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Clay-Tolerant Natives Grown by Yerba Buena Nursery
Garden Guides | At Your Home Garden Design Service | In House Bed Design | Garden Tune-Up Service

Along with deer as neighbors, gardening in clay soil is one of the most common challenges facing our customers. The following list will give you a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and perennials to select for a garden with poor drainage.

How do you know if you have clay soil? The easiest method is to moisten a small patch of your yard and scoop up a handful of earth. Form it into a ball, then open your hand. If the ball falls apart, it's safe to say you do not have clay soil. If it withstands a couple of pokes without disintegrating, it's safe to say your soil is at least fairly clayey.

Another common test is to dig a small hole about a foot deep, fill it with water, let it drain, then refill the hole. The time it takes for the second filling to percolate into the soil is a good judge of the drainage characteristics of your yard. If water remains standing in the hole longer than 8-12 hours, you have clay soil.

Plants marked with one asterisk (*) are our most clay tolerant plants, even capable of tolerating standing water in winter -- ideal for a streamside or poorly draining depression in your yard. Plants with two asterisks (**) are clay tolerant as long as they are not overwatered during the summer.

If you have a garden with clay soil we suggest that you print out this list and bring it with you when you come and visit Yerba Buena. We have provided a printer safe list with easy to read formatting for this purpose.

Botanic NameCommon Name
Acer macrophyllumBig-Leaf Maple
Acer negundo*Box Elder
Achillea millefolium -- all native varietiesYarrow
Actea rubraBaneberry
Aesculus californicaCalifornia Buckeye
Allium unifolium*Meadow Onion
Alnus sp. -- all native varietiesAlder
Amelanchier alnifoliaServiceberry
Aralia californica*Elk Clover
Arctostaphylos bakeri 'Louis Edmunds'**Serpentine Manzanita
Arctostaphylos 'Dr Hurd'**Dr. Hurd's Manzanita
Arctostaphylos edmundsii 'Carmel Sur'**Carmel Sur Manzanita
Arctostaphylos 'Green Supreme'**Green Supreme Manzanita
Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn'**McMinn's Manzanita
Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Sentinel'**Sentinel Manzanita
Aristolochia californicaDutchman's Pipevine
Artemisia douglasiana*Mugwort
Artemisia ludoviciana -- all native varietiesMugwort
Asarum caudatum*Wild Ginger
Asclepias fascicularisNarrow-Leaf Milkweed
Asclepias speciosaShowy Milkweed
Aster chilensis -- all native varietiesAster
Athyrium filix-femina*Lady Fern
Baccharis pilularisCoyote Bush
Baccharis pilularis 'Pigeon Point'Prostrate Coyote Bush
Baccharis pilularis 'Twin Peaks'Prostrate Coyote Bush
Berberis aquifoliumOregon Grape
Berberis aquifolium ssp. compactaCompact Oregon Grape
Berberis 'Golden Abundance'Oregon Grape
Berberis 'Ken Hartman'Oregon Grape
Berberis nervosaLong-Leaved Oregon Grape
Berberis repensCreeping Oregon Grape
Blechnum spicant*Deer Fern
Calochortus luteusYellow Mariposa Lily
Calycanthus occidentalis*Spice Bush
Calystegia purpurataMorning Glory
Camassia quamashCamas Lily
Calochortus uniflorusLavender Star-Tulip
Cardamine californicaMilk Maids
Carex spissa*San Diego Sedge
Carex praegracilisDune Sedge
Carpenteria californicaBush Anemone
Ceanothus 'Yankee Point'Carmel Creeper
Ceanothus griseus x arboreus 'Ray Hartman'Ray Hartman Wild Lilac
Ceanothus hearstiorumHearst's Wild Lilac
Ceanothus gloriosus -- all native varietiesWild Lilac
Ceanothus thyrsiflorusBlue Blossom
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'Skylark'Dwarf Blue Blossom
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'Snow Flurry'White-Flowered Wild Lilac
Cercocarpus betuloidesMountain Mahogany
Chlorogalum pomeridianumSoap Lily
Clarkia -- all native varietiesFarewell-to-Spring
Clematis ligusticifolia*Western Virgin's Bower
Cornus sericea*Red-Twig Dogwood
Cornus sessilisBlack-Fruit Dogwood
Corylus cornuta var. californicaHazelnut
Cupressus lawsonianaPort Orford Cedar
Cynoglossum grandeHound's Tongue
Darmera peltata*Umbrella Plant
Deschampsia caespitosa -- all native varietiesTufted Hair Grass
Dicentra formosaWestern Bleeding Heart
Dryopteris argutaCoastal Wood Fern
Epipactis gigantea*Stream Orchid
Euonymus occidentalis*Western Burning Bush
Festuca californica -- all native varietiesCalifornia Fescue
Festuca rubra -- all native varietiesRed Fescue
Festuca 'Siskiyou Blue'Siskiyou Blue Fescue
Fragaria californicaWoodland Strawberry
Fragaria chiloensisBeach Strawberry
Garrya elliptica 'Evie'Silk Tassel
Garrya elliptica 'James Roof'Silk Tassel
Heracleum lanatumCow Parsnip
Heterotheca sessiliflora 'San Bruno Mtn'Golden Aster
Holodiscus discolorCream Bush
Juglans californicaCalifornia Black Walnut
Juncus effusus -- all native varieties*Soft Rush
Juncus patens -- all native varieties*Common Rush
Leymus condensatus 'Canyon Prince'Wild Rye
Lilium pardalinumLeopard Lily
Lobelia cardinalisScarlet Lobelia
Lobelia dunnii var. serrata*Blue Lobelia
Lonicera hispidulaHairy Honeysuckle
Lonicera involucrata*Twinberry
Lupinus polyphyllusMarsh Lupine
Lysichiton californicum*Skunk Cabbage
Mimulus cardinalis*Scarlet Monkeyflower
Mimulus guttatus*Seep Monkeyflower
Mimulus cardinalis 'Santa Cruz Island Gold'*Golden Monkeyflower
Mimulus lewisii*Monkeyflower
Muhlenbergia rigensDeer Grass
Myrica californica*Wax Myrtle
Oxalis oreganaRedwood Sorrel
Penstemon eatoniiEaton's Penstemon
Penstemon heterophyllusFoothill Penstemon
Philadelphus lewisii 'Goose Creek'Mock Orange
Philadelphus lewisii 'Covelo'Mock Orange
Physocarpus capitatus*Pacific Ninebark
Physocarpus capitatus 'Siskiyou Beauty'*Pacific Ninebark
Pickeringia montanaChaparral Pea
Platanus racemosa*Sycamore
Polemonium occidentale*Jacob's Ladder
Polypodium californicumCalifornia Polypody
Polystichum munitumWestern Sword Fern
Populus fremontiiCottonwood
Populus tremuloidesQuaking Aspen
Prunus ilicifoliaHolly-Leaf Cherry
Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyoniiCatalina Cherry
Pseudotsuga menziesiiDouglas Fir
Pteridium aquilinumBracken Fern
Quercus agrifolia**Coast Live Oak
Quercus chrysolepis**Canyon Live Oak
Quercus garryana**Oregon White Oak
Quercus kelloggii**Black Oak
Quercus lobataValley Oak
Quercus parvula var. shrevei**Shreve Oak
Ranunculus californicusButtercup
Rhamnus californica -- all varieties*Coffeeberry
Rhamnus croceaRed Berry
Rhus integrifoliaLemonade Berry
Rhus ovata Sugar Bush
Ribes aureum*Golden Currant
Ribes californicumHillside Gooseberry
Ribes sanguineum -- all native varieties*Pink Flowering Currant
Ribes speciosumFuschia Flowered Gooseberry
Rosa calfornicaCalifornia Wild Rose
Rosa gymnocarpaWood Rose
Rubus parviflorusThimbleberry
Rubus spectabilisSalmonberry
Rubus ursinusWestern Blackberry
Rudbeckia californica var. californicaConeflower
Rudbeckia californica var. glaucaConeflower
Salix -- all native varieties*Willow
Salvia spathaceaHummingbird Sage
Salvia melliferaBlack Sage
Salvia sonomensisCreeping Sage
Sambucus mexicana*Blue Elderberry
Sambucus racemosa*Red Elderberry
Satureja douglasiiYerba Buena
Satureja mimuloidesWild Savory
Scirpus cernuusFiber-Optic Grass
Scrophularia californica*Bee Plant
Sequoia sempervirensCoast Redwood
Sequoiadendron giganteumGiant Sequoia
Sidalcea malvaefloraChecker Bloom
Sisyrinchium bellumBlue-Eyed Grass
Sisyrinchium californicumYellow-Eyed Grass
Smilacina stellataSlim Solomon's Seal
Solidago californicaGoldenrod
Solidago canadensisGoldenrod
Spiraea densifloraRosy Spiraea
Symphoricarpos albus*Snowberry
Thalictrum fendleriMeadow-Rue
Thuja plicataWestern Red Cedar
Thuja Plicata 'Emerald Cone'Western Red Cedar
Tiarella trifoliata var. unifoliataSugar Scoop
Torreya californicaCalifornia Nutmeg
Vaccinium ovatumWestern Huckleberry
Verbena lasiostachys*Verbena
Viola pedunculataJohnny-Jump-Up
Vitis californica Wild Grape
Vitis californica 'Roger's Red'Wild Grape
Zygadenus fremontiiFremont's Lily

* - These are our most clay tolerant plants, even capable of tolerating standing water in winter -- ideal for a streamside or poorly draining depression in your yard.
** - These plants are clay tolerant as long as they are not overwatered during the summer.
Garden Guides | At Your Home Garden Design Service | In House Bed Design | Garden Tune-Up Service

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Yerba Buena Nursery
(650) 851-1668

Visit Us:
@ Pastorino Farms
12511 San Mateo Road (Highway 92)
Half Moon Bay, CA

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 3188
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Open Tuesday - Friday 9 am-4:30 pm, Saturday 9am - 5 pm    CLOSED Sundays & Mondays
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