Plants at the beach

How about seeing a pond or lake with full of beautiful flowers? Probably such a sight will leave you breathless. That’s the magic of aquatic flowers. They can instantly make you happy. Here the list of 7 most beautiful aquatic flowers in the world.


7 Water Poppy

credit of image :rudiger kratz on wikimedia

Water poppy is a floating aquatic plant that native to South America. This plant is known for its round shaped, dark-green leaves and beautiful lemon-yellow flowers with red-brown centers. Thus, water poppy can be a great addition to your water garden.

Water poppy easily grows on shallow ponds with calm waters. It needs full sunshine. On water surface, this plant spread across 18 inches and rise up to 6 inches in height. This plant produces beautiful lemon-yellow flowers in summer. The flowers last only for a day. But water poppies bloom repeatedly throughout the summer.

6 Broadleaf Arrowhead

credit of image :fritzflohrreynolds on wikimedia

It is an aquatic perennial plant that has distinctive, broad arrowhead-shaped leaves. It produce attractive white flowers, can be found three or more flowers arranged around a stem (whorled arrangement). The arrowhead plants grow well in streams, shallow waters and swamps. This plant is also known as duck-potato.

On the water surface, broadleaf arrowheads have a height of 2-4 feet. It grows in colonies and need partial shade. The beautiful white flowers will open between July and September. Both male and female flowers found on the same stem. Unlike female flowers, the male flowers have a group of attractive yellow stamens in the center.

See Also:

Top 9 Most Beautiful Night Blooming Flowers

Imagine that on a quiet night, you are sitting in your garden which is full of with beautiful, sweet… Nature

5 Pickerel Weed

credit of image :cephas on wikimedia

Pickerel weed is a deciduous, perennial, aquatic plant that native to Americas. It commonly found in streams, ponds and Marshes of Ontario, Nova Scotia, Southern Florida, Missouri and Oklahoma. Pickerel weeds have long, shiny heart-shaped leaves and it produce tiny, tubular blue flowers on spikes.

The pickerel weed plants typically rise 1-2 feet above the water. Their shiny, green, heart-shaped leaves grow up to a length of 10 inches. The showy, blue flowers open between June and October. On blooming, this plan not only adds a special beauty to your water garden but also attracts beautiful butterflies.

4 Water Hawthorn

It is an attractive aquatic plant that produce pleasant smelling, tiny white flowers. In addition to the attractive flowers, water hawthorns have long, narrow, floating leaves. Unquestionably, it is one of best plans to grow in your water garden. This beautiful plant is also used as an aquarium plant.

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Water hawthorn has a height up to 10 cm and can cover 2-3 feet across on the surface of the water. This aquatic plant bloom twice a year, from mid-spring to mid-summer and flowers again open in winter. On blooming, the attractive white flowers produce pleasant, vanilla like fragrance.

3 Water Hyacinth

credit of image : bamyers99 on wikimedia

The water hyacinth is a beautiful floating perennial plant that native to tropical South America. This plant grows well in ponds, streams, lakes and ditches. Water hyacinths are famous for their thick, glossy, rounded leaves and striking blue to violet flowers.

Water hyacinths typically rises up to 1 meters above water surface. Their leaves grows 4-8 inches across. The stalk of water hyacinth plant is long and spongy. It blooms summer through fall, produce spikes of attractive blue to violet flowers with 6 petals.

2 Lotus

Lotus is a popular and one of most beautiful bloomers in water gardens. It is a sacred flower for Buddhist. Lotuses grow in shallow ponds and lakes. Lotuses can’t live in cold climate since they need direct Sunlight. Lotuses generally come in pink or white colors.

Like water lilies, the lotuses are rooted in the mud of pond or lake it lives and flower and leaves float in the water. The leaves of a lotus have a length up to 20 inches and flower can reach 8 inches in diameter. June to mid-August is the blooming period of lotuses. The attractive flower opens in the morning and closes in the evening. The eye-pleasing lotuses also produce pleasant fruity fragrance.

The showy water lily is probably the most beautiful aquatic flower in the world. This amazing flower comes in different types and colors. There are 70 different species of water lilies in the world. Water lilies grow in ponds, ditches and other shallow water bodies across tropical and temperate regions across the world. Water lilies are famous for their broad, round shaped leaves and colorful flowers.

The water lilies are rooted in the soil of the body of water they grow. The long underwater stem of water lilies attaches with their floating flowers and large leaves. They come in the variety of colors including white, red, yellow pink, peach, blue, purple and orange.

The victoria amazonica or giant water lily that native to Amazon river basin is the largest of all species of water lilies in the world. Their perfect rounded leaves measure 4-6 feet in diameter and flowers contain 50-60 petals.

Water lilies bloom from spring to late fall. The showy, fragrant flowers of water lilies open only in a morning or late evening. This eye-pleasing aquatic plant also protect the pond or any other body of water they inhabit by providing shelter to many species of fishes and invertebrates.


It’s Not Easy Being Green

Green algae are more common on land and in freshwater environments. They get their color from chlorophyll. They aren’t as common in the ocean as brown and red algae seaweed. There are about 800 different of green marine seaweeds. Sealettuce or ulva is a common green algae seaweed that can be found in rocky and sandy pools.

A Star Is Born

Starfish aren’t fish. They are invertebrates. They have no bones. There are around 1,800 species of starfish, and they live in all of the world’s oceans. Starfish usually have five arms. Their arms are hollow and usually covered in spines on the top. On the underside, most starfish have little tube feet with suction cups on the ends that they use to move and to grab onto things. If a starfish loses an arm, another one will grow in its place. The starfish’s stomach is on its underside. Some starfish can grab a clam or other mollusk and pry its shell open. Some species push their stomachs out and surround their prey, digest it an then pull their stomachs back in!

Sea Urchins

Sea urchins are related to starfish and like starfish they are divided into five parts and covered with spines. On some species the spines are venomous. Sea urchins have little tube feet with suckers on the end that they can use to move around. Their stomachs are on their underside and they have a hole on top that they use to get rid of waste. Most of their diet is made up of algae. Sea urchins live on the ocean floor, usually on hard surfaces like rocks or coral. There are about 700 species of sea urchins.

Flowers of the Sea

Sea anemone are invertebrates like starfish and sea urchins. There are about 1,000 species. They can be found at depths of up to 30,000 feet. They are found in all the world’s oceans. Some of the most colorful ones are found in tropical waters.

Sea anemone come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. They can range in size from a less than an inch to five feet in diameter. They have a mouth in the center of their body. Their mouths are usually surrounded by petal-like tentacles. They use the tentacles to catch food. The tentacles may have venomous stingers on them that paralyze prey. They then pull the prey into their mouths with their tentacles. Most species attach themselves to rocks, the ocean floor and sometimes animals with their pedal disc. The pedal disc on the bottom of the sea anemone is like a suction cup! Most sea anemone are stationary, but some can creep along very, very slowly using their pedal disc. There are some species that bury all but their tentacles and mouths under the sand or silt and a few species float in the water.

Armed and Ready

Crabs are crustaceans. They have outer shells or exoskeletons that protect them from predators, ocean currents and waves. There about 4,500 species of crabs and they are found in fresh and salt water. Crabs have tails, but they are tucked under their bellies. Like fish, crabs have gills that they use for breathing. Most crabs move by crawling along the ocean floor, although there are some species that swim. They have large front pincers that they use to find and catch prey like clams, small fish, snails and other crabs. They may also use their pincers to smash open shells. Crabs usually wait for food to go by. They may sift through the sand or silt with their legs and antennae. They may also find food with their antenna.
Large, beautiful, vegetated dune in northern Morocco. Plants serve as a major part of the ecosystem here providing food for birds and small mammals.
Photo: Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines


  • Plants and the beach
    • Beach vines
    • Beach grass
  • Birds and the Beach
    • Seagulls
    • Piping plover
    • Pelicans
    • Penguins
    • Terns
  • Other beach animals
    • Are hermit crabs true crabs?
    • Sea turtles
    • Sea turtles and beaches
    • Loggerhead sea turtles
    • Seals
    • What exactly are seals?
  • Microfossils
    • Calcareous oozes
    • Siliceous oozes
  • Insects and worms

Dune vegetation on Indian Beach, Bogue Banks, NC.

Photo: Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines

Plants and the beach

Aside from the striking natural beauty that plants provide, they are crucial parts of beach ecosystems. Plants are among the first forms of life to inhabit beaches and dunes. Once plants have taken root, sands begin to stabilize, slowly at first, then faster as more plants take root. Plants serve as habitat for many animal species from providing basic shade to providing nest material or even allowing a home to be built inside them. They offer camouflage to animals and are a primary food source for some. Without plants, beaches would probably be devoid of animal life.

Beach vines

Railroad vine and sea oats at sunset on Sapelo Island, Georgia, USA.
Photo: NOAA

Railroad vine, or bay hops (Ipomoea pes-caprae), is an important vine that stabilizes beach dunes with runners that can reach lengths of over 30 meters. This specialized morning glory can survive in drought, extreme heat, and very salty areas without problems. Without this plant, dunes would keep shifting location on the beach making the areas inhospitable to animals. But once this plant anchors the sand and begins to grow, other species such as sea oats, birds, and crabs are much more likely to thrive. Birds can make their nests between the runners and be camouflaged from predators. Other plants that require more stable soils can also move into areas where railroad vine lives stabilizing the dune even more. Stable dunes serve not only as wildlife habitat, but protect buildings and roads that may have been built too close to the ocean. This particular beach vine lives in the United States, but similar species perform similar ecosystem functions all over the world.

Sea oats on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, USA
Photo: NOAA

Beach grass

Sea oats (Uniola paniculata) is an important plant species that stabilizes shifting sand dunes. Blowing sand is trapped by numerous stems of the plant. When sea oats are buried by shifting sand, the plants stops growing upward and instead grows horizontally just under the surface of the sand. This sometimes results in deeply buried underground stems that also help stabilize dunes. Because of this plant’s importance, it is protected in many areas; in Georgia and Florida (US), it is illegal to pick sea oats.

A beautiful flock of birds.
Photo: Dr. James P. McVey, NOAA Sea Grant Program

Birds and the beach

Beaches support an amazing variety of bird species from small sand pipers to large pelicans. Many birds spend large portions of their lives over the water, but they all must eventually come out of the air to find a mate and reproduce. The sand, rocks, pebbles and plants of the world’s beaches serve as breeding grounds for many species of bird. Preservation of beaches as nesting sites is crucial for the protection of bird species. When beaches are developed, polluted, or destroyed, habitat critical to the life cycle of all of these animals is also destroyed. Beach sand mining is a major mechanism for habitat destruction. Below is some information on just a few species of birds that call the beach home.


It is hard to take a trip to the beach without seeing seagull like the one pictured here from Montery Peninsula, California.
Photo: Wikipedia user Dschwen

Gulls are probably the animal people associate most with the beach, but many people know little about seagulls. These birds are extremely maneuverable able to hover in the slightest of winds and dive with amazing speed. There are over 50 species of seagulls ranging in size from about 30 cm to 75 cm with wingspans over 1.7 meters. Gulls are aggressive and will display such aggression when they are threatened. They scavenge for their food of crabs and fish and will steal food from their own species or others whenever possible. Gulls nest on the ground making habitat loss a major threat to their existence. Beach sand mining and development are among the worst threats to gull habitat. Although most gulls species are found in abundance, some species such as Olrog’s Gull and Saunders’ Gull are threatened with habitat loss as the single greatest threat. Other species are well adapted to life away from the coast with a few species prospering in garbage dumps. The abundance of these species camouflages the low numbers of other species perpetuating the myth that gulls will never run out of habitat. This is wrong. Beaches need to be protected to ensure the future of all gull species.

Plovers nest on the ground. Their speckled eggs are camouflaged making them hard to see, even for people walking on the beach.
Photo: Richard Kuzminski

Piping plover

The piping plover (Charadrius melodus) is native to the beaches of the North American Atlantic coast and the West Indies in the Gulf of Mexico. The plover is threatened in the United States and endangered in Canada. As a result, some efforts have been made to protect its habitat. This protection, however, would not be necessary if beaches were undeveloped or significantly less developed. In some areas, protection measures have been of limited benefit to the bird, while measures in other areas have been successful. Examples of protection measures range from protecting individual nests (located on the ground) to closing entire sections of beach.

The plover feeds on insects, worms, and crustaceans abundant in beach debris or wrack lines. It is a medium-sized bird with adult body lengths of around 17 cm and wingspans of up to 45 cm. It winters in the southern part of its range and returns to northern climes for breeding in the spring.

View a beautiful slideshow on the Piping plover.


Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Photo: Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines

Pelicans live on every continent except Antarctica even though there are only about six species. This means that the bird is very well adapted to different conditions. One adaptation that pelicans share is the large pouch or gullet used to capture prey, usually fish. Another adaptation is the birds ability to live in a variety of conditions. For example, the American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) lives inland much of the year and winters on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. These large birds with wingspans of over 3 meters must eat over 1.5 kg of food per day.

The Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) lives in Africa, Europe, and Asia. The bird frequents beaches in search of fish, crustaceans, and other small organisms on which to feed but lives most of its life on inland bodies of water.

Brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) are different from White Pelicans because Brown Pelicans live only on the beaches of North and South America making beach habitat crucial for the bird. Brown Pelicans were on the endangered species list in the United States for 40 years and only recently have been candidates for removal form the list. Brown Pelicans are much smaller than white ones but are still large birds. Wingspans are around 2 to 2.5 meters for brown pelicans.

Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papus) on King George Island.
Photo: NOAA/Vents, Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI)


There are about 20 species of penguins, but only four species, the Adelie, the Emperor, the Chinstrap and the Gentoo, live on Antarctica. There are no penguins at the North Pole. The remaining species of penguins live in the southern hemisphere in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and S. America with the exception of the Galapagos penguin, which lives near the equator. The Galapagos penguin thrives so far north because of the deep, cold-water Humboldt ocean current. All of these flightless birds spend their time in the cold ocean water and on the beach. Beaches are necessary for the penguins to make nests and lay their eggs. Without clean beaches, penguins all over the world would have difficulty surviving.

These curious, flightless birds are somewhat awkward on land, but in the water are extremely agile and adept swimmers. Larger species can dive to depths of over 500m and hold their breath for 15 minutes! Most penguins lay two eggs, but species in colder climates usually lay only one egg. The egg is small compared to the size of the mother. Penguins range in size from the 40 cm Little Blue penguin to the Emperor which can reach 1 m.


A Caspian tern (Hydroprogne caspia) photographed near Kemah, TX.
Photo: Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines

The birds that resemble seagulls but have orange beak are called terns and are related to sea gulls. Many species of terns have grey or black coloration on their heads too. There are over 40 species of terns and they live on every continent of the world. Terns generally eat small fish (which they spot while hovering over the water), bugs, or other small invertebrates. They range in size from the 22 cm long Least Tern (Sternula antillarum) to the 48 cm long Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia).

Caspian terns (Hydroprogne caspia) are the largest terns in the world with wingspans of up to 140 cm and the most widely distributed tern; they are found on every continent except Antarctica. Like other terns, they hover over the water in search of fish. When they see one, they quickly dive by tucking in their wings. The beach is important to terns for nest sites. Without the beach, the terns wouldn’t be able to find suitable sand, gravel, and vegetation to lay their eggs.

The Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea) goes to the ends of the earth every year. It spends the summer of the southern hemisphere on Antarctica and then flies back to the Arctic Circle to breed during the northern hemisphere summer. This flight of over 18,000 km each year makes it the largest migration of any animal on earth! The Arctic Tern needs beaches for nesting sites. The birds dig shallow pits called scrapes in the sand or gravel laying 1-3 eggs. When they hatch, the young birds must learn to fly quickly for their long journey.

Other beach animals

Crab on the beach in Sumba, Indonesia
Photo: The Santa Aguila Charitable Trust


There are over 6,500 known crab species making them an extremely diverse group of animals. Crabs are covered in a hard exoskeleton which offers them protection from predators. As a group, they are scavengers with some species eating just about anything: algae, mollusks, worms, crustaceans, fungi, and other organic material. Crabs are an economically and culturally important species in many countries such as Japan and China. Crab habitat varies; some species live exclusively in the ocean in a range of water depths with a preference for shallow waters while some species live entirely on land. Some land species have structures that function as primitive lungs. Habitat loss is a major threat to many crab species as well as invasive and non-native species. Beach development, nourishment, and dredging produce fine sediment which is harmful to crabs as well.

Are hermit crabs true crabs?

Hermit crabs are not very closely related to true crabs and live in shallow salt water in most areas of the world. This includes most beaches of the world meaning that beach destruction also threatens these tiny creatures too. There are about 500 species of hermit crabs. Hermit crabs can not make their own shells and crawl into shells from other sea creatures, most often sea snails. In order for the hermit crab to increase in size, a vacant shell must be available. If no shell is available, the hermit crab will not grow very quickly.

Crabs that we eat have an exoskeleton that they make themselves and are a much more diverse group than hermit crabs. There are over 6,500 species of true crabs and range in size from the Pea crab to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span of over 4 m!

Sea turtles

Sea turtles in Hawaii.
Photo: Mark Howdeshell/Jo Handinero

Sea turtles are found in every ocean of the world except the Arctic Ocean even though there are only 7 species. All 7 species are threatened and 5 of them are endangered or critically endangered. These amazing swimmers are very similar to their ancestors and haven’t changed much in over 10 million years. Among their adaptations are their highly evolved front flippers, ability to hold their breath for long periods of time, and hard shell. They are the only reptiles with a hard shell and some can live up to 80 years and weigh over 500 kg!

There are numerous human threats to sea turtles. The shrimp industry represents the largest threat because turtles that end up caught in the long fishing nets usually die (see photo). Another threat is illegal poaching and harvesting of eggs and turtles for food. Turtle skins and shells are also used in arts and crafts. In some cultures, turtle eggs are believed to be an aphrodisiac. When traveling, do not support these industries and do not purchase souvenirs or goods made from these animals. Beach sand mining also represents a major threat to sea turtles. Beach sand mining in St. Lucia was extensive for the concrete industry until a moratorium was issued in 1984. A decade later in 1993, the beaches still had not recovered as turtles had to abandon nesting attempts when they hit the water table.

Sea turtles and beaches

Sea turtles use beaches as nesting sites for incubation of their eggs. Without nesting sites, it would be impossible for sea turtles to complete their life cycle. They spend much of their time eating sea grass and when the females are able to reproduce, they return to the beach to lay their eggs. In most cases, the females return to the beach where they were born using the earth’s magnetic field to navigate. Once on the beach, they lay large clutches of eggs in shallow pits of sand where the young turtles mature. It takes around two months for the young turtles to mature. When the turtles finally hatch, they must crawl to the ocean quickly to avoid predation by birds, other animals, and human threats.

Loggerhead sea turtles

Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) live in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans and reach up to 350 kg. Loggerheads have reddish brown shells and lighter skin. They are an endangered species meaning that the turtles are at risk of becoming extinct. Fishing nets, dredging sand off the ocean floor, and coastal development all threaten turtles and their habitat. If you spot a sea turtle in North America, it is probably a loggerhead because they are the most common turtle there.

Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) live in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans and Like other sea turtles, the beach is necessary for loggerheads to survive. Loggerheads make their nests on the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean in the United States and in the Mediterranean Sea, usually laying between 75 and 150 eggs. If they survive the first few years of their lives, some may live to be over 75 years old!

Seal on the beach looking playful.
Photo: NOAA


These playful swimmers live all over the world and are intimate with our world’s beaches. They are extremely well suited for life in the water with adaptations such as powerful tail muscles, warm blubber, and the ability to conserve oxygen on long dives. They feed in the water, but need beaches to breed, raise young, and reproduce. One the beach, they are also less exposed to predators like sharks.

What exactly are seals?

Seals are part of a group of animals called pinnipeds meaning “winged feet,” which refers to their flippers. There are over 33 species of pinnipeds with three main divisions: true seals, seals with ears, and walruses. The true seals are more adapted to live in the water and can’t “walk” on their hind flippers like the eared seals can. Pinnipeds are excellent swimmers and can hold their breath for almost 2 hours! They can do this by slowing their heart rate when they dive and changing the chemistry.

The beach is important to all pinnipeds for breeding and raising their young. Seals leave their young alone on the beach during the day while feeding. The mothers return at night to nurse their young. People often mistake baby seals as “orphans” on the beach that have been left by their parents, but this is not the case. Baby seals are sometimes left for days at a time while the mother is feeding. The best thing to do is to call local wildlife officials and remember that handling baby seals is illegal.

The white cliffs of Dover are an example of a rock formation made up of tiny fossils of cocoliths, single-celled organisms living in the oceans of the world.


Microfossils are fossil that usually are smaller than four millimeters. From the White cliffs at Dover to the chalk caves of the Champagne region of France, these tiny fossils are found all over the world both on the coast and inland. Huge populations of tiny organisms with hard shells made of silica or calcium live in the world’s oceans.

When these organisms die, their shells can become fossils and remain for very long periods of time. Although these organisms are very small, the fossilized remains of them can accumulate in huge quantities for two reasons:

  1. there are so many of them, and
  2. these groups of organisms have accumulated for millions of years.

When ocean temperatures are favorable for their life-cycles, deposits of their bodies on the ocean floor can reach amazing depths – hundreds of meters! These fossilized remains are referred to as oozes and there are two main types of oozes: calcareous (calcium-based) oozes and siliceous (silica-based) oozes.

Forams have shells made up of mostly calcium carbonate.
Photo: USGS

Calcareous oozes

Calcareous oozes, or calcium-based oozes, are made up of the shells of foraminifera (forams) and coccolithophores.

Forams are single-celled organisms that live only for about one month. These protists are very small, but they are very large in number: tens of thousands of species of forams live in the waters of the oceans. When forams die, their shells settle on the ocean floor and accumulate. Forams are very useful for dating rock layers since scientists have good data about which species of forams lived during particular time periods.

Coccolithophores are single celled organisms with shells made up mostly of calcium carbonate plates. When cocoliths die, their shells accumulate on the ocean floor. During the Cretaceous period some 145 million years ago, the oceans were warmer and cocoliths accumulated for very, very long periods of time. You probably are quite familiar with cocolithic rock, but you might not know it; chalk is an example.

Siliceous oozes

This diatom is dangerous to fish and aquatic life because of the long spikes that can get caught in their gills.
Photo: NOAA

Siliceous oozes are made up of the shells of diatoms and radiolarians.

Diatoms are a type of algae, most of which have one cell. There are a few hundred species alive today, but there are over 100,000 fossil species! These tiny algae use sunlight to make energy and account for nearly half of all the energy producing activities in the world’s oceans (primary productivity – mostly through photosynthesis). Like the other oozes, when diatoms die, their small silica shells sink to the bottom of the ocean and slowly accumulate.

Radiolarians are a group of amoeba with a hard shell made of mostly silica. Like the other oozes listed above, the shells of these organisms accumulate on the ocean floor. You might know the word diatom if you have ever used soil with diatoms mixed in called diatomaceous earth. Other uses include pool filters, to clean up spills, and as an abrasive. It’s a good things that we use diatoms for so many things – their silica shells never biodegrade!

Insects and Worms

In addition to larger plants and animals, beaches are also full of much smaller forms of life. Insects are present at virtually all beaches and provide important ecosystem functions such as breaking down organic matter, nutrient cycling, and serving as food sources for larger organisms. Many people only consider insects when their presence is in some way objectionable to their visit to the beach, such as mosquitoes, but these tiny creatures have some amazing adaptations that suit them to life on the beach. To find some insects on your beach, gently roll over some of the organic matter from the wrack line and look closely. Little is known about many of these species; who knows what you might find?

Northeastern beach tiger beetle (Cicindela dorsalis dorsalis)
Photo copyright: Steve Collins. Used with permission.

Northeastern beach tiger beetle

The Northeastern beach tiger beetle (Cicindela dorsalis dorsalis) is a beetle that, true to its name, is found on beaches in the northeastern United States. Historically, it was found in every coastal state from Massachusetts to Virginia. Today, it is extirpated (or locally extinct) from Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey, with a small population remaining in Massachusetts and a larger population in the Chesapeake Bay. It is listed as endangered in Massachusetts, and threatened federally.
The ideal habitats for northeastern beach tiger beetles are long, wide, undisturbed, dynamic beaches. In the summer months, larvae live in the upper intertidal zone, and dig burrows up to 14 inches deep. Adults live between the dunes and the high-tide line. From about November to March of each year, larval northeastern beach tiger beetles overwinter up high on the beach, avoiding most waves and storm activity. After their hibernation, they will emerge and move back down to the intertidal zone.
Northeastern beach tiger beetles are handsome, sand-colored insects. Specifically, they are a whitish-tan color with dark markings and a green-bronze head. They are between ½ and ¾ inch long, with long slender legs and large pinching jaws. To catch food, larvae wait near the top of the burrow for small invertebrate prey to get close. Then, as “tiger-like” skilled predators, they grasp their prey (often lice, fleas, and flies) in a quick and aggressive manner, hence the name “tiger beetle.” Once they emerge as adults, they can fly for up to a mile to find a more hospitable habitat or to scavenge for food such as dead fish and crabs for feeding.
Presence of the Northeastern beach tiger beetle is an indicator of a healthy beach.

California Beach Hopper (Orchestoidea californiana)
Photo copyright: Peter Bryant, University of California, Irvine. Used with permission.

Beach hoppers

Beach hoppers, or sand fleas (Orchestoidea spp.), are common to the west coast of North America and are one of the most abundant beach insects. Relatives of the beach hopper can be found around the world. They spend most of the day buried head-first in the sand trying not to get carried away by the tides and most of the night feeding on kelp, other organic debris, and microorganisms living in the sand. If high tide does come at night when they are feeding, they take a break for several hours and burrow into the sand so they don’t get swept out to sea. Move a pile of kelp on the beach, and you are likely to send hundreds of these tiny creatures hopping. Beach hoppers need sandy beaches for habitat, but are one of the few insects from the Amphipod order that require sandy beaches: nearly all the other Amphipods live in the ocean.

Kelp fly (Fucellia rufitibia)
Photo copyright: Peter Bryant, University of California, Irvine. Used with permission.

Kelp flies

Several species of kelp fly live on the beaches on the west coast of North America and many more live around the world. These insects are responsible for cycling nutrients through the beach ecosystem and serve as a source of food for a variety of other animals. Kelp and seaweed wash up on most beaches and this decomposing organic matter serves as an ideal habitat for kelp flies.

Rove beetles

Intertidal Rove Beetle (Cafius sp.)
Photo copyright: Peter Bryant, University of California, Irvine. Used with permission.

Beetles are everywhere, including at the beach. The Beetle family (Coleoptera) is the largest family of animals on earth; over 350,000 species have been described with an estimated millions more undescribed. The rove beetles are a large portion of the beetle family with members living in nearly every conceivable habitat except the arctic regions. Rove beetles that live in beach sand have the ability to survive submerged for periods of time enabling some species to survive a high tide and then come out to feed when the tide recedes. Rove beetles feed on kelp fly larvae and pupae and other amphipods.


Beach sand seems like an unlikely place to find worms. The soil has little organic matter compared to soils away from the coast, the salt content can be very high, and moisture levels change dramatically as the tide changes. Despite all of these conditions some worms have adapted through time to thrive here.

Bloodworms gain enough nutrients for a successful life from eating bacteria and algae on grains of sand.
Photo copyright: Peter Bryant, University of California, Irvine. Used with permission.

Blood worms

Blood worms from the genus Euzonus live all over the world, often in huge numbers. The fossil record shows a wide variety of species throughout history and a new species was observed in Japan in 2003. These specialized worms usually live in the top 20 cm of sand where oxygen supplies are plentiful in the intertidal zone. These amazing worms eat sand to gain nutrients from bacteria and algae living on the grains of sand. Imagine being able to survive from eating sand! They get their red color from red blood cells, the same kind that humans have, which enable them to live in low oxygen environments.

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Spectacular collection of 25 salt tolerant coastal plants and flowers. If you have a beach house and are planning a garden, this is a must-read article. Loads of photos and detail.


There’s nothing quite like having a sea view, or breathing the sea air, or having the convenience of being able to often enjoy swimming in the sea. As much as they are powerful and to be respected, the seas can also be very relaxing, as the more peaceful the water is, the greater the tranquility they can instill in us.

Just think of how a walk along the seafront of a coastal town can, in bracing conditions, make slipping into bed afterwards the most luxurious and deserved experience imaginable. The sea air brings about a certain weariness that is very welcome indeed, with that feeling being part of the reason we seek out a coastal destination for a holiday. The overwhelming but richly earned sleepiness resulting from a day spent by the seas is a feeling that is incomparable to any other, and which cannot be mimicked in inland conditions.

The breeze which the oceans whip up are a tonic for the mind, body and soul, but it does come with some downsides for properties exposed to it which those that are landlocked don’t have to face. Given the salt content, the sea air is naturally corrosive, which spells trouble for the facade of a building. In addition, the same quality is not favoured by many plants, as these struggle in the atmospheric conditions that the sea air brings. As much as the oceans are essential for sustaining life, they are still capable of the opposite effect.

Which presents something of a dilemma for those of a green-fingered persuasion who find themselves and their gardens exposed to the harsh and salty sea air, as plant choices must reflect those which are hardy enough to flourish in challenging conditions. This is a routine concern for those fortunate to live in a coastal English town such as Brighton, where sea-facing roof terraces are often designed with planting in mind. Living like this is no barrier to enjoying a garden that comes into its own in the sea air, as there are many options which thrive in coastal conditions.

Here are 25 beach flowers and plants that are salt tolerant.

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1. Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis)

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For those who are interested in both gardening and cooking, this one will come as good news. Unlike the soft herbs, such as parsley or chives, the woody and resilient coastal rosemary is known as a hard herb, as it’s not at its best freshly chopped into food at the end of its cooking: instead it comes alive when simmered long and slow in dishes from start to finish, and removed prior to eating, though it’s not essential to do so, as when softened the leaves are easily digested.

Like oregano and basil, rosemary is a Mediterranean herb, so given the landscape and climate of that area, it’s no surprise that rosemary is known to be a robust and hardy herb not just in flavour, but also due to its resilience to the sea air. This is no impediment to its growth, so you can experience the pleasure of being able to go outside and cut your own fresh herbs even when living by the coast, something which is a true pleasure in life.

  • Sun requirement – favours sunny conditions
  • Water requirement – moderate need, but requires excellent drainage
  • Hardiness zone – 9

2. Sea Kale (crambemaritima)

Another one for those who like to combine sea air, gardening and eating, this plant typically grows wild along the coast of Europe, from the Black Sea to the North Atlantic, meaning it too is something of a tough cookie. Like the regular kale, sea kale is also perfectly edible, and is sometimes known as sea cabbage, as it comes from the Brassicaceae family. You’ll find it dies in winter, before returning once springs arrives again.

Sea kale gets along very well with the sun, and enjoys being planted in deep and fertile soil. Despite being a brassica, sea kale doesn’t taste like cabbage, with its stems instead resembling a cross between asparagus and celery. We should be grateful we can still try it, for this vegetable all but died out due to the Victorians being particularly keen on them. Happily though they’re now back on the menu, and are an ideal for not just coastal growing, but as a source of nutrients too.

  • Sun requirement – prefers full sun
  • Water requirement – prefers moist soils
  • Hardiness zones – 4-8

3. Ornamental Grasses (depends on particular species)

It’s hard to ever imagine tiring of what are a common sight in coastal gardens and public spaces, as they’re so strikingly beautiful, especially when a breeze catches them and they sway gently along with its current. Thelong and sleek blades makes ornamental grasses a very tactile option, as their grace encourages them to be touched, so long as you can take your eyes off their gentle and calming movement.

They’re particularly good if you’re something of a novice gardener, as ornamental grass is very easy to grow, due to them being able to tolerate a wide range of conditions and not needing much feeding. It’ll take a while to decide which plant is for you, as there are a bewildering number of ornamental grasses to choose from. But that’s all part of the fun, as it increases the chance of there being one which fits with your garden perfectly.

  • Sun requirement – there are grasses which prefer both sun and shade
  • Water requirement – varies depending on which grass is being cultivated
  • Hardiness zone – varies depending on particular grass

4. English Ivy (hedera helix)

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Now this choice really divides opinion, as its invasive nature means once it takes hold, it’s likely to grow wild and free. It doesn’t much care where this happens either as, being a climber, it will cover the most pristine of country houses as much as it will conceal a dilapidated garage and, being an evergreen perennial, you’ll have your work cut out discouraging its growth.

All of which is common knowledge, and it shouldn’t be enough to put you off opting to grow it, as there’s a certain sophisticated quality to a covering of ivy that no other plant can get near to replicating. If you want to avoid them taking over entirely, as is their natural inclination, then planting English ivy in hanging baskets is a good compromise, as it’ll look equally as dramatic as it cascades over the basket and towards the ground.

  • Sun requirement – prefers shady areas
  • Water requirement – keep moist when growing, but they tolerate dry conditions once established, which takes about 3 years
  • Hardiness zones – 4-8

5. Geraniums (depends on particular species)

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How delicate these pretty little flowers are belies how tough they are, as they will obtain very nicely in coastal conditions, and give a much needed colour contrast to the more typical palette of the more sturdy plants you find by the coast. Also of appeal is their versatility, as these can also be grown indoors or in hanging baskets.

Geraniums are also easy to care for, should you be a novice gardener. Simply water them very well once planted, then do so again at least once a week thereafter, assuming you’ve planted them outdoors. They are very partial to sunlight, which keeps them thirsty, so bear this in mind when deciding where to plant them. An outdoor space that receives guaranteed sunlight for several hours a day will bring out the best in the geranium. You can even dig them up and bring them inside if the conditions change too much.

  • Sun requirement – they thrive in sunny conditions, preferring 4-6 hours of daily sun
  • Water requirement – leave to totally dry between watering, before doing so thoroughly
  • Hardiness zones – 10 and 11

6. Sea Buckthorn (hippophaerhamnoides)

The reputation of this plant has been growing steadily over recent years, which in large part is due to the rise in popularity of foraging for wild ingredients to cook with. This style of professional cookery originates from the Nordic regions, where access to wild coastal ingredients is not only readily available, but also incredibly diverse and as natural and organic as it gets.

Not being interested in foraging doesn’t mean you have to stick with the same old ingredients all the time, as sea buckthorn, which grows in abundance by the sea, is also suitable for home growing. It is very tolerant of salt in both the air and soil, but it does need plenty of sun in order to thrive, as constant shade will prevent it from obtaining. If the climate suits and you like sourness in both food and drink, then sea buckthorn will prove a big hit, as its sharp flavour makes a lemon taste trivial by comparison. Full of vitamins and minerals, it also has a host of medicinal uses.

  • Sun requirement – requires full sunlight
  • Water requirement – maintain even moisture
  • Hardiness zones – 3-8

7. Thyme (thymus vulgaris)

Quite likely the most versatile of all herbs, the hardy and robust thyme is more than comfortable in exposed coastal conditions, and will thrive even with the barest of care and attention, as it tolerates drought well. Like other woody herbs, it will give off a fragrance that is difficult to resist, making it ideal to plant quite low down, so that when you brush alongside it as you walk by, its aroma will surround you.

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Unlike some other herbs, thyme lends itself very well to being dried, so don’t think it can only be used fresh at its peak condition. It also freezes very well, and can be enjoyed just for its scent if you’re not a fan of its flavour, or just appreciated for its charming ornamental properties. Like many plants, thyme also has medicinal qualities, with the essential oils found in its leaves used as a natural cough remedy. Thyme tea – for which you need just thyme and water – is a useful treatment for common ailments such as a cough or sore throat.

  • Sun requirement – likes hot and sunny conditions
  • Water requirement – tolerates drought well, and prefers well drained soil
  • Hardiness zones – 4-9

8. Bee Balm (monarda didyma)

The red bee balm plant, an herbaceous perennial, is part of the mint family, and its aromatic leaves can be used just like regular mint. It is also useful in treating skin conditions, or made into a balm to treat bee stings. As the name suggests, bees cannot resist the bee balm plant.

  • Sun requirement – partial shade/full sun is their preference
  • Water requirement – keep the soil moist, but not wet
  • Hardiness zones – 2-10

9. Flowering Jasmine (trachelospermumjasminoides)

A woody evergreen, this plant has a very strong fragrance that bees also find irresistible. However, it is so strong that some people find it overwhelming, particularly those who are allergic to perfume. It is particularly versatile, as it can be used as a climbing vine or as groundcover.

  • Sun requirement – part shade/full sun, with the latter offering the best flowering potential
  • Water requirement – tolerates drought well
  • Hardiness zones – 9 or 10

10. Blackthorn (prunus spinosa)

You might know the fruits of this flowering plant by the name sloe, an essential ingredient in sloe gin. It has a very tart flavour indeed, so requires plenty of sugar if used in cooking. The branches also make excellent fire wood, as it burns slowly and gives off little smoke.

  • Sun requirement – prefers full sun
  • Water requirement – water regularly when first planted
  • Hardiness zone – 4

11. California Poppy (eschscholziacalifornica)

This drought tolerant, flowering plant became the official state flower of California in 1903, with April 6 known as California Poppy Day, while Poppy Week is celebrated May 13-18. Its petals close at night, before opening the next morning, while their brilliantly coloured orange flowers are hard to beat.

  • Sun requirement – prefers full sun
  • Water requirement – water lightly until they become established, but avoid moisture once they do
  • Hardiness zones – 5-10

12. Beach Aster (erigonglaucus)

With a name like this, it’s hardly surprising that beach aster suits coastal conditions well. It is also known as Sea Breeze, should any doubt as to its natural habitat remain. It is especially hardy, given it can tolerate extremely low temperatures, though it prefers the sun and sea air.

  • Sun requirement – prefers full sun
  • Water requirement – soak before planting, and water well during first year of planting
  • Hardiness zones – 5-8

13. Apple Blossom (escallonia)

Just like beach aster, apple blossom is just as able to tolerate extreme shifts in conditions, though it may struggle in very exposed locations. Its flowers are an attractive delicate pink colour, with neat foliage. It will give off a very pleasant fragrance, especially right after a period of rain.

  • Sun requirement – likes full sun, and shelter from strong winds
  • Water requirement – water deeply upon planting, but can go weeks without once it has established
  • Hardiness zones – 7-9

14. Lavender (lavandula)

Lavender has long been cherished for the calming properties of its fragrance, with its oil found in a range of therapeutic preparations. It is increasingly finding its way into sweet foodstuffs, such as ice cream. While its strong flavour is best enjoyed in moderation, an abundance of lavender looks more beautiful the more that are grown together.

  • Sun requirement – it does best in a sunny sheltered spot
  • Water requirement – soak thoroughly prior to planting, and water well during first year
  • Hardiness zones – 5-9

15. Round Leaved Pigface (disphyma)

Now this might not be the politest sounding plant, so it’s fortunate that we judge them on their scent or appearance, rather than their name. Unlike the very blunt and unattractive name, this is actually a very delicate plant with a striking crimson-purple flower. It can be used for groundcover or in hanging baskets.

  • Sun requirement – thrives in hot overhead sun
  • Water requirement – tolerates extended dry periods well, but keep moist otherwise
  • Hardiness zone – 6

16. Hummingbird Fuchsia (fuchsia magellanica)

This deciduous shrub will grow an abundance of flowers over a long period of time, which are followed by a reddish coloured fruit. The flowers are, unsurprisingly, very attractive to hummingbirds, who seek out the concentrated nectar found in them, as it contains high levels of sucrose.

  • Sun requirement – adapted to shadier conditions
  • Water requirement – could be daily, but depends on the amount of heat and light it’s exposed to
  • Hardiness zone – 6a-9b

17. Darwin’s Barberry (berberis darwinii)

This evergreen thorny shrub takes its name from the naturalist who discovered it in South America for the first time in Western science in 1835, although prehistoric natives had eaten its berries for millennia. It is an invasive species though, with New Zealand considering it a threat to indigenous ecosystems.

  • Sun requirement – full sun or partial shade
  • Water requirement – avoid waterlogging
  • Hardiness zones – 7 and 8

18. Sea Thrift (armeriamaritima)

In 2002, the conservation charity Plantlife chose sea thrift to be the country flower of the Isles of Scilly, an archipelago off the coast of Cornwall. Although its natural habitat are coastal cliffs and craggy islands, the salty atmospheres of inland coastal areas are also ideal for this pink wildflower.

  • Sun requirement – full sun in northern climates and partly sunny in the south
  • Water requirement – requires little once established
  • Hardiness zone – 4-8

19. Virginia Creeper (parthenocissusquinquifolia)

Like English ivy, this is an ornamental plant that is prone to aggressive growth. Given its ability to propagate due to its extensive root system, it can be difficult to eradicate once fully obtained. It is not related to true ivy though, being instead a species of flowering plant that belongs to the grape family.

  • Sun requirement – grows in full shade or full sun
  • Water requirement – minimal required, but keep in well-drained soil
  • Hardiness zones – 3b-10

20. Horned Poppy (glaucium flavum)

This ornamental and short-lived perennial will flower from June to August, though its root is poisonous. It dislikes shady conditions, but can tolerate temperatures as low as -10°c. The horned poppy is also resentful of root disturbance, so once you have decided where best to plant one, it is best left alone.

  • Sun requirement – full sunlight
  • Water requirement – minimal care needed
  • Hardiness zones – 3-10

21. Yarrow (achillea millefolium)

A native of Eurasia, yarrow is found widely from the UK to China, as well as in North America. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, it is toxic to dogs, cats and horses, as it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, depression, anorexia and hypersalivation in each.

  • Sun requirement – full sun
  • Water requirement – yarrow does not tolerate wet soil
  • Hardiness zones – 3-9

22. Hawthorn (crataegus)

The Crataegus species consists of shrubs or small trees, which provide shelter for many birds and mammals. The fruits – or haws – are edible to humans, and can be made into jelly or homemade wine. When still young, the tender leaves are also edible, making them an ideal salad ingredient.

  • Sun requirement – full sun
  • Water requirement – water during dry spells in first year: drought resistant thereafter
  • Hardiness zones – 4-11

23. Confederate Jasmine (trachelospermumjasminoides)

This evergreen woody liana is native to eastern and south-eastern Asia, but is also commonly grown in California and the south-eastern United States, or the former Confederate States of America from which the name derives. An ornamental plant, it can be used either as a climbing vine, or for groundcover.

  • Sun requirement – anything from full shade to full sun
  • Water requirement – moderate
  • Hardiness zones – 8-10

24. Periwinkle (vinca)

You’ll have to be careful with periwinkle, as it is invasive to some areas of the world, such as parts of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, particularly the coastal areas of California. They are a low plant which spreads quickly, so are ideal for groundcover purposes.

  • Sun requirement – prefers partially shaded, but also thrives in a range of sunlight conditions
  • Water requirement – drought resistant
  • Hardiness zones – 4-8

25. Butterfly Bush (buddleja)

There are over 140 species of butterfly bush to choose from, so there really will be something for everyone, as the colours of the flowers are also diverse. They are very rich in nectar, which means the flowers often smell strongly of honey. Unsurprisingly, the butterfly can’t get enough of this plant.

  • Sun requirement – full sun
  • Water requirement – needs thorough watering
  • Hardiness zones – 5-8

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Best Seaside Garden Plants: Choosing Plants For A Seaside Garden

If you’re lucky enough to live on or near the beach, you’ll want great seaside plants and flowers to show off in your great location. Choosing seaside plants and flowers is not difficult, once you learn what to look for when picking out plants for a seaside garden.

How to Choose a Seaside Plant

Many seaside landscape areas are in a full sun location, and shrubs and trees for coastal usage have to be tolerant of sea spray. High winds are common at the beach and soil is sandy, meaning water retention can be a problem with plants for a seaside garden.

There are many plants for a seaside garden that tolerate these elements. Plants are categorized as having low, medium and high salt and sea spray tolerance. Learn how to choose a seaside plant and learn which plants for a seaside garden offer the best performance. The best seaside garden plants tolerate hot coastal sun, extreme winds and sandy soil. Following are some of the most commonly used seaside plants and flowers:

Trees and Shrubs for Coast

Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) and wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera) shrubs are widely used on the ocean-facing side of beach gardens, having a high salt tolerance. Both tolerate full sun to light shade, and both are long-lived specimens that get tall enough, 10 to 20 feet, to form a barrier or privacy hedge.

Larger trees with a high salt tolerance include the Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) and the Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora). Combine these with highly salt tolerant grasses, like maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis) or Muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaries), which grow well in the well-draining, sandy soil found in beach areas.

These are some, but by no means all, of the best seaside garden plants for the garden with no barrier to the ocean.

Moderate and Low Tolerant Seaside Plants

Beach gardens that have a barrier, such as a home, fence or windbreak, between them and the ocean can use moderate or low tolerance salt spray plants. Seaside plants and flowers with moderate salt tolerance are:

  • dianthus (Dianthus gratianopolitanus)
  • crinum lilies (Crinum species and hybrids)
  • Turkscap lilies (Malvaviscus drummondii)

Other flowering plants with medium salt tolerance include:

  • Mexican heather (Cuphea hyssopifolia)
  • seashore mallow (Kosteletzkya virginica)
  • purple heart (Setcreasia pallida)

When you are shopping for seaside plants and flowers, have a garden plan and check your plant’s salt tolerance before purchase. Even plants with a low salt tolerance can be plants for a seaside garden by following the steps below:

  • Mulch after planting.
  • Work in compost to improve soil and help with water retention.
  • Man-made fences offer some protection from the salty spray.
  • Use overhead irrigation often to remove salt from foliage.

Plants for UK Seaside Gardens and Coastal Areas

Ornamental Grasses & Cordylines give vertical structure to this seaside garden

It can be a challenge planting for seaside gardens and coastal areas. Plants need to be hardy enough to withstand the salty air and be able to stand up to a good old battering from the wind. To help you in planning your coastal garden, we list the plants that are known to work very well in these sometimes harsh coastal conditions.

If you are in need of tall shelter and have the space, try cedars such as Cedrus Atlantica Glauca, an evergreen conifer with beautiful steel blue foliage.

For hedging, Griselinia Littoralis (commonly known as New Zealand Privet) does very well by the coast. Griselinia is an evergreen hedging plant with attractive mid-green leaves. Its dense growing habit and easy trim-ability make an excellent windbreak that’s not difficult to maintain. A Griselinia hedge will easily grow to over 10 feet tall.

A Griselinia hedge will easily grow to well over 10 feet tall.

To add summer colour, Hydrangeas, the large leave Hydrangea Macrophylla varieties in particular –do well in coastal areas and are good at withstanding salt burn. Do give them plenty of water until they get established. They will reward you with glorious colour from early summer to mid-autumn. Hydrangea Macrophylla has the added advantage of the RHS perfect for pollinators badge.

Hydrangeas add colour to a coastal garden

Use ornamental grasses and hardy palms to add structure and depth to your seaside garden. Grasses are generally well-used to dry conditions & tend to do very well in coastal areas. Larger grasses such as Phormiums can add architectural interest with their big shapes and bold colours. These are hardy grasses ideal for coastal and windswept gardens. Phormium Tenax (New Zealand Flax) has tall red flowers in summer. For extra variety, consider Phormium Tenax Variegated.

Grasses are generally well-used to dry conditions & tend to do very well in coastal areas.

Hardy palms are one of our specialities. Trachycarpus Fortunei, commonly known as the Chusan Palm is one of the hardiest palms in the world. Trachycarpus Fortunei has a striking shape and unusual segmented leaves in the shape of a fan. Available in sizes of up to 4.5 metres tall! Also well able to handle coastal conditions is Butia Capitata (the Pindo Palm).

Use ornamental grasses and hardy palms to add structure and depth to your seaside garden

Cordylines are frequently spotted in coastal areas and with very good reason. Cordylines such as Cordyline Australis thrive in this sometimes harsh environment.

Cordylines are frequently spotted in coastal areas

All our plants are available to buy online. We deliver nationwide.

Plants for UK Seaside Gardens and Coastal Areas

Try these shrubs for your garden


Living by the sea sustains a beautiful and healthy lifestyle. However, landscaping near the Shore may be difficult as weather and soil conditions may not be suitable for countless plants to be successfully grown.

The most important aspect in choosing plants for any landscape is to discover the ones that will grow best in a particular environment. Seashore gardens require careful selection because the elements play a crucial role in the success of the landscape.

When planning to select shrubs for a seaside environment proper research, along with dependable advice from an local garden center consultant, will save time and frustration. Here are a list of shrubs that will do well in windswept seaside gardens:

Rosa Rugosa — This “Beach Rose” is the lovely hedge that borders the many landscapes along our ocean roads. They have thorny branches and wrinkled leaves but are extremely tolerant to harsh conditions, including salt spray and wind. These roses grow best in fertile, well-drained soil, although they will survive in poor soil conditions. Lovely scented blossoms in white or pink begin in spring through summer attracting birds and butterflies. They are spectacular in a cottage, seaside garden or in a naturalized setting.

Dwarf Red-Leaf Sand Cherry — An ornamental shrub with red-tinged foliage and purplish fruit which attracts songbirds in the summer. Once planted they require little maintenance and will resist drought and heat. Prune to improve the shape in spring after the pretty, white, fragrant blooms fade. Thin the interior to encourage air circulation. This is a native plant and grows 4 to 5 feet.

Juniper — These plants range from ground covers to low hedges and tall trees. They are very hardy in our environment and grow in a variety of soils, including sandy. The silvery-blue, waxy berries are highly decorative and add much interest in the landscape. Juniper “Iowa” grows 10 to 15 feet and spreads the same. They are seldom attractive to deer.

Physocarpus “Ninebark” — A popular genus of shrub that is known for attractive leaves and cup-shaped white flowers. This is a long summer bloomer that is native to our area and thrives in full sun. The red and copper foliage all season makes this a great choice for contrast in the garden.

Myrica “Bayberry” — The Bayberry is a native plant that blooms in May in full sun to part shade. They tolerate a wide range of soil and growing conditions including drought, high winds and salt spray. Clusters of Bayberry need to have at least one male plant to facilitate pollination of female plants in order to set fruit which is attractive to birds. The fruit are covered with a waxy substance used to make candles, soaps and insect repellents. They grow 5 to 10 feet and spread the same making the Bayberry a good soft textured hedge or screen.

Goji “Lifeberry” — This is a shrub with lots of interest and is known for being a super food. It is very easy to grow and naturally drought tolerant, disease resistant and rarely bothered by insects. They can tolerate part-shade but the harvest of berries will be much greater in full sun. Goji have a free-style growth habit and need some room to grow to their 8 to 10 feet height. Berries of this shrub are high in antioxidants and have a high concentration of protein. They are loaded with vitamin C and fiber. I suppose we should all grow one in our gardens simply to stay healthier!

Yucca — The Yucca is a striking evergreen that is quite common in our area due to the fact that it can withstand most weather conditions. The mid-summer tall flower stems are impressive and together with the tough sword-shaped leaves make a beautiful backdrop at beach or seashore landscapes. Yucca’s grow 3 to 5 feet.

Cotoneaster — These are versatile shrubs that range from groundcovers to upright shrubs to compact hedges. They have small pale pink flowers in spring and small rounded leaves. In the fall, the berries make a lovely display that last into winter. Most Cotoneasters do well in full sun and are great in rock and low maintenance gardens. Furthermore, they are deer resistant.

Hydrangea “Endless Summer” — This is a collection of flowering shrubs that consists of four beautiful re-blooming hydrangeas: The Original, Blushing Bride, Twist n Shout and Bloomstruck. “The Original Endless Summer” was the first hydrangea discovered that blooms on the previous year’s woody stems and the new season’s growth. They flower from spring through fall and are hardy and disease resistant. Changing the flower color of Hydrangeas is simple by adjusting the soil pH by using a soil acidifier (Color Me Blue or Color Me Pink) in spring and continue to apply every two weeks.

It is a good idea to use Bio tone when transplanting new shrubs. This product helps to develop strong roots and aids in protecting plants from disease. Plant-tone is an organic fertilizer for all plants that promotes optimum growth. It is recommended to apply both of these in the spring and with new transplants. These products are available at your local independent garden center.

For any questions or comments please email [email protected]

Leslie L. Barlow owns Barlow Flower Farm, 1014 Sea Girt Ave., Sea Girt; 732-449-9189 or

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