When choosing plants for clay soil be sure to select species and varieties that can cope with these typically cold, heavy soils.
The list below includes perennials and climbers that are either adapted to, or at least tolerant of, clay soil and are guaranteed to brighten up your garden.
The Yellow Foxglove and Giant Cowslip are great for naturalistic gardens, whilst the glowing magenta flowers of the Armenian Cranesbill are a must for any garden.
A special mention also for one of my absolute favourites - the Climbing Hydrangea. This brilliant climber not only grows in clay, but positively relishes a north facing wall. What more could you ask for?
If you're looking for ideas on choosing trees and shrubs for clay soil go to Choosing Plants for Clay Soil: Trees and Shrubs.
Don't forget that, if you wish, you can extend the range of plants you can grow by improving or amending your soil in selected areas.
Reasons to grow: More subtle than many
cultivated foxgloves, it produces spikes of pale yellow flowers from
early to mid summer and looks really good in a naturalistic style
planting scheme. Although it tends to be short lived it self seeds
freely so deadhead after flowering if you want to avoid this.
Caution: all parts are toxic to humans and animals.
Reasons to grow: Brilliant magenta flowers with contrasting dark eyes are produced throughout the summer on tall clumps of delicately cut, bright green foliage which turns red in spring and autumn. One of the best plants for clay soil.
Also consider: Geranium renardii is smaller (height and spread 30cm/1ft) with delightful greyish olive green leaves and exquisitely veined pale lilac blue flowers.
Reasons to grow: In summer a long succession of showy yellow flowers, each lasting only for a day, appear above the evergreen strap-like leaves. This dwarf form is particularly useful in smaller gardens and does well in containers.
Reasons to grow: Long lasting, drooping clusters of scented yellow flowers borne high above basal rosettes of long oval leaves. Naturalises well.
Also consider: The smaller (60x60cm, 2x2ft) Primula bulleyana (Candelabra Primrose) for tiered clusters of flowers fading from crimson to orange.
Reasons to grow: A real gem amongst plants for clay soil, this cheerful Black-Eyed Susan bears masses of bright golden daisy like flowers, with contrasting dark brown central cones, from late summer to autumn. Excellent for cut flowers.
Also consider: Rudbeckia 'Goldquelle' (90x45cm, 36x18in) for large, fully double, lemon yellow flowers.
Reasons to grow: One of the best plants for clay soil, this clematis has attractive foliage and bears abundant rich purple flowers with red anthers from June to October.
Reasons to grow: Fresh green serrated leaves in spring followed by heads of beautiful white lace cap flowers in summer. The peeling bark of older stems gives winter interest. Undemanding and easy to grow, it is really useful against a north facing wall.
More ideas for plants that grow in chalk soil can be found at Choosing Plants for Clay Soil: Trees and Shrubs.
Not looking for plants for chalk soil? Links to all the 'plants for places' pages on this site can be found at plant guides.
You can find information and advice about garden soil, including links to other soil-related pages, at garden soil.