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Climbing Plants for Clay Soil

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There are climbing plants that can tolerate and grow in clay soil. Growing plants in clay soil is a challenge. Clay soil is slow to drain and dense. That makes it hard for plant roots to grow.

Choosing plants that can tolerate clay soil is one way to work around the clay soil challenge. Some plants are native to regions where clay soil predominates; they have an advantage over other plants.

Amending the soil with organic matter such as aged compost and manure is a good way to gain an upper hand on clay soil. Spread organic matter across planting beds at least twice a year.

When setting new plants into clay soil, dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the plant’s rootball and mix organic matter with the native soil as you backfill at planting time.

Here’s a list of climbing plants that will grow in clay soil.

Climbing hydrangea

Climbing plants that tolerate clay soil

A-H Common NameBotanical NameZones
AkebiaAkebia quinata4-8
BittersweetCelastrus scandens4-8
Boston IvyParthenocissus tricuspidata4-9
ClematisClematis spp.3-9
Climbing HydrangeaHydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris4-8
Crimson Glory VineVitis coignetiae6-9
Dutchman’s PipeAristolochia macrophylla4-8
Euonymus VineEuonymus fortunei ‘Silver Queen’4-9
Five-Flavor BerrySchisandra chinensis4-7
Golden Hop VineHumulus lupulus ‘Aureus’5-10
GrapeVitis vinifera7-10
Blooming wisteria
L-Z Common NameBotanical NameZones
Hop VineHumulus lupulus5-10
HoneysuckleLonicera (some spp.)4-9
IvyHedera spp.6-10
Kiftsgate RoseRose filipes4-9
Passionflower VinePassiflora spp.6-9
Silk Tassel BushGarrya elliptica7-10
Sweet PeaLathyrus latifolius5-9
Trumpet CreeperCampsis spp.5-9
Trumpet VineDistictus spp.4-8
WisteriaWisteria spp.4-9

Also of interest:

Perennials for Clay Soil

Shrubs for Clay Soil

Trees for Clay Soil

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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Shrubs for Clay Soil

Trees for Clay Soil