If you live near the coast, you probably have thrown up your hands when it comes to planting ornamentals and vegetables. It is true, sand and sun present a special challenge to gardeners. Add salt and wind to the mix and many coastal dwellers have given up hope of growing any kind of vegetation. The dilemma can be overcome by choosing plants that like full sun and sand.
Plants That Like Full Sun and Sand: Sandy Soil, Full Sun Plants
A sandy soil is fast draining due to its larger soil particles than clay or silt types. While that might be advantageous, the quick moving water also depletes the soil of nutrients and moisture. Believe it or not, some plants prefer a dry, nutrient poor soil, and those are the plants to seek out.
Here are popular full sun plants for sandy soil that thrive in low fertility and moisture.
Annual plants for sun and sand:
- California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) Zones 6-10
- Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) Zones 2-11
Perennial plants that like full sun and sand:
- Bearded Iris (Iris germanica) Zones 3-9
- Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.) Zones 4-9
- Blanket Flower (Gaillardia spp.) Zones 3-10
- Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) Zones 4-10
- Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) Zones 3-10
- Liatris (Liatris spp.) Zones 4-8
- Penstemon (Penstemon spp.) Zones 4-10
- Phlox (Phlox spp.) Zones 4-8
- Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) Zones 5-9
- Sea oats (Uniola paniculata) Zones 7-11
- Salvia (Salvia nemorosa) Zones 4-9
- Sedum (Sedum spp.) Zones 3-9
- Yarrow (Achillea spp.) Zones 3 to 9
Vegetables with long tap roots do well in sandy soil because the roots can penetrate the soil easily.
- Carrot (Daucus carota var. sativus) Zones 2-11
- Potato (Solanum tuberosum) Zones 2-11
- Radish (Raphanus sativus) Zones 2-11
Lettuce will grow well if it is watered every day. Collard greens perform well in early spring when sandy soil is already warm. It also needs regular water.
These herbs are sandy soil, full sun plants that thrive in slightly acidic, well-draining soil.
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Zones 6-9
- Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) Zone 5-9
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Zones 8-10
- Oregano (Origanum vulgare) Zones 5-12
Groundcover full sun sand plants:
- Moss phlox or creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) Zones 3-9
- Sedum varieties (Sedum spp.) Zones 4-9
- Butterfly bush (Buddleia spp.) Zones 5-9
- Flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) Zones 4-8
- Red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) Zones 4-9
- Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) Zones 5-9
- Rugosa rose (Rosa rugosa) Zones 2-9
- Siberian Pea Shrub or Tree (Caragana arborescens) Zones 2-7