En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - July 10, 2013

From: Santa Rosa, CA
Region: California
Topic: Soils, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Plants for heavy clay in Sonoma County, California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, I live in Northern California, Sonoma County, and would like to transition my front garden into mostly native plants. Trouble is, my soil is clay, yicky, heavy clay, and some of the natives I've tried before haven't survived. Any suggestions on what might like and thrive in clay soil in Sonoma County? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Below are plants that are native to Sonoma County and that will tolerate clay soil.

Artemisia californica (Coastal sagebrush) is an evergreen shrub and will grow in clay.  Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery in Escondido and Santa Margarita, CA.

Arctostaphylos glandulosa (Eastwood's manzanita) is an evergreen shrub and will grow in clay.  Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Arctostaphylos manzanita (Whiteleaf manzanita) is an evergreen shrub or small tree and will grow in clay.  Here are photos and more information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Cercis orbiculata [syn. = C. occidentalis] (California redbud) is a flowering shrub or small tree.  Here is ore information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Diplacus aurantiacus (Orange bush monkeyflower) is a perennial that will grow in clay.   Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Eriodictyon californicum (California yerba santa) is a perennial that will is clay.  Here are more photos and information from Las Pilitas Nursery and CalPhotos University of California-Berkeley.

Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon) is an evergreen shrub or small tree that till tolerate clay soil.   Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery and from Sonoma County Master Gardeners.

You might also like to contact the Milo Baker Chapter of the California Native Plant Society about native plants that grow well in Sonoma County clay soil.  Sonoma County Master Gardeners also has a list of native plants that grow well in Sonoma County.

 

From the Image Gallery


Coastal sagebrush
Artemisia californica

Eastwood's manzanita
Arctostaphylos glandulosa

California redbud
Cercis orbiculata

Orange bush monkeyflower
Diplacus aurantiacus ssp. aurantiacus

California yerba santa
Eriodictyon californicum

Toyon
Heteromeles arbutifolia

More Shrubs Questions

Disappointing Fall color from sumac in Dodge City, KS
May 07, 2013 - We have had a fragrant sumac bush growing in our front yard (faces south) for several years. While it is healthy and growing well, we are always disappointed in its lack of bright fall foliage. It d...
view the full question and answer

Need a native, evergreen shrub to replace Pittosporum in Austin, TX
May 13, 2014 - We've had a PITTOSPORUM for years as a foundation planting on the southwest corner of our central Austin home. Now that it's gone, I would like to replace with a native, non-invasive shrub. What are...
view the full question and answer

Native holly (ilex) for Austin area
May 28, 2006 - Hi--my brother and his family live in Austin, TX--their german shepard "Holly" just died (she was 13)--I was throwing around the idea of sending them a holly plant of some sort to have in honor of H...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for fenceline in Houston
September 13, 2009 - I live in Houston, TX and would like your suggestion on what plants, trees or shrubs would work best to grow alongside a fence to hide a neighbor's backyard. We all have relatively small backyards.
view the full question and answer

Identification of eleagnus-like shrub
August 21, 2007 - There is a plant on our land I can't identify. It has a tree-like smooth light gray "trunk", with leaves similar to an eleagnus (grayish green and rough on top, lighter underneath). I can't find...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center