9 Beautiful Plants That Will Thrive In Clay Soil

Black-eyed Susan

Endemic to the eastern U.S., the black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) thrives in moist clay soils and full to part sun. This perennial attracts pollinators and birds with its vibrant yellow flowers.

Smooth Hydrangea

Smooth hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens), especially the Annabelle variety, flourish in compacted clay soils. These deer-resistant plants, hardy in zones 3 to 9, display white, pink, or green flowers.

Dense Blazing Star

The dense blazing star features rose-purple feathery blooms that attract pollinators. Growing up to 6 feet tall, this low-maintenance perennial thrives in sunny to mildly shaded sites.

Black Chokeberry

Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) is a low-maintenance shrub thriving in clay soils. It offers antioxidant-rich berries and pinkish-white flowers, attracting songbirds.

Common Elderberry

Common elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) boasts lavender-black drupes for wines and teas, fragrant white flowers, and large greenish-yellow foliage. Hardy in zones 3 to 9, it stabilizes wet areas with its shallow roots.

Flowering Quince

Flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) produces scarlet pink blooms and edible quince fruit. Ideal for sunny gardens or dappled shade in zones 4 to 8, it grows up to 10 feet tall and 12 feet wide.


Weigela shrubs (Weigela florida) feature burgundy or white trumpet flowers attracting hummingbirds. These deer-resistant plants thrive in clay soils and full to part sun in zones 4 to 8.

Scarlet Bee Balm

Scarlet bee balm (Monarda didyma) is perfect for boggy spots, with edible burgundy flowers from summer to fall. This mint-scented herb attracts pollinators and is deer and rabbit-resistant.

Globe Thistle

Globe thistle (Echinops ritro) features purplish-blue star-shaped flowers and attractive silver-green leaves. This perennial thrives in nutrient-poor soils and full sun, growing over 2 feet tall.