25 Types of Shrubs That Grow in Clay Soil

Types Of Shrubs That Grow In Clay Soil

What are the types of shrubs that grow in clay soil? Clay soil can be difficult to work with and often creates drainage issues.

But that doesn’t mean you should avoid planting shrubs in your garden if you have clay soil. However, it should be noted that certain types of shrubs grow in clay soil.

If you know what to look for, it’s easy to find shrubs that will grow beautifully in your clay soil and help your plants thrive!

There are some types of shrubs that grow in clay soil to help you plan an attractive, drought-tolerant garden.

And this is without you having to dig up and replant if your clay soil drains poorly! Let’s dive in!

1. Aster

Aster (Aster sp.) is the starter of this list of the types of shrubs that grow in clay soil. They are perennials which means they come back every year.

In the fall, aster produces beautiful clusters of flowers which are typically blue or purple but can also be white, pink, or yellow. 

As long as they have at least six hours of direct sunlight and moist, well-drained soils, they will do well.

If you want to keep your bushes at a manageable height, you should prune them after the blooming season in the spring and before new growth emerges in the fall.

2. Coneflower

Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is a good option for clay soil. It has a beautiful, long bloom time and is drought-tolerant once established. 

Coneflowers are native to the eastern parts of North America but do well in other areas. They prefer full sun and don’t like wet feet, so planting them on a slope or raised bed will help keep them happy

Oh, not to forget, this is the second on our list of the types of shrubs that grow in clay soil.

3. Arkansas Blue Star

Arkansas Blue Star (Amsonia hubrichtii) is a great choice for the types of shrubs that grow in clay soil. In addition, it is drought tolerant, has a low water requirement, and thrives in hot, dry climates. 

Also, this hardy plant works well as a border or hedge because it can grow to about six feet tall.

The flower color ranges from blue to light purple, with white flowers at the end of spring and the beginning of summer. It’s hard to find, but worth the search!

4. Perennial Sunflower

If you are looking for the different types of shrubs that grow in clay soil, perennial sunflower (Helianthus) is one of them.

This is a type of perennial sunflower that grows well in clay soils. Furthermore, perennial sunflowers are medium height and can grow up to three feet.

The flowers have a bright yellow color, which attracts many pollinators. This plant is also great because it blooms from July to October.

5. Autumn Joy Sedum

Autumn Joy Sedum (Hylotelphium ‘Autumn Joy’) is a variety of Siberian Shields which grow in clay soil. The plant requires shade and prefers to be planted in full sun to partial shade.

It is hardy to zone 3 and will generally grow up to 2 feet tall, with a width of up to 18 inches. 

Going further, it can be found by searching Autumn Joy Sedum on the local nursery website or asking an expert at your local garden center.

This plant can withstand cold temperatures, so it’s perfect for planting in areas that are prone to frost. This is one of the types of shrubs that grow in clay soil.

6. Sea Holly

Sea Holly, or Eryngium yuccifolium, is a perennial commonly found in eastern United States coastal areas.

This plant, on the list of the types of shrubs that grow in clay soil, prefers to grow in soils with good drainage and lots of sunlight. In particular, the flowers are white and can bloom all year round. 

Surging, Sea Holly is perfect if you are looking for an attractive and hardy plant. It’s also deer-resistant, so it will help keep your other plants safe from hungry deer during winter.

This is especially when there isn’t much foliage available for grazing animals to eat.

7. Prairie Blazing Star

Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya) is a flowering plant that grows in wet and clay soils.

This is one of the types of shrubs that grow in clay soil and are also known to attract butterflies with their beautiful colors and fragrances.

Meanwhile, Prairie Blazing Stars grow well in areas with full sun exposure and tolerate wet, dry, or clay soils.

It is recommended to prune these plants at the end of their blooming season to stimulate new growth before winter hits.

8. New York Ironweed

Types of shrubs that grow in clay soil? Of course, New York Ironweed! It prefers moist, well-drained soils with full sun and is adaptable to many different sites. 

Besides, New York Ironweed can be planted as a border plant, massed in groups, or as specimen plants. The leaves are dark green and oval-shaped, and the flowers are purple.

The flowers bloom from July to October and attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.

9. Indian Grass

Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans) is a shrub growing in clay soil. It is most commonly found in the Southeast US but can be grown in other locations.

Indian grass is a pioneer species that thrives on the poor and dry soils of the Great Plains. What’s more about this particular one of the types of shrubs that grow in clay soil?

The Indian grass has a coarse texture and can grow more than ten feet tall. It flowers in late summer and produces seeds that birds, squirrels, and deer eat.

10. Goldenrod

When it comes to types of shrubs that grow in clay soil, Goldenrod is a great choice because it tolerates wet, poorly drained soils.

Goldenrod thrives in full sun and grows to heights of 5-6 feet tall. The plant has yellow, bell-shaped flowers that are grouped together in the center of the plant. 

Equally important to note, these flowers bloom from July until October. In addition to goldenrod, many other plants do well in these types of soils, including, but not limited to: coral bells (Heuchera), Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium), New England aster (Aster novae-angliae) and Witch Hazel (Hamamelis).

11. Drooping Coneflower

Drooping Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) is a great addition to any garden. This perennial has beautiful red or pink flowers, which turn into blue-gray seed pods.

Its natural habitat is primarily in the Great Plains and the Eastern United States. Drooping Coneflower does well with little water but does not like wet feet. 

Also, it needs full sun to thrive, so it is an excellent choice for areas that receive lots of direct sunlight.

This plant can grow up to two feet tall and one foot wide in one season, so make sure you plant it where you want it to stay! All these qualities make it one of the suitable types of shrubs that grow in clay soil!

12. Daylily

Daylilies are one of the most popular types of shrubs that grow in clay soil in the world. Moreso, they are so easy to grow.

They do well in any type of soil and can handle all levels of sun exposure, making them a great addition to any garden. 

Moving on, Daylilies bloom throughout the summer months, providing color and interest to your yard.

Their colors range from bright yellow and orange to deep reds and purples, with each variety adding its unique style to your flower beds or borders.

13. Cup Plant

Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) is a perennial that grows in zones three to nine. It can grow up to six feet tall and six feet wide, which makes it ideal for people with lots of space.

Cup plants are great for people who have clay soil because it thrives in difficult environments. Thus, this makes them one of the best types of shrubs that grow in clay soil.

Coupled with that, it has a deep root system that will help break up the clay over time. Cup plants like wet and dry areas but do not tolerate standing water well.

This means you need to ensure it’s getting enough water, but you also need to ensure the area around the plants is not constantly soggy or muddy.

14. Compass Plant

The compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum) is a perennial plant in the aster family, Asteraceae. This plant is native to the central United States and Canada.

Uniquely, it is one of the types of shrubs that grow in clay soil. In addition to that, it can be found in open prairies and dry slopes. The plant produces yellow flowers that bloom from July to September.

15. Canadian Wild Rye

We are definitely not leaving this plant off our list. Canadian Wild Rye is one of the most common shrubs growing in clay soil. It’s medium to tall grass that has been used as a food source in North America for centuries. 

These plants are hardy and grow well in many climates, but they need more water than other types of shrubbery. They can be grown from seeds or cuttings and provide a beautiful backdrop to any garden.

16. Butterfly Weed

Butterfly weed, also known as milkweed, is a perennial plant with bright orange or yellow flowers. It grows about 6 feet tall and blooms from late summer to early fall.

Additionally, the plant requires full sun and moist, well-drained soil but can tolerate dry conditions after it is established. 

Also, Butterfly weed thrives in wet areas and will not do well in flood-prone areas. We aren’t done with this list of the types of shrubs that grow in clay soil. Read further!

17. Blazing Star

Blazing star is a beautiful native plant that does well in clay soil. This plant, of the types of shrubs that grow in clay soil, is also deer resistant and blooms from mid-summer to late fall.

Blazing stars can be used as a perennial or an annual and will grow as tall as three feet. Proceeding there are many flower colors such as pink, purple, white, yellow, red, and bi-color. This plant is easy to grow from seeds or transplants with proper care

Blazing Star’s leaves are lanceolate shaped that are about two inches long on average and have a rough feel.

This is due to its prickly hairs that protect it from grazing animals but do not bother people or pets when touched.

18. Black-Eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan is a popular garden flower that grows well in clay soil. These flowers are typically yellow but can also come in shades of orange, pink, or white.

They grow to be about two to four feet tall and have a long bloom period from early summer until fall frost. 

These plants make excellent cut flowers and can also be planted as a row or border with other perennials.

Black-eyed Susan, one of the types of shrubs that grow in clay soil, is deer resistant and thrives in full sun.

While it does need regular water during the heat of the summer, it doesn’t need as much water during the cooler months when rain falls more often.

19. Big Bluestem

Big bluestem is a perennial grass that can grow up to six feet tall. It has bluish-green leaves and produces large, fragrant flowers in the summer. Big bluestem is native to North America but can also be found in many parts of Europe and Asia. 

Furthermore, it prefers moist, rich soils with plenty of organic matter, and does well in light shade or full sun.

This makes it a great choice for an informal hedge or privacy screen because it’s easy to maintain and doesn’t need much water once established.

If you are looking for the best types of shrubs that grow in clay soil and are equally useful, big bluestem is one of them!

20. Wild Bee Balm

Wild Bee Balm, also known as Monarda fistulosa, is one of the types of shrubs that grow in clay soil. This herbaceous perennial flower is from late summer until fall and has a high drought tolerance.

Wild bee balm can be used to make tea or tinctures that help stimulate the immune system and suppress coughs. The plant is also a larval host for some butterflies.

The first step to planting wild bee balm is preparing your garden by loosening the soil at least 6 inches deep with a shovel or spade.

Because the roots are shallow, you don’t need to dig any deeper than this preparation will allow you to go without damaging them. 

21. Tickseed

There are many different types of shrubs in the world. These plant species spread around, so you can always see them everywhere you go.

However, some types of shrubs grow in clay soil specifically. We’ve been discussing them in this blog, and here’s another one. 

Tickseed (Coreopsis) is a shrub growing in clay soil. They are hardy and can handle dry conditions as clay soil provides.

They also have a lot of color variations and can be used as ground cover. One downside is that they do not flower till late summer or early fall, so they may need to be replanted yearly.

22. Switch Grass

Of the types of shrubs that grow in clay soil, Switchgrass is a tall, native, perennial grass. It has broad, dark green leaves that grow up to three feet long.

The blades have a white stripe running down the middle. Switchgrass grows well in clay soil and can be planted from late fall to early spring.

Switchgrass is hardy and thrives with little maintenance once established. It can grow up to eight feet tall and six feet wide if left unpruned. However, it can also be cut back annually for low-maintenance landscaping.

23. Sweet Flag

Sweet flag is a perennial shrub that grows best in wet clay soil. Native to North America, the sweet flag is a tough plant that can be used as a groundcover or herbaceous border. Sweet flag has light green stems and leaves with a fern-like appearance. 

This is one of the types of shrubs that grow in clay soil, and its flowers are white; it grows on spikes at the end of the branches. This plant thrives in moist soil and dislikes dry conditions.

The flowering season for the sweet flag is from June until July, but it can flower sporadically throughout the year. 

Plus, the flowers are attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. The sweet flag cannot handle heavy foot traffic, so it should be planted in areas where access will be limited or away from walkways near buildings.

24. Fountain Grass

Fountain grass is a perennial shrub that grows well in clay soil. This plant requires little maintenance and is considered one of the best types for a landscape with clay soil.

These plants are native to Africa and require less water than other types, making them perfect for this climate. 

As types of shrubs that grow in clay soil, they grow up to 3 feet tall but can be trimmed down if necessary.

The blades on these plants can reach up to 12 inches long, making them great for providing privacy or as an ornamental hedge.

Fountain grass also provides food for animals as well as providing shelter when used near water sources.

25. Eulalia Grass

Lastly, Eulalia Grass is likewise one of the types of shrubs that grow in clay soil. It is a grass-like plant that grows to 6 feet tall and does not need much water.

The thin, arching leaves are green throughout the year and produce a white flower at the top. Further, it prefers full sun or partial shade and can withstand cold weather.

Eulalia Grass is one shrub that grows well with clay soil because it does not need much water. This list of the types of shrubs that grow in clay soil ends here!


Some shrubs don’t require much attention except during the initial planting phase. One of these types of plants is the crape myrtle, which thrives in clay soil.

This makes it an ideal choice if you don’t want to spend much time on landscaping and more time doing other things in life. 

This blog post contains the types of shrubs that grow in clay soil and their characteristics and preferred growing conditions.

Clay soil can be difficult to work with, and it’s even harder to choose shrubs to grow in if you’re unaware of what those shrubs need.

Above, you’ll find several types of shrubs that grow in clay soil, including some that don’t require much maintenance and are still hardy enough to handle the elements of this type of soil.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like