Living near the coast is a dream come true: there’s truly nothing better than waking up every morning to a salty breeze and a gorgeous view! Many popular garden plants may not necessarily agree, however, as the high salt content in the water and air can be extremely difficult for some species, especially smaller ones, to take. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best salt-resistant small outdoor plants to include in your coastal garden this year broken down into annuals and perennials, along with some tips and tricks to help you care for them!
SNAPDRAGONS: A TIMELESS CLASSIC
These late spring-blooming beauties are the perfect small plants to add to your coastal garden beds. A classic garden variety, these tough plants can handle whatever the Florida weather throws at them, all while producing spears of brilliant blooms in a spectrum of colors. Snapdragons do best when planted in acidic environments, so if you’re planting yours in sandy soil, consider adding peat moss to lower the pH levels!
PETUNIAS: PERFECT FOR POTS!
These showy, delicate-looking annuals are as hardy as they are gorgeous. Petunias look best when planted in hanging planters and raised beds, and you can bring plenty of color to your home with little effort by hanging a few of them here and there. Petunias do require lots of sun to look their best, however, so place them in sunny locations where they’ll be on full display for all to enjoy.
CALADIUMS: BRIGHT LEAVES FOR SHADY SPACES!
Unlike the plants we’ve looked at so far, caladiums are known for their lush, colorful foliage rather than their flowers. These small plants are a great addition to any garden, and can easily bring a pop of color to any hedge, hanging basket, or shady corner. These small plants are relatively hardy overall, but will do best when planted in shady areas. In Florida, it’s recommended you fertilize your caladiums a few times throughout the growing season.
BLANKETFLOWER: A NATIVE FLORIDIAN POLLINATOR MAGNET
Once established, these small native plants are extremely drought and salt-tolerant and require very little care. Recognizable by their rich burgundy centers fanning out to bright yellow tips, these hardy plants will liven up any space and thrive in full sun. Just looking at them conjures the feeling of a sunny beach day, making them excellent additions to any Fort Lauderdale landscape.
ROSES: STUNNING ON FLORIDA COASTLINES
Not all roses are known for their salt tolerance, but there are a few small varieties that are perfect for your coastal garden. Rugosa roses are particular standouts in terms of overall hardiness and can range in color from white to pink, with large, lovely rose hips in the fall. You can often find these beautiful plants at the beach, making them the ideal addition to your home garden. In fact, this is one of the easiest small varieties to care for, as they thrive on neglect!
LANTANA: A FLORIDA GARDEN STAPLE
Lantanas are a staple of any coastal garden for a reason. This beautiful bloomer is not only tolerant of salt and heat, but it’s also extremely drought-tolerant and pollinator-friendly! The lantana is an easy plant to incorporate into your landscape and comes in a wide variety of colors and growth habits. Whether you’re looking for a full-blown hedge or some simple ground cover in purple, white, or red, lantanas have you covered!
DAYLILY: HAPPY ANYWHERE!
These gorgeous small plants produce large, luscious blooms in a range of colors and are incredibly tolerant of different–often extreme–growing conditions. From floods to drought, daylilies happily plug along, sending up flower stalks with beautiful blooms from almost grass-like foliage. We highly recommend including daylilies in your coastal landscape for a bit of height and pops of color.
CROWN OF THORNS: A COASTAL FAVORITE
Though prickly, Crown of Thorns is a gorgeous year-round bloomer! The small true flowers are surrounded by colorful bracts in red, orange, white, pink, or yellow and lush green leaves. This amazing plant is easy-going when it comes to care, just pick a bright and sunny spot in your garden and watch it flourish. If your garden is prone to a hot, salty breeze, there’s no better plant for you than Crown of Thorns!
HIBISCUS: A TROPICAL CLASSIC
Known for their huge, showy flowers in seemingly countless colors, hibiscus thrive by the sea and brighten up any garden. If you keep them pruned they’ll stay small and tidy, and if you let them flourish they make an amazing hedge or shrub! This versatile plant makes an excellent, beachy addition to any landscape.
Whether you’re looking for a garden classic, some unique foliage, or just a few hanging plants to add to your coastal Florida garden, Living Color Garden Center in Fort Lauderdale has the best small plants you need to elevate your landscape. Stop by and shop for small, salt-tolerant plants for your Southern garden today!