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 Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Replenishing a fallow field in Central Geogia.
February 22, 2010 - I have recently taken a 54 acre field out of cultivation and would like to replenish the soil with native cover plants. There is a slope to a portion of the field that is experiencing some erosion. I...
view the full question and answer

Non-native St. Augustine grass failing for 5 years in Houston
July 21, 2013 - My townhome in Houston has a mid-size backyard, which receives full sun for much of the day. I've re-sodded with St. Augustine for 5 consecutive summers, but it consistently dies over time (proper fe...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Habiturf in Austin
May 10, 2014 - I have been trying to establish a Habiturf lawn in my back yard. It is approximately a 1,000 square foot area and this last seeding was the third over about one and a half years. I just recently over ...
view the full question and answer

Type of clumping bamboo for outdoor planters from Plano TX
March 25, 2014 - What type of clumping bamboo can be grown outdoors in planters in Dallas,TX?
view the full question and answer

Advice on grasses under walnut trees
May 28, 2010 - Little advice on grasses: I am prepared to plant zoysia under two walnut trees. Forgot about juglone-is this a good idea?
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