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Shrubs that can tolerate very exposed coastal planting conditions

There is a very restricted range of tough shrubs that will put up with extreme coastal conditions. Saying that you first have to quantify your particular extremity; all of these plants will cope with being within 200 metres of the sea.

All planted areas in close proximity to the sea need to be planted with plants that can cope with not only the damaging effects of salt laden winds, but also often sandy drought prone soils, as well as extreme winds and sea storms, which often batter the coast in the spring months. The intensity of the wind and the desiccating effect of sea salt will damage young growth of all but the toughest of shrubs.

That said if you live a way off from the beach line then the situation rapidly improves, especially if you have some sort of established shelter such as salt tolerant screening plants and fencing; which can take out the excesses of storm winds.

There are also some benefits that can come with living near to the coast; milder winters and the first pick of any incoming rain showers can greatly benefit the range of plants you can grow, allowing the gardener to take the odd calculated risk with the planting of half hardy exotics.

It is essential in windy coastal locations to stake and tie trees securely and always dig in plenty of compost and fertilizer into the planting pit to give the young plant a good start and after watering in use a deep mulch to help lock in any soil moisture. Further to this a temporary screen or protection while the plant establishes will also help reduce stress while the plant gets going, especially during the winter dormant season when you should consider moving or wrapping containerized plants to reduce winter storm damage.

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Latin &
Common Name
EarmarkType & FormFlowers & Foliage
Escallonia - Apple Blossom - EscalloniaEscallonia

'Apple Blossom'

Shrub, Hedging & Screening, Container-friendly, Rounded - BushDark pink flowers (Summer)
Tamarix ramosissima - Pink Cascade - Tamarisk, TamarixTamarix ramosissima

'Pink Cascade'

Tamarisk, Tamarix
Shrub, Hedging & Screening, Spreading archingDark pink flowers (Summer)
Nerium oleander - Sister Agnes - OleanderNerium oleander

'Sister Agnes'

Shrub, Hedging & Screening, Container-friendly, Upright - ClumpWhite flowers (Summer)
Griselinia littoralisGriselinia littoralis Shrub, Hedging & Screening, Rounded - BushNon-flowering
Pittosporum tenuifolium - PompomPittosporum tenuifolium

Shrub, Ground cover, Container-friendly, Rounded - Bush flowers
Callistemon pallidus - BottlebrushCallistemon pallidus

Shrub, Hedging & Screening, Container-friendly, Rounded - BushWhite flowers (Summer)
Olearia macrodonta - New Zealand HollyOlearia macrodonta

New Zealand Holly
Shrub, Rounded - BushWhite flowers (Summer early)
Elaeagnus X ebbingei - Limelight - ElaeagnusElaeagnus X ebbingei


Shrub, Hedging & Screening, Rounded - BushNon-flowering
Brachyglottis greyi - BrachyglottisBrachyglottis greyi

Shrub, Rounded - ClumpYellow flowers (Summer early)
Hebe albicans - HebeHebe albicans

Shrub, Ground cover, Container-friendly, Rounded - ClumpWhite flowers (Summer)

You can use our plant-finder to find plants that match your garden conditions exactly, for example Shrubs that can tolerate very exposed coastal planting conditions - click to give it a try!

Have you seen our other plant top ten recommendations?