Perennials for the Beach



Transforming your barren, coastal home landscape into a seaside oasis can be an impossible task to imagine undertaking.  The constant challenges of poor, sandy soil, shifting dunes, glaring sun, strong winds, and salt spray could be enough for many to throw in the towel.  Paying attention to the microclimates around your coastal nook can help to create the perfect perennial garden.  The plants in the following list are adapted to survive in well-draining, droughty soils, but it is always wise to improve the soil with healthy topsoil and compost, as well as using additional drip irrigation while the plants are getting established.  Mulching the garden with compost, seaweed, or other organic material will seal the soil against moisture loss, erosion and continue to improve your garden’s bloom.  These plants will benefit being in a position sheltered from the wind, such as a nearby fence, wall hedgerow, or the leeward side of a sand dune.  A combination of smart garden techniques and sturdy perennials that thrive in tough seaside conditions allows you to garden against all odds in the surf and spray of America’s coastal villages.


Achillea tomemtosa – Yarrow


Alcea – Hollyhock


Allium schnittlauch – Ornamental onion


Anthemis kelawayi – Golden Marquerite


Armeria maritime – Sea Thrift


Atemesia schmidtiana – Silvermound


Aster spp. – Asters


Bergenia cordifolia – Heart-leaf Bergenia


Centaurea – Bachelor Buttons


Chrysanthemum. Pacificum – Silver-edged Chrysanthemum


Dianthus species – Dianthus


Echinops ritro – Globe Thistle


Erigeron spp. – Fleabane Daisy


Eryngium spp. – Sea Holly


Euphorbia spp. – Cushion Spurge


Gaillardia spp. – Blanketflower


Gypsophilia spp. – Baby’s Breath


Hemerocallis – Daylilies


Heuchera sanq. – Coral bells


Iris germanica – Bearded Iris


Iris diberica – Siberian Iris


Kniphofia hybrids – Red Hot Poker


Limonium spp. – Statice


Linum spp. – Flax


Oenothera spp. – Evening Primrose


Oputunia spp. – Prickly Pear


Penstemon spp. – Bearded Tongue


Perovskia atriplicifolia – Russian Sage


Potentilla spp. – Cinquefoil


Rudbeckia spp. – Black-eyed Susan


Sedum spp. – Stonecrop


Sempervivium – Hen’s and Chicks


Stachys spp. – Lamb’s Ear


Veronica spp. – Veronica


Elymus glaucus – Blue Dune Grass


Cortaderia – Pampass Grass


Penniseteum spp. – Fountain Grass


Panicum virgatum – Switch Grass