Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

California yerba santa
Eriodictyon californicum

More Shrubs Questions

Picture in newspaper from Austin
June 02, 2012 - Your gardening story for the Jan 21,2012 in the Austin American Statesman pictured a pale green bush with purple flowers, however the plant was not identified. Can you tell me what it is? Thanks
view the full question and answer

BEST SPACING AND EXPECTED HEIGHT FOR ACEROLA (BARBADOS CHERRY) IN COLLEGE STATION, TX
October 09, 2010 - What is the best spacing for Malpighia glabra plants and how tall will they grow in College Station, TX?
view the full question and answer

Reason for decline of Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) in Virginia
March 30, 2007 - We have Wax Myrtle bushes in our back yard. They were about 2 feet tall when planted 2 years ago and now are about 7-8 feet tall. The leaves have turned brown and are dropping essentially denuding the...
view the full question and answer

Improving blooming on mock orange
March 03, 2008 - I have a now 6 yr. old mock orange shrub in the garden which has never bloomed, darn it. I have fed, not fed, mulched, not mulched, sheared, not sheared. What gives? Will it ever bloom, or shall I ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for area near saltwater pool near Dallas
May 25, 2009 - Could you recommend perennial plants that would do well next to my saltwater pool just north of Dallas (Corinth) Texas?
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.