70 Evergreens For Clay Soil

Exploring landscaping options? Consider evergreens for clay soil. Yes, this amazing world offers a plethora of them!

evergreens for clay soil
Hawthorn Berries

As we all know, clay soil is pose a challenge to our greenery desire, primary because of its poor drainage ability and most plants hate water-logged roots.

Yet, nature is always filled with possibilities, and so I am proud to inform you that there are up to 70 plant types that are born to love this soil condition.

In fact, they are even capable of improving its drainage ability. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

The Importance of Selecting the Right Plants and Land Shape

When dealing with poor-draining clay soil, it’s vital to choose plants with appropriate root systems and consider the shape of your land.

evergreens for clay soil

Trees, shrubs, evergreens, and fast-growing perennials can all contribute to improving the drainage.

By selecting the right combination of plants and shaping your land properly, you can see significant improvements.

The Role of Trees in Fixing Compact Clay

While many plants can tolerate and grow in heavy clay soil, trees are essential for fixing and improving drainage issues.

These plants have robust root systems that can penetrate and break through compacted clay.

Additionally, they have a natural tendency to dive deeper, which helps improve overall drainage.

evergreens for clay soil
Sesbania Sesban Bush

You have two main options: settle for limited plant choices that tolerate unfixed conditions or select trees and follow the steps to fix poor-draining clay soil for long-term abundance.

We recommend the second option, as it offers a more sustainable solution.

The Best Evergreens for Clay Soil

Evergreens, especially trees, are known for their resilience in harsh conditions.

However, not all evergreens thrive in clay soil. While some can tolerate it, others prefer well-drained, moist, and organically-balanced conditions.

The following three evergreens are your best options for clay soil:

evergreens for clay soil
Left to Right: Larch – Cypress – Arborvitae
  • Larch (Larix): Larch trees are adaptable to heavy, waterlogged clay and can help enhance the soil over time.
  • Cypress (Cupressus): Cypress trees also tolerate clay soil and contribute to improving drainage when planted in a swale system.
  • Arborvitae (Thuja): This evergreen is the most adaptable and can grow in clay soil. While it prefers well-drained conditions, it can still thrive in clay with proper care.

Other evergreens may not perform as well in clay soil, especially if it doesn’t drain properly.

If you have your heart set on a different evergreen, make sure to assess your land, aerate the clay, create a swale, and provide adequate compost and mulch for the best chance of success.

Fast-Growing Shrubs for Clay Soil

If you’re looking for fast-growing shrubs that tolerate wet clay soil, consider the following options:

evergreens for clay soil
Left to Right: Red Osier Dogwood – Dog Rose – Beak Willow
  • Sitka Alder (Alnus sinuata)
  • Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
  • Dog Rose (Rosa canina)
  • Beak Willow (Salix bebbiana)
  • Willow (Salix gilgiana)
  • Dune Willow (Salix hookeriana)
  • Shining Willow (Salix lucida)
  • Meadow Willow (Salix petiolaris)
  • Sesban (Sesbania sesban)
  • Various Hawthorns (Crataegus x)
  • Western Mayhaw (Crataegus opaca)
  • American Cranberry Bush (Viburnum opulus)

These shrubs not only enhance the aesthetics of your garden but also provide benefits such as food, medicine, and wildlife habitat.

evergreens for clay soil
Sesbania Sesban

Fast-Growing Perennials for Clay Soil

For a diverse and beautiful landscape, consider incorporating fast-growing perennials that thrive in clay soil.

These plants offer a range of colors, sizes, and uses. Here are some options to consider:

  • Toothache Plant (Acmella oleracea)
  • Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla xanthochlora)
  • Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
  • Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum)
  • Australian Saltbush (Atriplex semibaccata)
  • Smooth Water Hyssop (Bacopa monnieri)
evergreens for clay soil
Left: Acmella oleracea – Right: Alchemilla Xanthochlora
  • Siberian Tea (Bergenia cordifolia + Bergenia crassifolia)
  • Mustards and Brassicas (Kohlrabi, broccoli, cabbage, etc.)
  • Marsh Marigold (Caltha x)
  • Wood Sedge (Carex sylvatica)
  • Cornflower (Centaurea Montana)
  • Butterfly Pea (Centrosema pubescens)
  • Good King Henry (Chenopodium bonus-henricus)
  • Wild Hyacinth (Camassia leichtlinii / x)
  • Caper (Capparis spinosa)
  • American Water Cress (Cardamine rotundifolia)
  • Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles x superb)
  • Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum carinatum)
  • Goldenstar (Chrysogonum virginianum)
  • Tiger Nut (Cyperus esculentus)
evergreens for clay soil
Left: Butterfly Pea – Right: Marsh Marigold
  • Mock Strawberry (Duchesnea indica)
  • Common Spike Rush (Eleocharis palustris)
  • Perennial Buckwheat (Fagopyrum spp.)
  • Alpine Strawberry (Fragaria vesca ‘Semperflorens’)
  • Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea)
  • Common Rockrose (Helianthemum nummularium)
  • Meadowsweet (Filipendula vulgaris)
  • Harvestbells (Gentiana saponaria)
  • Day Lily (Hemerocallis x)
  • Swamp Hosta (Hosta longissima)
  • Chameleon Plant (Houttuynia cordata)
  • Swamp Morning Glory (Ipomoea aquatica)
  • Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica)
evergreens for clay soil
Left to Right: Siberian Iris – Swamp Morning Glory – Day Lily
  • Wild Rosemary, Marsh Labrador Tea (Ledum palustre)
  • Summer Snowflake (Leucojum aestivum)
  • Sawah Lettuce (Limnocharis flava)
  • Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
  • Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi)
  • Gypsywort (Lycopus europaeus)
  • Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
  • Water Mint (Mentha aquatica)
  • Annual Water Miners Lettuce (Montia fontana)
  • Water Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis scorpioides)
  • Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)
  • Sacred Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum)
  • Water Parsley (Oenanthe sarmentosa)
  • Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis)
evergreens for clay soil
Left to Right: Wild Rosemary – Summer Snowflake – Sawah Lettuce
  • Vietnamese Coriander (Persicaria odorata)
  • Meadow Bistort (Polygonum bistorta)
  • Arroz Bravo (Rhynchoryza subulata)
  • Dog Rose (Rosa canina)
  • Arrowhead (Sagittaria sagittifolia)
  • Cat-tail (Typha davidiana)
  • Small Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos)
  • Sarawak Bean (Vigna hosei)
  • Black Mung Bean (Vigna mungo)
  • Japanese Horseradish (Wasabia japonica)
  • Yellowroot (Xanthorhiza simplicissima)
  • Beautiful Bluebells (Mertensia bella)
evergreens for clay soil
Left to Right: Vietnamese Coriander – Meadow Bistort – Beautiful Bluebells

Please note that while these plants are fast-growing and suitable for clay soil, it’s essential to research each plant’s specific requirements and suitability for your climate.


Improving the drainage of clay soil can be achieved by choosing the right combination of plants and shaping the land appropriately.

By incorporating trees, shrubs, evergreens, and fast-growing perennials, you can create a more diverse and resilient garden.

Additionally, these plants offer numerous benefits such as food, medicine, and wildlife habitat.

With patience and careful selection, you can transform your clay soil into a thriving garden filled with beautiful and resilient perennials.