So...what grows in this clay?

bosewichte(7a/8b)March 13, 2013

New to South Carolina and while the weather seems conducive to unlimited garden pleasure, I was taken aback by the red clay soil. Now, driving around, I've noticed lots of magnolias, azaleas, crepe myrtles, and holly bushes. In Indianapolis, where I'm from, I saw hydrangeas, lilacs, peonies, and lots of roses. Will these grow here in the upstate? What are some of the things commonly grown here? And any advice on that soil? I was planning on liming it and then tilling in compost to help it out.


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You will love gardening here!

First, you might consider taking a soil sample to the Clemson Extension Office in your area and see the condition of your soil. The cost is worth it to me as I know exactly what to add to my gardens and it is cheaper than a bag of fertilizer i may not need. LOL

Most soils here are acidic. and most of the acidic loving plants
do well here.

One thing my soil lacks is phosphorous.
I was wondering why certain plants were not blooming well and the soil test confirmed this deficiency.

Low phosphorous can be common in clay soils in SC and NC

Over time, add lots of compost and chopped up fall leaves to your soil and in a few seasons you will notice a difference in the soils texture.

My soil tends to be almost too acidic, especially for veggies so according to my soil test I add lime to my veggie garden each year.

I am sure i will think of more and I hope this info helps.

This post was edited by lsst on Wed, Mar 13, 13 at 16:13

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 4:07PM
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Thanks! I'm actually really excited, but a little nervous about working with entirely new and foreign soil. I will do a soil sample asap!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 7:12PM
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I grow all sorts of things in this soil. On one side of my yard is a hill and that gets good drainage. I've got azaleas, crape myrtles, plum and cherry trees, beautybushes, hydrangea, clematis, butterfly bush, hollies and a perennial bed on that side. Had knockout roses but they got too much shade so they were replaced with the azaleas. Perennials such as bee balm, black eyed susan, daylilies, etc.

The other side of the yard has poor drainage so I try to put things that don't mind it. I rented a tiller and mixed in compost, but I probably should have mixed in a lot more than I did at the time. Nothing too exciting over there except the chaste tree and some distylium, holly, daylily, maple tree. Oh, the sedum seems happy.

There is a raised bed in the center that has a Jane magnolia (one of my favorites), a butterfly bush, lambs ear, daylily, irises, achillea. Just put in peonies that were given to me by my neighbors mother, so I know they will grow here.

Oh, I also recommend huchera and ajuga (it spreads but not out of control for me). Hostas and lenten rose for the shade.

I've never had a soil test but really I should get that done! I just dig my hole, mix compost with the clay and plant my plant. Usually it works out unless the drainage is bad. That's my biggest problem.

Have fun gardening! It's starting to get really nice outside!!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 12:45AM
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Thanks! I'm actually really excited, but a little nervous about working with entirely new and foreign soil. I will do a soil sample asap!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 7:14AM
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Camelias, rhododendrums, tea olives, p-willows, daphne odora's, loropetalums, butterfly bushes, rosemary, hydrangeas, forsythias all do well. Just go for a ride every few weeks and see what's in bloom or what's leafing out. Watch the Master's golf tournament, or look up the hole names for suggestions. Everything they can grow there will grow here. My goal one day is to have all the plants they have there, here in my yard. OK, not all, or as many, but the 18 the holes are named for.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 1:50PM
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