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.
Arbutus menziesii, A. unedo, A. 'Marina'
Calluna vulgaris, many cultivars
Ceanoththus, all sizes from ground covers to trees
Chrysanthemum carinatum, C. frutescens
Cistus (probably ok)
Cotoneaster, all sizes from ground covers to trees
Crataegus pinnatifida, others
Cytisus, most species anbd hybrids
Erica arborea 'Alpina'
Euonymus japonica, E. patens, E. fortunei and vars.
Fraxinus angustifolia, F. excelsior
Fuchsia magellanica and hybrids
Hebe 'Autumn Glory', other kinds (try this somber plant but it's one of my
Helianthemum species and hybrids
Ilex aquifolium, I. glabra, I. opaca
Laurus nobilis, Bay
Lonicera japonica, L. 'Halliana', L. nitida, L. tatarica, L.pileata
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
Potentilla fruticosa and cultivars
Quercus garryanna, Q. marilandica, Q. robur, Q. virginiana
Rosa nutkana, R. rugosa, R. pimpinellifolia, R. wichuraiana
Viburnum dentatum, V. opulus, V. tinus
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