve drainage, perhaps with one-fifth coarse grit if the ground lies wet for some of the year. Plenty of perennials will thrive in a well conditioned clay soil, including Anemone, Aster, Astilbe, Astrantia, Bergenia, Echinacea, Euphorbia, Geranium, Hellebore, Hosta, Kniphofia aka red hot poker, Persicaria and Rudbeckia. We’ve handpicked the best perennials for clay soil below, which we hope demonstrates the wide range of flower colours, shapes, sizes and forms that will succeed on wet clay. Remember that perennials are distinct from shrubs and trees because they have little or no woody growth. Herbaceous perennials are those perennials which, depending on the local climate, may bloom over the spring and summer, die back in the autumn and winter then re-grow from their root-stock in the spring. They are great for adding colour and texture each summer.

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