Plants That Thrive In Compacted Soil

If you’re one with a green thumb, you’re already thinking of Spring and the return of warm weather. Well, here are some tips to think about during this green thumb downtime.

We’ve discussed the issue of compacted soil in previous articles here at Lawneq. However, we have not suggested plants that thrive in that condition. Using these plants proves that homeowners who are experiencing problems with compaction have other options that are cost effective.

One reason why a lawn is compacted is due to construction issues when the house is being built. Home construction crews tend to focus on parts of the yard that immediately surround the home. So they apply a light top dressing and grading and seeding. The sections of the lawn that are farther out are left alone and effects of the construction process including the use of heavy equipment produces compact soil.

If you find yourself in this predicament, then you have a choice of either mending the soil or planting flora that will grow in hard clay.

Tilling in organic materials including peat moss, worm castings, leaf compost or mushroom compost can relieve soil compaction. This fix will loosen up the soil, encourage better drainage and add nutrients plants need.

You can also create raised beds to nix the problem of compaction. Simply add good topsoil down to the depth of the plants’ roots.


No doubt, you are aware of the many plants that don’t do well in compacted soil. However, you may not be aware that there are plants that thrive in this condition.

Plants that grow in hard clay soil include:


  • Impatiens
  • Lantana
  • Marigold
  • Coneflower
  • Joe Pye Weed
  • Virginia Bluebells
  • Bee Balm
  • Penstemon
  • Obedient Plant
  • Gazania
  • Goldenrod
  • Spiderwort
  • Turtlehead
  • Coreopsis
  • Salvia
  • Dianthus
  • Amaranth
  • Black Eyed Susan
  • Crocus
  • Daffodil
  • Snowdrop
  • Grape Hyacinth
  • Iris
  • Milkweed
  • False Indigo
  • Allium
  • Blaring Star
  • Veronica
  • Aster

Foliage And Ornamental Grasses

  • Ostrich Fern
  • Lady Fern
  • Grama Grass
  • Feather Reed Grass
  • Switchgrass
  • Miscanthus
  • Little Bluestem

Shrubs and Small Trees

  • Witch Hazel
  • Ninebark
  • Viburnum
  • Dogwood
  • Hazelnut
  • Juniper
  • Mugo Pine
  • Yew
  • Arborvitae


About Robert Janis

Written by Robert Janis for LawnEq - Your specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable manufacturers.