Last updated on December 2nd, 2011
READER Lucille N. recently asked about modestly-sized flowering perennials for her salty waterfront property. Here are some cultural tips for Lucille and others who garden near the sea, followed by a list of “Beach Beauties” (like the Phlox subulata pictured up top) which can tolerate a bit of saline in their diet:
Rugosa roses and ornamental grasses are the first plants that come to mind for a salty waterfront location. However, if you can minimize the high winds, salt spray, and sandy soil that probably define your seaside garden, you will find that other, far more interesting perennials will flourish there, too.
Start by arranging a hedge of beach plum (Prunus maritima) behind the proposed planting-area; next, improve the soil by incorporating a 3-inch layer of well-aged manure, and another 3-inch layer of compost or leaf mold into the bed. Then you can have fun growing the following beach beauties:
Althaea rosea (Hollyhock)
Armeria (pink Sea Thrift)
Aster (Michaelmas Daisy)
Chrysanthemum maximum (Shasta Daisy)
Clethra alnifolia (Summer Sweet)
Echinops (Globe Thistle)
Eryngium maritinum (Sea Holly)
Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)
Heuchera (Coralbells) – give these partial shade
Iris (reblooming ‘Immortal’ is choice)
Nipponanthemum nipponicum (Montauk Daisy)
Phlox subulata (Creeping Phlox)
Sedum spectabile (‘Stardust’ is an unusual, silvery-pink)
Silene maritima (white Catchfly)
Veronica maritima (Speedwell)
Perhaps other readers can offer suggestions for seashore plants, too.
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