Plants for clay soils or clay loams

By Uploaded by Heather Miles


The following plants generally tolerate (or in some cases prefer) clay soils that are poorly drained but not boggy in winter, and that tend to dry out in summer. Of course, other factors can play a part in a plant’s success, so this list is a guideline only.

See also our related story on growing plants in clay soils here.

See more about these plants on our Plant Profile database: https://resources.austplants.com.au/plant-database/

Shrubs and trees

Plant botanical name


Acacia decurrens

Bright yellow flowers, feather foliage, up to 15 metres high

Acacia fimbriata

Yellow flowers, up to 8 metres high

Acacia glaucoptera

Bizarre foliage, yellow flowers, up to 1.5 metres high

Acacia iteaphylla

Pale yellow flowers, weeping greyish foliage, up to five metres high

Acacia parramattensis

Cream ball shaped flowers, up to 10 metres high Flowers in summer

Acacia pubescens

Yellow flowers, rare local species, up to 3 metres high

Acacia prominens

Yellow flowers, up to 9 metres high

Astartea fascicularis

Small pale pink flowers, up to 1 metre high

Baeckea linifolia

White flowers, weeping shrub to 4 metres high

Baeckea virgata

Masses of white flowers, to 4 metres high

banksia integrifolia

Yellow flower spikes, to 15 metres high

Bauera sessilifolia

Mauve pink flowers, erect shrub to 2 metres high

Callistemon species

Most species are suitable and have flower colours in the red, pink, mauve tones (green in C. pinifolius)

Calytrix tetragona

Starlike flowers from white to deep pink, variable height up to 2 metres

Correa alba

White flowers, to one metre high

Correa ‘’Dusky Bells’

Pinkish flowers, to 1.5 metres high

Correa reflexa

Various colours, to 1.5 metres high

Darwinia citriodora

Reddish orange flowers although not prominent, lemon scented leaves, to 1 metre high

Elaeocarpus reticulatus

White or pink flowers, a slender tree to 8 metres high

Grevillea ‘Canterbury Gold’

Golden coloured flowers, a prostrate to 2 metres high

Grevillea ‘Moonlight’

Cream flowers, to 4 metres high

Grevillea barklyana

Pink toothbrush flowers, a large shrub/tree to 8 metres high

Grevillea juniperina

Many flower colours available, a prostrate plant to 1.5 metres wide

Grevillea lanigera

Cream to pinkish flowers growing to 1.5 metres high

Grevillea sp. grafted

Many of the Grevillea species that have been grafted onto a hardy rootstock such as Grevillea robusta

Hymenosporum flavum

Native frangipani with yellow fragrant flowers, growing to 6 metres high

Indigofera australis

Sprays of deep pink flowers, variable 1 to 2 metres high

Kunzea parvifolia

Pink flowers, a spreading plant to 1.4 metres high by 3 metres across

Leptospermum ‘Cardwell’

White flowers, a weeping shrub to 1.5 metres high

Leptospermum petersonii

White flowers with lemon scented leaves, growing to 6 metres high

Leptospermum scoparium

White flowers growing to 2 metres high

Melaleuca fulgens

Red or orange flowers to 1.5 metres wide and 1.5 metres high

Melaleuca hypericifolia

Orange to red flowers to 3 metres across by 2.5 metres high

Melaleuca lateritia

Orange to red flowers, to 2 metres high

Melaleuca styphelioides

White flowers, prickly leaved paperbark, a small tree to 8 metres high

Melaleuca thymifolia

Purple flowers, 1 metre wide by 1 metre high

Philotheca difformis

White starry flowers up to 1 metre high

Philotheca myoporoides

White starry flowers up to 1 metre high

Thryptomene saxicola

Paynes hybrid has pink flowers and grows to 1.2 metres high

Westringia fruticosa

White flowers to 2 metres high by 4 metres wide

Westringia longifolia

White to pale blue flowers, to 2 metres high


Ground cover shrubs

Plant botanical name


Banksia integrifolia ‘Roller Coaster’

A vigorous prostrate shrub with yellow flowers

Bauera rubiodies

Pink flowers, 1 metre high by 2 metres wide with purple flowers

Brachyscome angustifolia

A spreading shrub about 1 metre high

Brachyscome multifida

A spreading shrub about 1 metre high

Commelina cyanea

Native Wandering Jew with small blue flowers. Can be very vigorous on clay

Grevillea ‘Royal Mantle’

Red toothbrush flowers, to 2 metres wide

Myoporum parvifolium

White flowers to 1.5m high, more if some moisture


Vines, climbers that act as ground covers

Plant botanical name


Hardenbergia violacea

A prostrate or climbing plant with purple flowers. There are also white cultivar and shrubby forms available

Hibbertia serpyllifolia

Yellow flowers growing to about 1 metre high

Kennedia rubicunda

A prostrate runner with red flowers



Plant botanical name


Dianella caerulea

Blue flowers with strap like leaves, to 1 metre high

Dianella revoluta

Bright blue flowers with yellow anthers on spikes to 1 metre followed by bright blue fruits

Lomandra hystrix

Clumping plant with strappy leaves, clump to 1.5 metres high and about 1 metre wide

Lomandra longifolia

Clumping strappy leaves, to 1 metre high

Oplismenus spp

Basket grass, a thick mat forming grass or ground cover for shady damp areas. Can be mown

Viola betonicifolia

A tiny shrub with violet flowers grows to 20 centimetres high

Viola hederacea

A tiny shrub with violet flowers grows to 20 centimetres high

To download a PDF of this story see Plants for clay soils or clay loams