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Easy slug resistant plants please for shady clay

Discussion in 'Other Plants' started by Golarne, Apr 3, 2024.

  1. Golarne

    Golarne Gardener

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    My daughter’s small suburban garden in Cambridgeshire (eastern England) is very shady, solid clay- wet now, but rock solid in the summer, with a footpath, ditch and huge ash trees beyond the fence. She grew hostas but they were all eaten by snails/slugs. Any ideas for robust plants, max one metre tall, for a small border would be very welcome. She has astrantia, but she’d love something that doesn’t vanish in the winter. Euonymus and holly are growing, and I made the mistake of planting vinca, oops, and try to dig it out when I’m there. I’m running out of ideas and she is dejected, so any suggestions welcome. Thanks :smile:
     
  2. Macraignil

    Macraignil Super Gardener

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    Ajuga makes a nice low growing ground cover and I have not seen it suffer from the slugs where I have it planted. The purple leaved types I have seem to do better than the mixed colour variegated ones.

    Happy gardening!
     
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    • Mrs. B.

      Mrs. B. Gardener

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      • fairygirl

        fairygirl Gardener

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        Our ground doesn't dry out in summer, so that makes it harder to suggest anything, but I think it would be better to address the soil so that there's more scope for plants.
        I grow Iberis [perennial candytuft] whch doesn't mind wet all year round, but I don't know if it would cope with drying out in summer.
        How big a border is it?
         
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        • ViewAhead

          ViewAhead Gardener

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          Iberis survives dry down here, though it doesn't look its best.

          Fuchsias are pretty good at coping and flower for ages.
           
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          • Butterfly6

            Butterfly6 Gardener

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            Liriope muscari, Carex Everest and Evergold are slug proof evergreens and did well in clay, shade for me. Sarcococca hookeriana did well and there are some smaller ones such as Winter Gem

            Also another vote for Fuchsia and Ajuga. Bergenias might be worth trying.
             
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            • Loxley

              Loxley Gardener

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              Most shrubs will withstand slugs and snails quite well, but you need to plant them at a big size.... little 9cm starter plants will be devoured as if they were perennials.

              But re perennials, Euphorbia robbiae would cope with shade and clay soil, and would not be touched by slugs. It will spread like the Vinca does though! Come to think of it, a lot of plants that cope with clay soil and shade are aggressive spreaders... Symphytum 'Hidcote Blue' and Trachystemon orientalis come to mind.

              Hellebores might be worth trying (but not fussy H. niger). Build up a good layer of humusey soil on top of the clay and your options will improve.
               
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              • Emerion

                Emerion Apprentice Gardener

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                Brunnera? I think they will tolerate clay soil. They do like shade and slugs don’t like them.
                 
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                • Selleri

                  Selleri Koala

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                  It would be best to dig the planting area up at least a spade deep and re-fill with compost, grit, manure and broken up removed clay. It's blooming hard work though! :biggrin:

                  If that's not possible, digging as big planting holes as possible will help over time, as well as thick, organic mulch.

                  After that pretty much any shade tolerant plant should be easy, clay is very fertile. :)

                  For plants, my favourite is Vinca Minor variegata. It is well behaved, looks neat all year round and flowers well in spring plus plops up random flowers almost any time of the year. It's an awfully useful plant, roots easily and looks nice trailing from planters and baskets.

                  Ferns are fascinating plants too, a collection of evergreens could look wonderful. Especially if there is room for a small wildlife pond/ bird spa.

                  Hardy Geraniums are also tolerant and some are semi- evergreen or have attractive autumn colour.
                   
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                  • Jenny_Aster

                    Jenny_Aster Optimistic Gardener.

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                    Wouldn't like to comment on what plants to grow, but speaking as someone who (probably) has the same garden soil make up as your daughter, she'll probably already knows she'll need lots of compost.

                    I've been trying to condition my garden's soil for 3 years now, prior to that it was a grazing field. I have added lots of compost and now it's just about workable in areas. To do the whole garden would have cost a fortune, so I've been adding the compost in 'spots', every time I plant something I add several handfuls of compost. I like bedding plants which means more compost. This year I've bought a bag of strulch to try (Mulch, Straw Based For Organic Gardens With Slug Deterrent - Strulch®), I'm hoping it will keep the slugs of the strawberries.

                    Raised beds have also been utilised which helps a lot.
                     
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                    • Thevictorian

                      Thevictorian Gardener

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                      The slugs loved the Brunnera I had but we have very voracious molluscs in these parts who also love eating our foxgloves, that aren't meant to be touched. It's funny because they are very similar to brunnera but pulmonaria do well and don't seem bothered by the slugs.
                       
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                      • ViewAhead

                        ViewAhead Gardener

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                        Brunnera is on my slugs' menu too. Shame, cos I like the Jack Frost one and have plenty of shady spots it could inhabit.
                         
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                        • Emerion

                          Emerion Apprentice Gardener

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                          That’s funny, I wonder if slug resistance varies with variety?
                           
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                          • fairygirl

                            fairygirl Gardener

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                            Slugs do have a go at some of my foxgloves, but it's just how it is. I pull off tatty leaves - if I can be bothered.
                            I was also thinking earlier that Osmanthus could be good for the site. I have one [burkwoodii] which copes with all our weather here, and clay soil, but it's also about as dry as it can ever get here in summer because it's in a raised bed. The rain doesn't get through easily because the bird feeder cage is in it, so it might cope well enough with the site. You can prune and shape it to keep it to a reasonable size.
                            The best approach though - is to amend that soil with organic matter, but don't remove what's there, just add to it. It always pays dividends. A raised bed might be the best move if that's too much waiting time for your daughter - depending on what the site is like, and how easy it would be to get one slotted in. A photo would be good if you can manage one @Golarne :)
                             
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                            • Thevictorian

                              Thevictorian Gardener

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                              I don't know the variety but it was one of the very silver/white ones, not jack frost. Perhaps the stronger growing more natural ones are less attractive.
                               
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