ProblemSolver Plants for Clay Soil - Annuals and Bulbs

Annuals


Coreopsis tinctoria
Plains coreopsis

Plains coreopsis (also commonly called garden coreopsis, golden tickseed or calliopsis) grows 2-4’ tall and to 18” wide. The yellow daisy-like flowers have reddish brown centers and appear over a long late spring to fall period. Attracts butterflies.
Gomphrena globosa
Globe amaranth

This compact annual typically grows 12-24” tall. The clover-like flowerheads are bright magenta and appear over a long summer to frost. Cultivars expand the range of colors to include red, pink, purple, lilac, violet and white. Long lasting fresh cut flower. Excellent dried flower (an everlasting) that retains color well. Attracts butterflies.

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Rudbeckia hirta 'Indian Summer'
Black-eyed Susan

‘Indian Summer’ is a cultivar of a Missouri native wildflower. It produces huge flowerheads (6-9” diameter) throughout the summer. Although often grown as an annual, it is actually a biennial or short-lived perennial that freely self-seeds and blooms the first year from seed. Attracts butterflies.

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Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue'
Mealycup sage

‘Victoria Blue’ is a compact, densely-branched cultivar that typically grows to 15-24” tall and features large deep blue flowers from summer to fall. Attracts butterflies.

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Tagetes erecta
African marigold

Also called big marigold because of their large flowerheads (2-4” diameter), the species grows from 1-4’ tall and features huge, mostly double flowers in various shades of yellow, orange, and whitish. Blooms June to frost. Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Appreciates some light afternoon shade.
Tagetes patula
French marigold

These compact annuals typically grow 6-12” tall and feature single, semi-double, double or crested flowers (1-2” diameter) in shades of yellow, orange, red and bicolor. Blooms June to frost. Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Appreciates some light afternoon shade.

Bulbs

Camassia leichtlinii
Camass

This spring-flowering bulbous perennial typically forms a 2’ clump of foliage. The star-shaped flowers open sequentially from bottom to top on stout stems that rise above the foliage clump to a height of 2.5-4’ tall in late spring. Flowers in this species may be white, cream, blue or purple, all with attractive yellow anthers. Good fresh cut flower.

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Crocus vernus
Spring crocus

This perennial  bulb (actually a corm) blooms in early spring for about three weeks (typically beginning in late March in the St. Louis area). The flowers close at night and open up in the morning, but usually remain closed on rainy/cloudy days. Although deer tolerant, it is beloved by squirrels, mice and other rodents.

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Galanthus nivalis
Snowdrop

This bulbous perennial has escaped gardens and naturalized in parts of eastern North America. It is a true harbinger of spring that typically blooms from late February to late March in the St. Louis area, often poking its head up through snow cover if present. The common name refers to the supposed resemblance of the flowers to drops of snow.

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Ipheion uniflorum
Spring starflower

This South American native features grass-like foliage and solitary star-shaped flowers on 6” tall stems in early spring. Each bulb produces multiple flowering stems. Flowers range in color from almost white to violet blue and have a mild spicy fragrance. The foliage, when bruised, emits an oniony aroma. Naturalizes rapidly.
Leucojum aestivum
Summer snowflake

Although it blooms several weeks after spring snowflake (Leucojum vernum), summer snowflake blooms in mid-spring (late April), not in summer. Each white, nodding, bell-shaped flower has three similar looking sepals and petals that are spotted at the tip with green and reach 12-15" tall. Can put on a spectacular flowering display when naturalized in large drifts.

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Muscari armeniacum
Grape hyacinth

This early spring-blooming bulbous perennial features slightly fragrant, deep violet blue flowers in early spring. The somewhat floppy clumps of narrow green leaves appear in autumn and live through the cold St. Louis winter to spring when the plants flower. Good cut flower.

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Narcissus
Daffodil

Daffodils are bulbous perennials. Depending upon species or hybrid type, flowers appear singly or in clusters atop stems rising from 6-30” tall. Flowers generally feature a trumpet or cup (the corona) surrounded by six petals, in colors ranging from white to yellow to orange to pink to bicolors. Flowers are sometimes fragrant and appear in early spring. Deer, rabbits and most other animal pests will not eat daffodils.

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