Plants for Clay Soils

Melaleuca squarrosa and Callistemon citrinus

Melaleuca squarrosa and Callistemon citrinus

Changing the structure of soil or importing soil to your garden can be expensive and time consuming. It is usually the best option to adapt your plant selection to suit the soil, rather than adapt your soil to suit your plant selection.

Clay soil is made up of millions of tiny particles, giving it a very fine texture. This has advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, clay soils are rich in nutrients (the particles provide multiple surfaces where nutrients can ‘stick’) and they hold water well. However, they are also prone to compaction, waterlogging, and can be sticky when wet and tough when dry. These problems are made worse if a clay soil is cultivated when wet.

Callistemon salignus, Acmena smithii and Lomandra longifolia

Callistemon salignus, Acmena smithii and Lomandra longifolia

For a plant, this means it will have to work harder for its roots to grow through the soil, compaction in the soil will exclude air from the roots, and waterlogging can cause the roots to rot and kill the plant.

Therefore, it is important when choosing plants for clay soils, that they are chosen from species which grow naturally in clay soils. It is also important to select plants that will either tolerate dry clay soils or water logged clay soils depending upon your specific location.

If you are unsure what to use and need more advice please see our Consultation page.

TreesShrubsGrasses
Acacia dealbataAcacia fimbriataCarex appressa
Acacia decurrensAcacia floribundaCarex fasicularis
Acacia melanoxylonAcacia pravissimaDianella species
Acmena smithiiAcacia rubidaFicinia nodosa
Banksia serrataAcmena smithii 'MinorLomandra longifolia
Casuarina cunninghamianaAcmena smithii 'Mini Pilly'Poa labillardiera
Allocasuarina littoralisBanksia marginataSchoenoplectus validus
Eucalyptus macarthuriiBanksia paludosa
Eucalyptus nicholiiBanksia spinulosa
Eucalyptus ovataBursaria spinosa
Eucalyptus paucifloraCallistemon species
Eucalyptus punctataHakea salicifolia
Eucalyptus quadrangulataLeptospermum species
Eucalyptus rubidaMelaleuca species
Eucalyptus salignaWestringea species
Eucalyptus smithii
Eucalyptus stellulata
Eucalyptus tereticornis
Eucalyptus viminalis
Dianella - Blue Flax Lily

Dianella – Blue Flax Lily