Have clay base soil, what can I do if I want to plant bushes?

What bushes can I plant that can tolerate wet roots? Drainage is poor in clay soil, even though we have tried to put in a lot of soil on top of the clay.
  6 answers
  • Hillela G. Hillela G. on May 30, 2017
    You can try ivy, hosta, vinca, ajuga, aucuba, dryopteris (fern) and Japanese anemones to fill shade gardens. Plus shrubs like viburnum, hydrangea, mahonia and chaenomeles all like clay soil in partial shade

  • Lori Lori on May 30, 2017
    they make a clay enhancer. it breaks down the clay and makes it more manageable. I had this problem in a previous home. I forget the name but if you have a nursery near you, they should have. anything to break it down, peat moss,manure,etc.

  • Mar20120313 Mar20120313 on May 30, 2017
    Forsythia thrives in this environment. They are very hardy and have yellow flowers in spring. They do require trimming one or two times a year. They make a good privacy barrier if you let them grow.

  • Trixie63 Trixie63 on May 30, 2017
    I live in zone 6a and have the most clayiest clay soil! I can grow burning bush, weigelia, any hydrangea, viburnum, forsythia, and cottoneater. Good luck head to a nursery that marks down their plants and for $3.00 give some a try!

  • Rozmund Rozmund on May 31, 2017
    Plant one River Birch Clump where the soil is the wettest...every few inches where you want to plant your floral garden wonder, remove a core of soil about one inch in diameter and fill with small stones....or limestone screening...this will allow the water that accumulates to drain away from roots nicely, and eventually those roots, the worms, and clay will all live in harmony...OR, dig out holes of clay, remove, and refill with pure peat moss....water in well...clay soil may appear to us to be a problem but it is very nutritious to plant roots...take your clay soil - place in a tub of some sort, break up fine...and add manure....doesn't matter what kind...horse, chicken,mushroom, lamb....all to be found on a Sunday drive...if there is straw in with it , even better...When I do this, I mix it up so that it has lost the ability to clump.....when that goal is reached, it is perfect to be piled up around all those fine hair like roots, starving to get out of their pots.....hope you have fun...once done you can forget about it...here is another little tip....speed of drainage....when you dig a hole let's say to transplant a one or two gallon sized root ball...this would be for a more mature bush, or perennial clump...with the hose fill the hole quickly ...if it drains really slowly....you need to make it larger than normal and fill the bottom with small stones..keep testing the draining time...water stuck in a hole for 36 hours before it drains away will send new roots into shock...and start them rotting..especially after constant rains...or property that is lower than the home...or near a downspout..you get my meaning here...they will never reach their full potential - also notice that the soil the plant was grown in is usually soft, with lots of little white pearl-lite added to retain moisture - this makes it easier for the staffers to handle plants that stay in a pot for awhile...water drains away quickly, but some moisture is retained via the pearl lite as it can get pretty hot sitting in a dark green or black pot...if you have read any of my other postings you will get the idea that while I love flowers, gardening in general, for me the toil with so many huge rewards starts with the soil....what we don't see is where all the action is...and plants react to what makes them healthy or unhealthy... When they are healthy, and their specific needs are met, they can fend off bugs all by themselves...oh, just remembered another tip....NEVER WATER OVERHEAD after supper...the plant foliage must be dry - wet plants are easy pickings for crawling and flying insects that come out at sun down...they hide all day...I recall one early morning walking along my flower beds before the sun actually came out and seeing slug tracks everywhere...but not a slug to be seen, so I knew they had been active, munching away at night...SO THAT NIGHT...after the sun had set, I put on my flashlight head band and went slug picking...rubber gloves, a bucket of salt water...and plunk, plunk, plunk...cruel I know..but necessary..slug loves moisture..makes it easier for them to slide along...they don't have to produce their own stuff to slide along... no need to purchase slug bait..but you can if that is your choice...I just like doing it my way...after 3 or 4 evenings of slugging....they simply vanished...guess I was able to catch the females...there was a time when it wasn't a problem..we had frogs and toads who ate them...but since all of the spraying of trees to harness their infestations, mosquito spraying, etc..these little guys have all but disappeared...even though we had a pond....they could not escape the chemical drift...no tad polls for my great grand kids to catch..no bull frogs left to sing ... we are losing alot...bees, butterflies, small birds that do not migrate...dragon flies who love mosquitoes are down in numbers, praying mantis are almost gone..haven't seen one in year...does anyone else find the same conditions in their areas...if you still have these creatures, consider yourselves lucky.... but what has survived are the moths...which of course do lay the eggs, that create the larvae that eat our plants - they will descend en masse - some of them are quite beautiful too, but they are not butterflies which are beneficial... if you do happen to notice a lot of moths in your garden...check your plant leaves carefully for holes..they usually lay their eggs on the under side of leaves...to protect them from UvA,and UvB rays of the sun...if you see a cluster of very very neatly layed eggs, just pluck the entire leaf off the plant...flower or veggie...and destroy...they can hatch within hours of being layed....so putting it off is not an option - you can appreciate why farmers do so much spraying...it is a battle field out there...but that's what we are, "gardening warriors"....enjoy