1. We live on the coast right above the lighthouse. What can we plant that will survive the cool, salt-laden winds?


    First, one cultural practice that may help you would be to water lots and often, washing the salts out of the soil, especially if you have plants in pots.

    Another is to place heat-loving plants against a sheltered south or west wall since you live in such a heat-starved area.

    Also ask your neighbors and other people living along the coast just what that gorgeous plant is - most gardeners LOVE to show off their gardens and you'll leave with a new friend and usually a bunch of seedlings or cuttings.



    Some of the most extreme coastal weather is found along the coastline and on the moors in Scotland, Ireland and the rest of the British Isles. Yet the heather family thrives there under less than ideal conditions. The City of Fortuna, the Fortuna Garden Club and the local Heather Society have established one of the largest collections (several hundred varieties) of heathers on the north coast of California at the River Lodge Conference center in Fortuna. These plants bloom at different times and there is be color the year round.

    Heaths and heathers (a couple are in the list below) are famous for tolerating rugged coastal conditions. Consider a summer and winter day trip to check it out. This garden has all of the coastal weather conditions except for the salt spray.



    This list includes annuals, shrubs from ground covers on up, and trees. A few of these have showy flowers, although they are a rarity in coast-tolerant plants. All of the plants in this list tolerate cool coastal conditions and climate. If you try something in this list and it just sits there and sulks, rip it out and replace it with something else.



    Acer pseudoplatanus

    Arbutus menziesii, A. unedo, A. 'Marina'

    Arctostaphylos columbiana

    Aurinia saxatilis




    Baccharis pilularis




    Calluna vulgaris, many cultivars 

    Caragana arborescens

    Ceanoththus, all sizes from ground covers to trees

    Centaurea cyanus

    Cerastium tomentosum

    Chrysanthemum carinatum, C. frutescens

    Cistus (probably ok)

    Colutea arborescens,

    Cortaderia selloana 

    Cotoneaster, all sizes from ground covers to trees

    Crataegus pinnatifida, others

    Cytisus, most species anbd hybrids



    Elaeagnus angustifolia

    Erica arborea 'Alpina'

    Erigeron glaucus

    Escallonia, all

    Eschscholzia californica

    Euonymus japonica, E. patens, E. fortunei and vars.



    Felicia amelloides

    Fraxinus angustifolia, F. excelsior

    Fuchsia magellanica and hybrids



    Garrya elliptica

    Gaultheria shallon



    Hebe 'Autumn Glory', other kinds (try this somber plant but it's one of my favorite workhorses)

    Helianthemum species and hybrids

    Hippophae rhamnoides

    Hydrangea macrophylla



    Ilex aquifolium, I. glabra, I. opaca



    Juniperus, most



    Laurus nobilis, Bay

    Lavandula, Lavender

    Lonas annua

    Lonicera japonica, L. 'Halliana', L. nitida, L. tatarica, L.pileata



    Mahonia aquifolium

    Myrica californica

    Myrtus communis



    Olearia haastii, others



    Phormium tenax, many varieties (has dramatic leaf colors)

    Photinia fraseri, P. glabra, P. serrulata

    Picea abies and varieties, P. sitchensis

    Pinus contorta, P. radiata, thunbergii

    Pittosporum tobira

    Platanus acerifolia

    Prunus spinosa

    Populus alba

    Potentilla fruticosa and cultivars

    Pyracantha, all



    Quercus garryanna, Q. marilandica, Q. robur, Q. virginiana



    Rhamnus alaternus

    Rosmarinus officinalis

    Rosa nutkana, R. rugosa, R. pimpinellifolia, R. wichuraiana



    Salix, many

    Sambucus racemosa

    Santolina species

    Sorbus aucuparia

    Spartium junceum

    Spiraea douglasii

    Symphoricarpus, all



    Tamarix species



    Ulmus parvifolia

    Ulex europaeus



    Vaccinium ovatum

    Viburnum dentatum, V. opulus, V. tinus


    Back to Questions and Answers