Tips for Growing Plants in a Coastal Climate
By: Julie Day
If you live near the coast, growing plants and gardening can be quite a challenge. Temperatures are usually warmer; but the salt spray, strong wind, and poor soil can be damaging to plants.
Here are some tips on how to grow plants and garden in a coastal climate.
Wind in a Coastal Climate
Sea breezes feel wonderful on the skin, but the constant whipping can easily uproot or break plants and dry out the soil. Here are some tips for minimizing wind damage to plants in coastal climates:
- Plant in Groups: Cluster your plantings in groups, so the plants can shelter each other from the wind.
Salt in a Coastal Climate
Coastal winds can carry salt long distances, especially during storms. The salt then collects on the leaves of plants, causing them to dry out or burn. If your windows are filmed with salt, it’s likely your plants are, too. Here are some tips for dealing with salt on plants in coastal climates:
- Hose Off Plants: Periodically rinse off the leaves of your plants to remove salt deposits. While drip irrigation and soaker hoses save water, near the coast you might want to occasionally run an overhead sprinkler to rinse the foliage.
Soil in a Coastal Climate
Coastal soil can be sandy, rocky, or clay based – and the soil is often eroded and infertile. When planting in coastal soil:
- Mulch: A thick layer of mulch in planting beds helps hold in water, prevent soil erosion, and breaks down over time to improve the soil.
Water in a Coastal Climate
Between the wind and the fast draining soil, coastal gardens dry out quickly. And despite the ocean of water nearby, droughts are common during dry seasons. Here are some tips for how to water plants in a coastal climate:
- Water Deeply: Deep watering is even more important at the coast, since it promotes deep root growth, which help keep plants anchored during storms.
- Landscaping with Drought-Tolerant Plants (article)
- Xeriscape for Drought-Tolerant Landscaping (article)
- Best Drought-Tolerant Lawn Grass for Sandy Soil (article)
- Advantages of Native Plants (video)
- Salt Tolerant Plants (North Carolina State University)