Return to the Southern Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

What to plant in bed with clay soil and fair drainage.

Posted by junebugntn 7B (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 8, 12 at 18:50

Looking for suggestions for an existing (2 year old) foundation bed that is having problems with some of the spreader yews and encore azaleas in the bed. Most of the problem is probably related to having only fair drainage. May start moving things around in the fall. Variegated abelia is doing well. Most daylilies are ok. Just planted Catawba crepe myrtle. Some yew and azaleas are fine others have yellowing leaves. 1-2 hrs sun in part of bed, 3 hrs afternoon sun in all of the bed. About 250 sq ft. Have amended clay soil as I planted and have drip irrigation. However receiving advise that this can exacerbate the problems.

Would like to know how others work in these conditions and what they have found that succeeds.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What to plant in bed with clay soil and fair drainage.

Well-amended soil is not a problem; spot-amended soil is a problem (that is you only amend the planting hole that you just created).

Hot afternoon sun demands tough plants and I personally don't think that is ideal for azaleas. Dwarf hollies are usually pretty reliable, like dwarf yaupon holly. Fothergilla is a native shrub that handles full sun; you may want the dwarf form if space is tight. Another plant to consider is deciduous holly - Ilex verticillata. Naturally grows in not-well draining clay soils. There are lots of cultivars available (you do need females and at least one male, so make a small group).

If you're not using mulch, that is usually a good thing in the south.

RE: What to plant in bed with clay soil and fair drainage.

junebug, I live in Northern red clay country. It drains quite well, considering that it's heavy clay. We plant anything and everything directly into the native soil, absolutely NO amending. We did til in some composted bark when we build our perennial gardens, but that stuff has long disappeared. Mulch is a necessity (and disappears quickly, too).

I'd like to know a bit more about what you mean by 'fair drainage'. Is the lawn still squishy three or four hours after a heavy downpour?

RE: What to plant in bed with clay soil and fair drainage.

So when I plant a shrub, tree or perennial I've always added Black cow. Are you saying don't bother? I mulched my perennial and foundation beds with oak wood chips which decomposed pretty quickly and have made improved the clay a bit. Lately added pine straw as a mulch. But the particular bed I'm having trouble with also gets a good bit of runoff from the drain pipes from the roof. I think most of the yard is not squishy 3-4 hrs after rain.

I've been told the yellowing and dry brown Brittle yews could be from root rot. Thinking about I replanting the 2 that died without amending and not imager as much. Liked the color the azaleas provided but most are very light green. Guess they just might not work out there. So need something to work with the yews, day lilies and catabaw crepe myrtle. Will consider hollies mentioned but would like some spring color.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Southern Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here