Make Your Coastal Garden Thrive
WA is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with the majority of West Aussies loving the beachside lifestyle. If you’re lucky enough to live near the coast then you know that like some people, some plants aren’t the biggest fans of coastal conditions!
So, how do you create a coastal garden that will survive the salty conditions? Read on to find out the secret…
Many people forget that plants like the conditions they evolved to live in – you wouldn’t grow a rose out in the desert and expect it to live. Coastal conditions are similar where only coastal tolerant plants will thrive there, and what better choice than WA natives.
There are plenty of great looking WA natives that are perfect for your coastal garden. However before you start digging there are a few steps you need to take to prepare your soil and make it a nicer, more welcoming home for your new plants.
Preparing the Soil
The first step in making your coastal garden a paradise is by preparing the soil with a soil improver. This will help to put extra nutrients into the soil – a particularly important step if you are planting into sandy soil. Most soil improvers will also contain a wetting agent, again another important part of preparing the soil. Many sandy soils are hydrophobic and will repel water instead of absorbing it, making it harder for your new plants to get the water they need to grow.
Strong wind can be present in coastal gardens, so it is a good idea to have a layer of mulch to help keep the soil moist and reduce evaporation. This will also help to keep the roots of the plants cooler during summer. If you plan on planting with smaller sized plants (like forestry tubes or 68mm pots) and you have lots of wind racing through your garden then it’s also a good idea to provide these smaller plants with a windbreak while they grow. Windbreaks can either be bigger, more established plants to shelter the younger plants, and can also be created by installing a temporary screen.
Choosing the Perfect Coastal Garden Plants
Now we have got past the more technical part of preparing the soil in your coastal garden we can move onto the most exciting part – the plants!
One of our top picks for your coastal garden are the Acacias. They come in many sizes and forms but our favourite choice would have to be the Acacia saligna Prostrate, aka Green Mulch, and Acacia lasiocarpa Prostrate. These Acacias are great for greening up areas where grass would look great but without the maintenance. Although they’re not suitable for walking on like traditional grass, they do well for verges and parts of your garden that don’t get much foot fall and are hardy coastal plants.
Another top species to plant in your coastal garden are the Agonis flexuosa varieties! This range of semi-weeping trees would look fantastic on verges or in the backyard. They are great as a feature tree and not only that, they are the perfect plants for high pH soil. Our favourite varieties would have to be Agonis flexuosa ‘Burgundy’. This stunner has dark green foliage that is contrasted by the burgundy coloured new growth, it produces trails of beautiful, small white flowers during spring and summer.
You can’t have a coastal garden without Scaevolas! These colourful flowering shrubs are perfect for brightening up your garden, adding a pop of colour during spring and summer. Some of our favourite species that are suitable for coastal gardens include Scaevola anchusifolia Prostrate, Scaevola crassifolia and Scaevola crassifolia ‘Flat Fred’. Naturally low spreading, these are great plants for windy coastal areas and are perfect for both verges and the backyard!
Our next pick is the Eremophila, and if we could choose one word to describe them it would be stunning! One of our favourites would have to be the Eremophila glabra ‘Silver Flame’. This little shrubs silver leaves and bright orange/red flowers makes it perfect for verge plantings and breaking up a sea of green plants! They make an exceptionally hardy coastal plants and are well suited for coastal conditions.
Last but not least of our coastal recommendations are the Myoporums! This large family of plants are perfect for coastal gardens and don’t mind the salty conditions. Our favourite species are the Myoporum insulare ‘Coastal Carpet’ and Myoporum parvifolium, coming in a range of different sized shrubs and all flowering during spring and early summer. Perfect for adding colour into your coastal garden and make great low maintenance plants for your verge.
There are plenty more species to choose when considering what to plant in your coastal garden. What you choose may depend on if it’s for your low maintenance verge or much loved garden, either way it’s important to make sure it will thrive in coastal conditions. To check out more natives that are suited to a coastal environment use the filters on our website or shop for coastal plants here.