Hi! We recently moved to our home on a moderately steep hill of heavy clay soil. While I’ve built a raised garden for my vegetables, I’m curious what types of plants (fruit, veggie, herb, or ornamental) might naturally thrive here. Thank you!
Douglas County Oregon horticulture
There are a number of plants able to grow well in clay soils. Even so I would encourage you to add lots of compost into that soil when you can. Mulching plants well with recycled yard waste that has been shredded or composted also helps. When planting on a slope or hillside remember that the summer will dry out and bake this type of site, so occasional water will help get your trees get established and tolerate the long hot summers in the future.
Ornamentals for a clay soil: Daylilies, hosta, coneflower, Rudbeckia, Brunnera, ornamental grasses, ferns in shade, astilbe.
Shrubs: Wiegela, buddleia, forsythia, hydrangea, flowering quince.
Fruit trees: pears, apples, and plums tolerate heavy soil, but will need summer irrigation.
Shade trees: Madrone, oak, maple, Japanese maple will tolerate heavy soil. The Japanese maples will like some summer irrigation.