Plants That Grow in Salty Sea Air

Written by eoghan mccloskey
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Selecting plants that are well-suited to your climate and geographic area is the most effective way to increase your chances of growing many different kinds of plants successfully. If you live on the coast of an ocean or sea, for instance, you erroneously might believe the harmful effects of saline seawater spray will keep plants from thriving. But with some careful consideration, you can find plants able to withstand salt.

Trees and Shrubs

Many trees and shrubs are tolerant of salt spray off of seawater, including small trees such as Japanese black pine, Chinese podocarpus, wax myrtle, sand live oak as well as larger trees such as palm, eastern redcedar, live oak, Deodar cedar and laurel oak. So tolerant of salt spray are palm trees, in fact, that they are more frequently found on coastlines than farther inland. Salt-tolerant shrubs include elaeagnus, rosemary, yucca, hedge bamboo and forsythia.


Selecting a grass for your lawn also should be made in light of salt tolerance. Pampas grass, lyme grass, maiden grass, muhly grass, bitter panicum, sand cordgrass, panic grass, fountaingrass, Bermudagras and kikuyugrass are all examples of salt-tolerant grass. Note, however, that some of these species easily can become invasive and their growth patterns should be carefully planned so that they do not invade other plants.


Most annual plants (those that complete their life cycle from germination to death in a single growing season) do not tolerate salt and wind well, so choices are more limited for these types of plants. Salt-tolerant annuals include baby sun rose (Aptenia cordifolia), blue daze (Evolvulus glomeratus), Joseph's coat (Alternanthera ficoidea), vinca/periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus), pentas (Pentas lanceolata), rose moss (Portulaca grandiflora) and coleus (Solenostemon hybrida).


Vastly more perennial plants can grow in salty air than annual plants. Lily of the Nile, armeria, artemisia, asters, baccharis, Calocephalus brownii, California poppy, Capeweed, cymbidium, dusty miller, blanket flower, gaillardia, daylily, lantana, pricklypear cactus, lavender cotton, seaside goldenrod and echium are all perennial plants that can flourish under excessively windy and salty conditions.

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