En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - December 18, 2011

From: Cape Coral, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Soils, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Plants resistant to salt spray in FL
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

What type of plants can I put in a small planter bed next to a waterfall with a saltwater pool? Everything I put in there dies. I live in Southwest Florida.

ANSWER:

Your situtation is a really tough one.  There are plants that are adapted to a "salty" environment near the ocean where the groundwater can be brackish and there is a certain amount of salt in the air so you will have to choose the toughest of that group.

If you visit the website of the Florida Native Plant Society you will find a county map.  You can select your county (Lee) and it will generate a list of plants native to your county.  The plants' salt tolerance is one of the characteristics that are noted in the chart.  You will want to choose only from those with a Big S as the conditions of your planter are more extreme than those in nature near the ocean or in a salty marsh.

Here are a few perennials and grasses that might work for you (grasses are generally quite tough and can be quite ornamental)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)

Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense (Jamaica swamp sawgrass)

Gaillardia pulchella (Firewheel)

Gossypium hirsutum (Upland cotton)

Helianthus debilis (Beach sunflower)

Ipomoea imperati (Beach morning glory)

Teucrium canadense (Canada germander)

Uniola paniculata (Sea oats)

There are quite a few shrubs that are salt tolerant as well, if your planter bed is large enough to accomodate them.

You can also refer to this list of salt tolerant plants for Florida issued by the University of Florida IFAS Extension, keeping in mind that not all the plants on this list are native to Florida. 

 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Jamaica swamp sawgrass
Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense

Firewheel
Gaillardia pulchella

Upland cotton
Gossypium hirsutum

Beach sunflower
Helianthus debilis

Beach morning glory
Ipomoea imperati

Canada germander
Teucrium canadense

Sea oats
Uniola paniculata

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Source for air plant from Warwick RI
April 23, 2012 - Would you know of any store in Rhode Island that would sell the air plant (tillandsia plant)? I've been searching around and no luck! I would appreciate the help!! Thank you and take care
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming Hypericum in Eastern Pennsylvania
June 14, 2009 - I purchased a St. Johnswort about 3 years ago. I has never bloomed. It is alive & well. I know this since it has started to spread shoots. Is there a trick to this one? Occasionally something I plant ...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover under live oaks
June 18, 2012 - I have some areas under Live Oak trees (maybe 200 sq. ft.)that remain bare, in spite of trying Habiturf. Soil is dry, poor and shallow. Can you suggest a living ground cover that would not require m...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping on South Padre Island
June 07, 2008 - I'm in charge of landscaping at my beachfront condo in South Padre Island and find the wind, salt air, and heat challenging for growing almost anything. We would like to incorporate native plants, b...
view the full question and answer

Garden instructions from Austin
June 12, 2013 - I'm a beginning gardener putting in some new landscaping in my front yard in north central Austin, TX. The yard faces almost due east, so it gets full sun until early afternoon, when the house's sha...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center