Choosing Coastal Plants
Here’s some good news! Your coastal garden will work best if you leave it looking a little rough. There’s no need to bust your boiler on maintenance.
Drought-tolerant plants are a good choice for coastal gardens because they are well set up to tolerate the sandy soils that do not hold water and nutrients.
Coastal Banksia are a great tree for seaside gardens and can work well to produce shelter and protect the rest of the garden from harsh sea breezes and ocean storms. A combination of eucalypts will also work well, for the same reasons, and they look right at home on the coast.
"Coastal gardens are all about creating protection for your plants, and choosing the right plants to thrive. Some plants love the coastal lifestyle as much as us humans do. And some plants don’t. Go with your garden as nature intended and choose plants that play to their strengths." - newhomesguide.com.au
Overcoming Sandy Soils
Layers of fertile soil just don’t exist naturally along our coasts, so there’s very little for your plants to grow into. We’re all dealing with sandy soils that are not equipped to hold moisture or nutrients. That makes it tough for plants.
There’s only one way to meet this challenge and that’s to improve the soil as much as is practical, by adding organic material to the sand. This is an ongoing process in coastal gardens and needs to be added to regularly to make sure new nutrients are entering the soil for your plants to absorb.
Even in coastal areas that get plenty of rainfall, the water won’t be retained by sandy soils and often your plants won’t have time to absorb what they need. Soon after the rain falls, the water drains quickly away. Mulching your garden will help keep the water in the soil and hold it there so the plants have time to take a drink.
Slow release fertilisers like blood and bone will also help, and as we keep saying, drought tolerant plants will be the best equipped to make the most of the challenging conditions.
There are a few hardy and attractive options for filling space in your coastal garden, and adding a variety of colours and textures. Some firm favourites of ours include coastal rosemary, the much-loved and well named woolly bush, and diosma and hebe also work well.
Even though they may not be everyone’s cuppa, succulents do look right at home on the coast, and can be visually stunning. Take a look at succulent options like blue chalk sticks, pigface, and agave, all perfect for the coastal look.
Using a combination of grasses and succulents can create a sensational pocket in your garden with each working as a complementary counterpoint to the other. Try grass varieties including orange sedge, fountain grass and coast tussock grass.
To give your plants extra protection, group them closely together when planting.