Coastal Plants for Exposed Gardens

 It can be really tricky to find plants that will contend with very exposed sites. The combination of wind and salt can be disastrous, and any shelter that can be created will more than pay for itself in protecting the plants.

However, there are times when its not possible or practical to create a shelter belt, so here are some of the seaside plants that stand a chance and will give colour and most are generally drought-tolerant also.

Picture of Armeria maritimaArmeria maritima  - Sea Pink or Thrift. Commonly found on the cliffs, is an excellent rock garden plant with dainty pink flowers. In the wild the flowers are a paler pink, but brighter shades are available on cultivars.



Aurinia saxatilis   - Golden tuft - This is a small, round, evergreen perennial that can grow from 4 to 12in high, creating a mound of up to 16-20in across. The flowers are clear yellow, but there are varieties that produce flowers in white, cream, lemon or gold. 



Picture of Hottentot FigCarpobrotus edulis -The Hottentot Fig - Flowers in May and June, likes lots of space to ramble about in hot, open spaces. Looks particularly good cascading down walls and slopes. Survives very well close to the sea, but will not withstand sub-zero temperatures for any length of time. Can be invasive if left unchecked in certain areas.


Crambe cordifolia- Sea Kale - is related to the cabbage family, it shows many small white flowers and can grow up to nearly 7 feet.





Crocosmia luciferCrocosmia Lucifer - produces clumps of iris-like foliage - with hot red flowers from mid to late summer. Good structural plant that looks good against Canna Wyoming and Dahlia Grenadier. Prefers a well drained soil in full sun or partial shade with a well drained soil, and tolerates a windy situation.


 Crocosmia  'Montbretia'  is a very hardy plant that thrives inMontbretia / Crocosmia coastal areas. They are very easy to grow. The orange flowers are trumpet shaped and appear alternately along the stems. The leaves are long and narrow.





picture of erigeron glaucusErigeron glaucus - low growing perennial with daisy like purple flowers that bloom for a long period from summer through autumn - great nectar plant for butterlies. Deadhead as needed for a prolonged showing.



Erysimum 'Bowles' Mauve'Erysimum  (Wallflower) is a perennial, hardy plant that can withstand the conditions found in many coastal gardens. They can cope with poorer soil conditions and tend to like a sunny position. 



Eryngium planum - Sea Holly is a great plant for coastal Eryngium planumareas, as well as rock gardens. It flowers in mid-late summer in a profusion of small steely blue flowers and is happy in a well drained soil with full exposure to the sun. Its roots were once pulped, sugared and sold as sweets.



   Festuca 'glauca' is the bluest of all ornamental grasses. They are extremely hardy and tolerant of the coastal conditions.The blue foliage and striking blue flower-heads form dense rather upright tussocks, which look good grown for foliage interest amongst a wide variety of rock plants.



Hypericum olympicum - St.Johns Wort - is a small,deciduous shrub growing only to 10 inches tall and about 12 inches wide, preferring sharp drainage. It self seeds and expands by creeping lateral stems.




 File:Single lavendar flower02.jpg

 Lavender is a native of the Mediterranean and a lover of dry, sunny, rocky habitats, well suited for coastal areas; ‘Hidcote’ and ‘Munstead’, are two of the hardiest and best loved lavender varieties.


Picture of Osteospermum Tresco PurpleOsteospermum - Tresco Purple - has a mound forming habit that spreads well, with dark purple daisy style flowers. Does well in exposed, well-drained position. Deadhead for an extended display. Flowers in late summer through autumn and makes great ground cover.


Phlox subulata  - moss pink - is a creeping plant that grows to about 6 inches high and 20 inches across. It's a perennial evergreen that can have blue, rose, mauve, white or pink flowers. 




  Pulsatilla vulgaris - Pasque flower - its leaves and stems are long, soft silvery-grey and it grows up to about 18 inches tall. The bell shaped flowers can be in purple, red or white.




Rosmarinus officinalis   - Rosemary the latin name means "dew of the sea" and rosemary is most closely associated with the cooking of the Mediterranean area. However you don't need perfect sunshine, sea mist or even a never ending summer to successfully grow rosemary. In fact, more rosemary plants suffer from too much attention than from too little, making it an ideal plant for the coastal garden.




   Santolina or 'Cotton Lavender' are grown for their foliage and yellow or white flowers. The leaves are aromatic and usually silver. They do best in full sun and very well-drained soil. They are drought tolerant and in very cold areas some winter protection may be required. Hard pruning after flowering prevents excess woody growth.


picture of sedum spectabileSedum - spectabile - the succulent foliage hosts tightly packed head of green buds that open into small pink flowers from late summer through autumn. Very attractive to butterflies. Is a hardy plant that thrives in full sun an a well drained, light and sandy soil.


Stachys byzantinaFile:Stachys byzantina flowers.jpg - Lambs ear - a soft, fluffy foliage that flowers in mid summer, although the flowers are often hidden by the felt. It is not fully evergreen, but makes a good ground covering perennial.






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