Definitive List of Fruit And Vegetables To Grow In Clay Soil

Clay soil might not make the garden of your dreams, but it shouldn’t stop you from honing that green thumb of yours. It turns heavy when it’s wet, and cracks when it dries making it a challenge for even the expert gardeners. However, don’t freak out! With a little effort and knowledge, you can get around the problem and harvest plenty of fruits from the same imperfect soil. 

Besides, some plants actually grow well in clay soil. While some can tolerate the heavy soil, there are those too, that can even benefit from it. Continue reading and learn about all the fruits that grow in clay soil. You’ll also find a bunch of plants and vegetables here that won’t mind growing in clay soil. Once you choose the right varieties to plant, you’ll have a flourishing garden in no time. If I have missed any off the list please leave a comment below and let me know so I can keep readers well informed.

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Vegetables And Fruits That Grow In Clay Soil

Trees That Grow In Clay Soil

Many fruit trees will grow well in clay soil, provided the drainage is improved. Pears won’t mind sitting in damper spots. However, apples, plum and citrus fruits can tolerate clay soil as long as it drains freely. In general, fruit bushes, like berries, won’t do well in this type of soil. 

To plant the trees, dig a hole in the ground. Using the soil you remove from the hole, create a mixture with three parts of soil, three parts compost and one part sand. Use this mixture to backfill once you’ve set the young plant into the hole. 

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Choose fruit trees growing on full-size rootstock rather than dwarf rootstock for growing in clay soil.

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Here are some of the best fruits that grow in clay soil:

  • Citrus trees
  • Figs
  • Apple
  • Plum
  • Pear
  • Apricots

It’s not just fruit trees that you’ll have success with when gardening in clay soil. Here are a bunch of ornamental trees that grow in clay soil:

  • Birch
  • Eucalyptus
  • Hawthorn
  • Sorbus
  • Juniper
  • Pine
  • Ash
  • Elder

Vegetables That Grow In Clay Soil

Vegetables And Fruits That Grow In Clay Soil

Planning to set up a vegetable garden in your clay soil? It’s quite possible. There are several vegetables that grow in clay soil without complaining. 

Since clay soil is slower to warm up in spring as compared to other types of soil, it does not make the perfect garden for early-season crops. Cover the land with a plastic sheet before sowing the seeds in spring. The plastic cover allows the soil to warm up faster from the sun’s heat while also protecting it against cold rain and snow. 

Mid and late season crops do especially well in clay soil since they benefit from its high nutrient concentration and optimal moisture retention. Vegetables with shallow roots, like lettuce and green beans, also tolerate the heavy soil well. 

Here are the best vegetables you can pick for growing in your clay soil:

  • Lettuce
  • Green beans
  • Chard
  • Cauliflower
  • Squash
  • Pumpkins
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Peas
  • Corn

Plants That Grow In Clay Soil

Vegetables And Fruits That Grow In Clay Soil

There’s an extensive range of flowers and plants that grow well in clay soil. Before choosing a variety to plant, check if it will tolerate heavy soil. Other than that, make sure you fulfil its light, water and nutrient requirements. Once you give them everything they need, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t thrive. 

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Spring plantings work out better than autumn ones since the soil is generally warmer and the weather is dry around this time. Once the plants are established in optimal environmental conditions, you can expect healthy growth ahead. 

Perennial flowers are better suited to clay soil than annual flowers. Perennials get ample time to establish before they can start producing stunning blooms. 

Plants and flowers will do better if you give them a little hand with drainage. Clay soil doesn’t drain well on its own. When you dig the planting hole, add a layer of sand, or any other drainage material, at the base before placing the plant over it. 

Here are some of the best ornamental plants and flowers you can choose for your clay soil garden:

  • Iris
  • Hostas
  • Aster
  • Baptisia
  • Athyrium
  • Rudbeckia
  • Geraniums
  • Cranesbill
  • Vinca
  • Snowdrops
  • Narcissi
  • Ivy
  • Honeysuckle


There are a bundle of choices available when planning a garden on clay soil. Now that you know what grows in clay soil, let’s get planting! Amend the garden plot with plenty of compost, and good drainage material to improve the soil’s texture. With a little extra effort, you’ll have a beautiful, flourishing garden before you know it! Also check my other article for herbs that grow in clay soil

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