Does any one know if Hydrangea 'Mariesii Variegata' will do well in clay soil, part sun. I'm trying to find plants that will grow in the shade with clay soil.
All of my Hydrangeas grow in clay soil. Some have morning , noonday or afternoon sun exposure. A few are in full bright shade.
Unless you are planting on a slope, which drains the water away from the plants, you will need to check the percolation rate of the soil where the Hydrangea will be located. To do that, dig a hole about 2' W x 1' D and fill with water. Check the time it requires to drain into the surrounding soil. If it completely drains within 8 hours, then the Hydrangea will do OK. To increase the drainage rate, dig out another foot of soil and fill that space small stones, gravel or sand, or a combination of those. Some people I know use styrofoam packing material, but I won't add anything like that to my garden soil. I'm still finding construction material underground after 45 years of digging!
Be aware that Hydrangea 'Mariesii Variegata' is an early riser and the bloom buds often are killed by freezing temperatures in early-mid March. Hasn't been a problem during the past few years, with "Global Warming", until this year, when "Global Warming" failed and the Easter weekend freeze took off most of the blooms on mine.
Give it a try, even without those large Laecap flowers, the foliage is a great addition to the garden.
Thanks for your "tips" on clay soil Georgia-Rose. I personally have sandy soil, but I do landscape design and my customers frequently have clay. Without hands-on experience it seems like it would be difficult to work with. Some plants just don't seem to do well. I agree with you on "Global Warming". What has happened to our seasons?
I amend my (very) clay soil with composted manure purchased in bags at Lowe's. I add about five pounds per square foot of soil and work in. (I do this once in the soil prep stage, and then that's all.) I also mulch my plants with several inches of pine straw each fall which rot into the soil over the course of the year. I have had excellent results with this routine. The answer to your question is yes, hydrangeas will grow in clay, but if you want them to do their best, you need to amend that clay and make sure the plant is getting good care through-out the year.
Yes, mine grows in clay, but best in moist spot. This one is semi-tender for me - probably ok for you in SC. I am all dappled shade clay, mostly dry. What seems to do best: tiarella, heauchera, callicarpa, native ferns especially Christmas, needle palm, redbud, salvia koyame, iris tectorum, verbena on a stick, aromatic aster.