Clay Soil Full Sun Plants - What To Plant In Full Sun Clay Soil Sites

Pink Flowered Full Sun Plants
(Image credit: TonyBaggett)

Building and maintaining healthy garden soil is truly a process that never ends. Even those with exceptional soil know that beds and fields need to be continually replenished in order for plants to truly thrive. 

In working toward the improvement of soil, it’s vital to have a firm understanding of its type and its composition. When planning the landscape, growers can use this information to make better informed planting decisions. Finding flowers which grow well in full sun and poor conditions may seem difficult, but it’s not impossible. Ornamental gardeners with clay soil, for example, are able to craft beautiful flower borders through the use of tough and highly adaptable plants. 

What to Plant in Full Sun/Clay Soil

Finding plants that grow well in clay soil/full sun conditions is the key to success in this type of garden. Unlike other types of soil, persistent issues with overly wet or waterlogged planting areas is a primary concern. Beyond its ability to retain moisture, extended periods of dry weather may also be problematic. Often, this can cause the soil to become extremely hard and/or compacted. This is due to the clay’s small particle size. 

While gardeners can overcome these issues through the repeated application of compost and other organic matter, it will require quite a bit of time and patience. Fortunately, there are several options in terms of full sun/clay soil plants that gardeners can utilize in this landscape.

Choosing the Best Plants

Many of the best plants for clay soil and full sun conditions are native wildflowers. Taking note of what types of flowers can be found growing locally can give you valuable insight into finding plants that grow well in clay soil/full sun conditions in the garden. Growers should consider the use of perennial and annual flowers that offer a long bloom period for the best seasonal display of color. 


Popular perennial clay soil/full sun plants include aster, bee balm, rudbeckia, daylilies, and echinacea. When planted in the appropriate growing zone, each of these flowers will return season after season. This makes them ideal if you’re looking for a low maintenance solution for more difficult landscapes. 


Several annual flowers will also fare well under these conditions. Examples of such plants include cosmos, celosia, sunflowers, and coreopsis. Though these flowers will require seeding each year, ornamental gardeners prize them for their profusion of blooms and showy color throughout the entire season. 

Tonya Barnett

Tonya Barnett has been gardening for 13 years. Flowers are her passion. She has trasformed her backyard into a cut flower garden, which she regularly chronicles on her YouTube channel