Life on the coast may feel carefree to tourists, but it can be demanding for greenery and seaside gardeners. Plants that thrive seaside are ones that tolerate salt spray and an accumulation of salt in soil, which helps to create high pH or alkaline chemistry. Most garden plants prefer a pH that is close to being evenly balanced between acid and alkaline conditions. But, similar to many desert species, coastal plants stand up to alkalinity. Aside from being salty, soil on and near beaches usually is sandy and shallow; it's loose, flyaway stuff that lacks organic matter to retain moisture and build fertility. When coastal winds pick up speed, they test plants by whipping foliage back and forth and flinging sand at it. So seaside plants need to bend without breaking and put up with abrasion. They also have to handle intense sunlight and bouts of severe heat, which are characteristic of coastal growing conditions. Often, plants that do well with all these extremes are short ones with drought-resistant foliage, including hairy or succulent leaves that help retain moisture. Whether you want short, pretty groundcovers or taller plants for your coastal garden and whether you live near the beach or a bit further inland, Flowers by the Sea offers seaside plants online to meet your growing conditions.
(Pink Mexican Bush Sage) Although native to Mexico and Central America, this elegant variety of Salvia leucantha was hybridized in South Africa. It is compact, long blooming and profusely covered by soft pink flowers surrounded by velvety white bracts.
(Midnight Mexican Bush Sage) The typical Mexican Bush Sage has purple flowers surrounded by furry white bracts. This clone from the San Francisco Peninsula has deep purple flowers, calyxes and stems. It is a good groundcover due to a mounding habit, smaller size and generous amounts of flowers.
(Santa Barbara Mexican Bush Sage) This compact Mexican Bush Sage was found in the Santa Barbara garden of Kathiann Brown. It is, without a doubt, the finest short Mexican Bush Sage -- hardy, tough and long blooming. Add drought tolerance and dark, rich purple flowers to its list of merits.
(White Mischief Mexican Bush Sage) Profuse white blossoms and true white velvety bracts make the flowers of this South African hybrid a lovely choice for a wedding. In our experience, many of the plants sold as White Mischief are not the real thing. This tough, compact, long blooming sage is.
(Black Sage or Honey Sage) One of the most common and fragrant native shrubs in Central California's Coast Ranges, Black Sage is ideal for dry gardens. Admirably adaptable, it tolerates soils ranging from the most marginal to ones that are loamy and provide excellent drainage. It is a survivor.
(Dry Earth Black Sage) Black Sage Salvia mellifera is one of the most common and fragrant native shrubs in the California Coast Ranges and is ideal for dry gardens. At 12 inches tall by 5 feet wide, this variety is an excellent groundcover.
(Mauretania Tingitana Sage) Native to Northern Africa and Saudi Arabia, this sage gets by on little water. and has a long history of cultivation going back 400 years. It wove throughout various countries in the Middle East and North Africa before arriving in Europe in the 1700s and was first described scientifically in 1777.
(Strong Spanish Sage) Fuzzy green stems and bracts mature to burgundy on this lovely, lavender flowered sage that roughly doubles in height when blooming. Salvia valentina is a variety of the European native S. nemorosa, a Meadow Sage.
(Wild Sage) Toothed and attractively wrinkled, the gray-green, basal foliage of Wild Sage contrasts prettily with deep lavender-to-purple flowers supported by grassy green bracts. This cold-hardy sage is native to northern Africa and parts of Asia and Europe.
(Bee's Bliss Sage) If you are looking for a California native sage to use as a groundcover, Bee's Bliss is a fine choice. Low-growing, widespreading and colorful, it is ideal for choking weeds.
(Celestial Blue Sage) Fast growing and adaptable, this sage is a chance hybrid between Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii) -- also called California Blue Sage -- and California Rose Sage (Salvia pachyphylla). It may also be related to California Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla).
(Starlight Sage) This is a white-flowering hybrid of White Sage (Salvia apiana) and Black Sage (Salvia mellifera), two California natives often seen growing together in the wild. Starlight blooms from winter into summer, attracting honeybees.