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

Native shrub for north window in Austin, TX
March 23, 2008 - Hello. I am trying to find a native shrub to provide privacy next to a low north-facing window and protection from northerly winds in the winter. I would like to find a shrub with a maximum height o...
view the full question and answer

Drought Tolerant Shrubs and Perennials in San Jose, CA
July 18, 2013 - Hello I am a SLT home owner in San Jose, Ca. and want to plant drought tolerant shrubs and perennials. We don't have irrigation but plan to put a timer on a nozzle and run some lines. At least I am t...
view the full question and answer

Hill Country natives for a hedge
June 01, 2006 - Can you recommend a "hedge type" bush to use in lieu of a fence along the road in the San Antonio region? My whole back yard is planted with Hill Country natives and I would prefer to keep the the...
view the full question and answer

Hiding a chicken house from Glen Rose TX
February 06, 2013 - To hide a chicken house, which do you recommend, crape myrtles or chinese photinias?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen hedge for Dallas-Fort Worth area
May 18, 2010 - Our red tip photina hedge is slowly succumbing to black spot and we'll need to replace it within the year. (Yes, I now understand red tips come in two varieties: diseased and about to become disease...
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