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challenge: which taller perennials for heavy soil, full sun?

Posted by linaria 7 Switzerland (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 4:12

Hi there,
I am pondering a planting design for a mid sized border on quite heavy, loamy soil in full sun. I can probably have lava gritt worked into the soil to improve the air pores/ soil structure.

My problem: most species that can take full sun prefer well draining soil.

I will probably go for some Geranium (sanguineum and alike) as ground cover,

some oriental poppy as a test

some tall Aster like A pringlei, perhaps test mid high Aster pyrenaeus.

for sure some tall Sedum

For short term effect some Digitalis purpurea,

No Phlox paniculata-hybrids cause it is to hot for them
no Perovskia, sprawls in heavy soil

perhaps try few Gaura in the middle of the border (might keel over too)

any ideas for plants on the white pink magenta purple range up to 3 feet (4f) high?

that is such a tricky corner, and I believe that it is all about soil or finding the right plants for that spot to make that planting long lived.

temps in the summer about 77F, very seldom higher,
annual rainfall about 32 - 43 inches.

tnaks for your input, bye, Lin


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: challenge: which taller perennials for heavy soil, full sun?

"No Phlox paniculata-hybrids cause it is to hot for them"

But you say it only gets to about 77 degrees in summer! Definitely not too hot for phlox, which thrives in the US in much hotter temps.


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RE: challenge: which taller perennials for heavy soil, full sun?

Have you considered any of these:

Iris sibirica/Siberian iris
Verbascum/mullein
Baptisia australis/false indigo
Platycodon/balloon flower
Liatris spicata/gayfeather
Lobelia cardinalis/cardinal flower
Penstemon digitalis/beardtongue
Ratibida columnifera/Mexican hat
Trollius ledebouri/globeflower

I have all of the above growing in full sun as well as part sun. My soil is sandy loam & slightly acidic. I wouldn't rule out Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln'/dwarf fountain grass for textural contrast. I have Gaura lindheimeri/wandflower growing as well. It flops over but is so beautiful the bees & I don't mind.


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RE: challenge: which taller perennials for heavy soil, full sun?

Chelone - Hot Lips or one of the species
shrub roses
Japanese or Louisiana Iris
Lobelia siphilitica if you can keep it deadheaded to prevent reseeding
tall daylilies in the raspberry, pink, or lavender range
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is listed as native to Switzerland; does it get used as a garden plant?
Peonies


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RE: challenge: which taller perennials for heavy soil, full sun?

What about Lilies? I have loamy clay that is leaning toward the heavy side and Perovskias flop for me and well draining perennials don't like me much, but I've grown Lilies in my full sun bed and they seem happy as clams.

We have the issue of red lily leaf beetles here, not sure if you do there.

In my experience, Penstemons have been short lived but sometimes reseed.

Heliopsis in this same location for me grew to almost 5ft.

Grasses

What about Buddleia or Low Care Roses mixed in with the perennials?


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RE: challenge: which taller perennials for heavy soil, full sun?

How about some the American native prairie plants which thrive in heavy soil and hot sun:
Eupatorium 'Gateway'
Echinacea purpurea (coneflower)
Liatris spicata (blazing star)
Allium cernuum (nodding onion)
Physostegia virginiana (obedient plant) 'Vareigata'
Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweek)


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RE: challenge: which taller perennials for heavy soil, full sun?

Rudbeckia, Rudbeckia, oh and Rudbeckia! Perfect for those conditions, blooming machine and care-free.


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RE: challenge: which taller perennials for heavy soil, full sun?

Our area is heavy clay, to which we frequently add organic matter.

We get a lot of the herbaceous perennial height in our garden from tall garden phlox and tall heleniums, but they don't like dry conditions (former, as you say).

We also get a lot of height from monkshood and New England asters and smaller amounts from perennials like, an old (species?) globe thistle, false sunflower and Kashmir tree mallow.

I also love culver's root ('Fascination' in the picture below). The purple loosestrife is 'Rosy Gem'. I use purple loosestrife, but only very carefully.

Picture July 22, 2013:

This post was edited by SunnyBorders on Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 17:29


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RE: challenge: which taller perennials for heavy soil, full sun?

thanks folks,
that is great, some food for thought, I am going to do research on the suggested plants.

Sorry, mistook the temperatures, got confused by Fahrenheit,
temps are around 90 in August

I tried Phlox in another patch, did not thrive,
but I think because it had a rough start, frost heaving in first winter, not enough water in first summer,

they look quite good now (year 3), so probably some more TLC should solve this problem.

Liatris sounds great

definetely a smallish shrub rose/ modern, hardy rose

perhaps globe thistle /Echinops?

the rest I really need to look up, some stuff I haven`t heard of yet.

The Lythrum/ loosestrife is too strong or weedy.

Ponder grasses, Penniestum is really good,

Thanks again, I will post my shortened list of choice,

have a great week, bye, Lin


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RE: challenge: which taller perennials for heavy soil, full sun?

Lin, I purposely listed Pennisetum/fountain grass for the textural contrast it offers. I added it to my perennial bed on the southeast side of my garden in front of a Harry Lauder Walkingstick/demented witch hazel tree since the textural contrast is so amazing. Also, because it's a dwarf ornamental grass that grows just 2-3 ft. tall (rather than the Miscanthus that grows 8 ft. tall) and it has an elegant, graceful arching habit.

Not a great shot of it but in the photo its growing just to the right of the barrel and in this shot is just beginning to send out new green growth. The tree is more easily appreciated when it doesn't have leaves--the branches & trunk grow in a corkscrew shape.


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RE: challenge: which taller perennials for heavy soil, full sun?

I searched some more, first German, than English websites, looking for "perennials for clay soil".
one particularly nice pdf popped up, have a look, if you are interested,

bye, Lin

Here is a link that might be useful: best plants for clay soil


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RE: challenge: which taller perennials for heavy soil, full sun?

Ummm, there's some invasives in that .pdf list, so please be careful to do your research before planting any of those, as you will get more than you asked for! You may be able to already spot the invasives, so I will add this also for anyone else perusing this post for their own gardens.


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