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

Heirloom plants for Gault Homestead in Austin
April 15, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, The Gault Homestead at 2106 Klattenhoff in the middle of Wells Branch Subdivision is to be planted with heirloom or heritage plants soon. There is some sun for the planter bo...
view the full question and answer

Ilex vomitoria Sufering from Drought?
January 19, 2012 - My Ilex vomitoria has always thrived. It is about ten years old. This fall, a portion of the leaves on the ends of the branches have turned yellow on the edges with green veining in the center. Othe...
view the full question and answer

Failure of hybridized red hollies to grow
April 17, 2008 - I have 2 red hollies planted in my yard about 20' apart, 3 years now. They won't grow. Do I need to have a male with them?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting American beautyberry in Cordele GA
May 19, 2014 - Is mid to late May too late in the season to transplant Callicarpa americana, American Beautyberry?
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

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