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

When and how to mow native grass in Texas
February 27, 2010 - We live on a ranch near Kerrville. The grass is sparse KR, purple three-awn and some Texas wintergrass. How and when is the best way and time to mow this native grass?
view the full question and answer

Alternative for sedges for turf-like lawn in shade
October 25, 2013 - When it comes to a turf-like lawn in shade, is it pretty much sedges or nothing among native options? By the way, I write from up north here in Iowa. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Grass for Seattle Arboretum
May 20, 2012 - I am writing to you on behalf of the Arboretum at South Seattle Community College Arboretum. I am interested in Panicum virgatum Switch Grass as a plant for a very heavy clay garden in our Arboretum a...
view the full question and answer

Difficult slope in Tarrytown NY
March 03, 2009 - I hope you can help. Is there a way to plant some native shrubs and plants on a steep slope that is filled in some areas with rock without having to tier the slope? The section is approximately 50' w...
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow in shady area near a pecan tree in Maryland
March 26, 2013 - I live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I have planted only natives in my front lawn. My backyard, which sports a pecan tree, fir, fig tree, and others I can't identify is dirt, just dirt. I have...
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