Plants located near the sea must withstand salty sea spray and high winds. In some locations, like where I live along the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast, heat and humidity may also play a part in the type of plants suitable for creating a seaside garden. If you live along the coast, choose plants like those referenced below that are more likely to survive the salty sea air. These plants also do well inland for gardeners seeking to create a beach theme garden. When choosing perennial plants, check the USDA plant hardiness zone map to ensure the plants can withstand the cold temperatures in your area.
Hardy ice plant (Delosperma cooperi) displays purple blooms and grows to about 6 inches tall in USDA zones 6 to 10. Shore juniper (Juniperus conferta), hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9, grows to 1 foot tall and spreads to about 6 feet. October Daphne (Sedum sieboldii), an evergreen in zones 6 to 9, grows 6 to 12 inches tall and has blue-green foliage.
Care for seaside gardens
John Bickerton and Graham Clarke explain in their book, Coastal Gardens, that sea breezes can carry salty droplets as much as 30 miles inland. The authors add, "salt spray is most damaging to plants growing within 1,000 feet of the shoreline." Usually, rainfall or spritzing the plants with the garden hose is all it takes to rinse away the potentially damaging effects of a seaside breeze. Plant an evergreen hedge, such as Indian Hawthorne (Rhaphiolepis indica), as a windbreak if desired.
Additional landscaping topics