Share the story
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • 11
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Whatever your soil type, there are plants that will thrive and look absolutely gorgeous in your garden. Chalky soil can be really challenging (chalk is very alkaline & any garden compost or other organic matter disappears in a flash) but the good news I’ve chosen my top 10 plants for chalky soil to make your garden borders glow…

1. Sedum (stonecrop) ‘Matrona’

Firstly, if you want an easy to grow, butterfly and bee loving, late season flowering plant then look no further than sedums.  Once they’ve finished flowering you can leave the seed heads on for some winter interest but remember to cut them down early spring just as the new growth starts to appear.

They’ve been renamed Hylotelephium but most garden centres and plant nurseries list them under their old name of Sedum, which is much easier to remember and pronounce!  This variety has handsome dark purple stems and leaves with pretty soft pink flowers.

  • Flowers August to October
  • Easy to grow – cutting stems down late spring stops plants getting top heavy later in the year
  • Grows up to 60cm tall and 45cm wide
  • Well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Sheltered site
Rose-petal-salad-2

2.  Bergenia (elephant’s ears) ‘Claire Maxine’

There aren’t many evergreen perennials to choose from, let alone ones happy in chalky soil that grow thickly enough to fight off weeds & also make great ground cover plants!  This variety has pretty, magenta-pink flowers for months, and shiny round leaves that flush red during autumn.  Just remember to take off the old leaves as they die and to divide them when you see woody growth appearing in the centre of the plants to keep them looking tidy.

  • Flowers March to October
  • Very hardy
  • Grows up to 50cm tall and 60cm wide
  • Well-drained soil
  • Sun or shade
  • Sheltered or exposed site
Rose-petal-salad-2

3.  Paeonia lactiflora (peony) ‘Duchesse de Nemours’

Next up…how about a sweetly scented peony for the border?  The flowers on this reliable older variety are excellent for cutting and can last for as long as 10 days in water.  Modern hybrids may not do so well on chalky soil so best to choose older or species varieties for these conditions and remember to plant no deeper than 5cm below the soil line otherwise they’re likely to sulk and not flower well or at all!

  • Flowers end of May to June
  • Hardy and once established can live for around 50 years
  • Grows up to 90cm tall and 80cm wide
  • Well-drained soil that doesn’t stay wet
  • Prefer full sun but will tolerate some shade although this may affect flowering
  • Sheltered site
Rose-petal-salad-2

4. Kniphofia (red hot poker) ‘Bees’ Lemon’

Without a doubt,  these cheerful looking perennials are a sure fire winner on so many fronts for your chalky soil areas.  They produce lots of elongated lemon-yellow flowers from lime green buds on dark stems that make great cut flowers and what’s more the plants are said to be deer resistant as well as able to withstand drought.  They actually prefer and grow better in poor, dry soil!

  • Flowers August to September
  • Very hardy if given the right soil conditions
  • Grows up to 100cm tall and 70cm wide
  • Well-drained nutrient poor soil
  • Sun or part shade although prefers full sun
  • Fully hardy
Rose-petal-salad-2

5. Agapanthus africanus (African lily) ‘Headbourne Hybrids’

Known for their beautiful large flower heads in shades of deepest purple down to lightest blue and white, these statuesque plants can be found with both evergreen and deciduous leaf types.

It’s the deciduous varieties that are the hardiest and these can often be left over winter whereas it’s safer to bring in evergreen varieties as they can be prone to frost damage.  They’re all great grown in pots as well as in a flower border.  Cutting off flower heads once finished flowering could encourage more blooms to form or you can leave them on for early winter interest.

  • Flowers August to October
  • Hardy if given a sheltered spot
  • Grows up to 100cm tall and 75cm wide
  • Well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Sheltered site
Rose-petal-salad-2

6. Philadelphus (mock orange) ’Snowbelle’

This elegant, arching stemmed deciduous shrub is highly scented and undemanding.  ‘Snowbelle’ is a compact variety, producing masses of citrus perfumed double white flowers late spring/early summer so it’s great to have near a seating area or path. These are elegantly beautiful plants for your chalky soil.

  • Flowers June to July
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 100cm tall and 100cm wide
  • Well-drained soil
  • Full sun or part shade
  • Sheltered site
Rose-petal-salad-2

7. Deutzia hybrida ‘Mont Rose’

These undemanding deciduous hardy shrubs grow well in any type of soil as long as it’s well-drained.  ‘Mont Rose’ is great for small gardens, perfect in either a mixed or shrub border. It has thick clusters of rose pink, start shaped flowers which look particularly good shown off against this shrub’s slender, dark green leaves.

  • Flowers June to July
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 150cm tall and 150cm wide
  • Well-drained soil whether light, sandy or clay, alkaline or acidic
  • Prefers full sun but will grow happily in dappled shade
  • Sheltered or exposed site
Rose-petal-salad-2

8. Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian sage) ‘Blue Spire’

These pretty lavender coloured flowering perennial shrubs, much loved by us humans and pollinating insects alike, are named after the Russian General who introduced them to this country around 100 years ago.

They have silvery grey stems and leaves which release a lovely scent when rubbed or brushed up against.  To keep plants bushy and upright make a note to prune them right down to 5cm above ground level just as they start to form their new leaves, usually around the middle of April each year.

  • Flowers July to September
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 1.2m tall and 1m wide
  • Well-drained soil
  • Full Sun
  • Sheltered site
Rose-petal-salad-2

9. Sesleria autumnalis (moor grass)

Ornamental grasses can add a lot to a mixed flower border and can be particularly useful on chalky soils where plant choices are limited.  This evergreen grass unusually puts on its growth spurt during autumn and spring and so would be a good choice if you’re looking to create extra interest during those times of the year.

Silvery plumed flower spikes show up particularly well if planted in drifts in lightly shaded planting areas.

  • Flowers June to October
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows up to 100cm tall and 50cm wide
  • Tolerates most soil types but prefers alkaline
  • Grows well in both full sun light shade
  • Sheltered or exposed site
Rose-petal-salad-2

10. Verbascum chaixii (white nettle-leaved mullein) ‘Album’

Finally, these pretty perennial plants give great vertical impact and structure to a flower border with their tall, narrow elegant flower spikes. They are short lived but they freely self-seed quickly creating more plants, so if you don’t want them to multiply then be sure to deadhead the flower spikes immediately after flowering. You may find this triggers the plant into producing more, slightly shorter, flower spikes from the side of the plant later in the year.

  • Flowers June to August
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 90cm tall and 55cm wide
  • Well-drained soil
  • Grows well in both full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered site
Rose-petal-salad-2

So, there you have 10 plants that will look glorious in your borders, and thrive in chalky soil. To that end, there’s no need to have barren borders with these beautiful blooms.

Spring is here, see my post on spring pollinators:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:

spring pollinators
Spring pollinators
Pinterest
Pinterest Board


Share the story
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • 11
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •