Call us today: 0844 573 1818 Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company's access charge

100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Track Your Order

Award Winning Varieties

Voted Best Online Retailer

Our Customers Rate Our Excellent Service

Plants for coastal gardens and exposed sites

Plants for coastal gardens and exposed sites


If you garden on the coast or your garden is exposed to strong winds then this is the guide for you! Exposed gardens often bear the full brunt of the weather, from icy gales in the depths of winter to drying winds in the summer which scorch foliage and break fragile stems. In a coastal garden the wind is also laden with salt which only the toughest plants can tolerate. When drawing up coastal garden designs it’s worth knowing which plants will thrive, so your garden not only survives but flourishes in these challenging conditions.


Buffering the wind

You can really expand your choice of plants if you provide a windbreak in your garden. It’s quite surprising how much difference a hedge can make to the overall climate of the garden. Hedges are much better windbreaks than solid walls; walls create turbulence, whereas hedges filter and slow the wind down.


Hedging plants for windy gardens

There are many good hedging plants but only a handful can tolerate heavy winds and/or salty conditions. Despite their hardiness, all the plants listed below will benefit from the protection of some windbreak netting or temporary fencing in their first few years, until they are established.


Hedging plants for windy gardens Salt tolerant  Plant type Extra features
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) Tree Interesting Features - Colourful berries or fruitInteresting Features - Evergreen
Juniper (Juniperus communis)   Tree Interesting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Attractive FoliageInteresting Features - Architectural
Pine (Pinus) Tree Interesting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Attractive FoliageInteresting Features - Architectural
Yew (Taxus baccata)   Tree Interesting Features - Evergreen
Blackthorn/Sloe (Prunus spinosa) Shrub Interesting Features - Colourful berries or fruitInteresting Features - Spring Flowering
Eleagnus x ebbingei Shrub Interesting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Attractive Foliage
Euonymus japonicus Shrub Interesting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Attractive Foliage
Griselinia littoralis Shrub Interesting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Attractive Foliage
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) Shrub Interesting Features - Colourful berries or fruitInteresting Features - Spring Flowering
Rosa rugosa (Hedgehog Rose) Shrub Interesting Features - Colourful berries or fruitInteresting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - Scented
Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) Shrub Interesting Features - Colourful berries or fruit
Willow (Salix purpurea) Shrub Interesting Features - Attractive FoliageInteresting Features - Spring FloweringInteresting Features - Attractive bark

Plants for cold and exposed gardens

Exposed gardens can be found on hillsides or flat areas where there are no natural windbreaks such as trees and hedges. These gardens suffer the worst of the weather and plants have to be very hardy to withstand the constant battering. Sturdy coastal hedges will help alleviate the force of the wind although further trees and shrubs planted within the garden can create sheltered pockets in which more delicate plants can be grown. We’ve listed some of the best hardy plants for exposed gardens below.


Plants for cold and exposed gardens Salt tolerant  Plant type Extra features
Alder (Alnus) Tree Interesting Features - Spring Flowering
Ash (Fraxinus)   Tree Interesting Features - Spring FloweringInteresting Features - Attractive FoliageInteresting Features - Autumn leaf colour or flowers
Birch (Betula)   Tree Interesting Features - Spring FloweringInteresting Features - Autumn leaf colour or flowersInteresting Features - Attractive bark
Conifers (Chamaecyparis)   Tree Interesting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Attractive FoliageInteresting Features - Architectural
Cornus (Dogwood)   Tree/Shrub Interesting Features - Spring FloweringInteresting Features - Attractive FoliageInteresting Features - Autumn leaf colour or flowersInteresting Features - Attractive barkInteresting Features - Colourful berries or fruit
Laburnum x watereri ‘Vossii’   Tree Interesting Features - Spring Flowering
Mountain Ash/Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)   Tree Interesting Features - Spring FloweringInteresting Features - Autumn leaf colour or flowersInteresting Features - Colourful berries or fruit
Poplar (Populus)   Tree Interesting Features - Spring FloweringInteresting Features - Attractive Foliage
Berberis (Barberry) Shrub Interesting Features - Spring FloweringInteresting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Colourful berries or fruit
Cotoneaster Shrub Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Colourful berries or fruit
Heather Shrub Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Attractive FoliageInteresting Features - Autumn leaf colour or flowersInteresting Features - Winter Flowering
Lilacs (Syringa)   Shrub Interesting Features - Spring FloweringInteresting Features - Scented
Mahonia Shrub Interesting Features - Spring FloweringInteresting Features - ScentedInteresting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Attractive FoliageInteresting Features - ArchitecturalInteresting Features - Colourful berries or fruit
Pyracantha Shrub Interesting Features - Spring FloweringInteresting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Colourful berries or fruit
Philadelphus (Mock Orange)   Shrub Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - Scented
Sambucus Shrub Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - Attractive FoliageInteresting Features - Colourful berries or fruit
Viburnum Shrub Interesting Features - Spring FloweringInteresting Features - ScentedInteresting Features - Evergreen
Armeria (Sea Pink) Perennial Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - Evergreen
Aster alpinus   Perennial Interesting Features - Summer Flowering
Aubrieta   Perennial Interesting Features - Spring FloweringInteresting Features - Evergreen
Centaurea dealbata (Perennial Cornflower)   Perennial Interesting Features - Summer Flowering
Dianthus deltoides Perennial Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - Evergreen
Hardy Geraniums   Perennial Interesting Features - Summer Flowering
Lysimachia nummularia (Creeping Jenny)   Perennial Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Attractive Foliage
(Purple Moor Grass) Perennial Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - Attractive FoliageInteresting Features - Architectural
Panicum virgatum (Switch Grass) Perennial Interesting Features - Attractive FoliageInteresting Features - Autumn leaf colour or flowersInteresting Features - Architectural
Perennial sweet pea (Lathyrus latifolius)   Perennial Interesting Features - Summer Flowering
Alyssum Annual Interesting Features - ScentedInteresting Features - Summer Flowering
California Poppy Annual Interesting Features - Summer Flowering

For more trees and shrubs for exposed gardens, refer to the table of hedging plants above.


Plants for coastal gardens

The upside to coastal gardening is the reduced risk of frost, allowing you to grow borderline-hardy plants which other gardeners only dream of! Plants adapted to growing in coastal conditions often have tough, leathery or hairy leaves which protect the plant from salt damage and reduce moisture loss.

A plant’s Latin name can also give clues to its coastal origins, for example if the name contains ‘maritima’ or ‘littoralis’ (meaning ‘of the shore’). Have a look at your neighbour’s gardens too and see what grows well for them! We’ve listed some of the best coastal garden plants below.


Plants for coastal gardensSalt tolerantPlant typeExtra features
Acacia dealbata Tree Interesting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Attractive FoliageInteresting Features - Spring FloweringInteresting Features - ScentedInteresting Features - Architectural
Cordyline Tree Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Attractive FoliageInteresting Features - Architectural
Cytisus (Broom) Tree Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - Attractive FoliageInteresting Features - Scented
Eucalyptus gunnii Tree Interesting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Attractive FoliageInteresting Features - Architectural
Sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) Tree Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - Colourful berries or fruit
Escallonia Shrub Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - Evergreen
Fuchsia magellanica Shrub Interesting Features - Summer Flowering
Hebe Shrub Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - Evergreen
Rosemary Shrub Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - ScentedHerb
Achillea Perennial Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - Attractive Foliage
Amaryllis belladonna Perennial Interesting Features - Autumn leaf colour or flowers
Armeria (Sea Pink) Perennial Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - Evergreen
Centranthus (Valerian) Perennial Interesting Features - Summer Flowering
Corynephorus 'Spiky Blue' (Grey Hair-Grass) Perennial Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - Evergreen
Crocosmia (Montbretia) Perennial Interesting Features - Summer Flowering
Delosperma (Ice Plant) Perennial Interesting Features - Summer Flowering
Echium Perennial Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Architectural
Erigeron (Fleabane) Perennial Interesting Features - Summer Flowering
Eryngium (Sea Holly) Perennial Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - Attractive Foliage
Fatsia japonica Perennial Interesting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Attractive FoliageInteresting Features - ArchitecturalInteresting Features - Autumn leaf colour or flowers
Festuca glauca Perennial Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Attractive Foliage
Gaillardia Perennial Interesting Features - Summer Flowering
Helianthemum (Rock Rose) Perennial Interesting Features - Summer Flowering
Osteospermum jucundum Perennial Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - Evergreen
Phormium Perennial Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Attractive FoliageInteresting Features - Architectural
Red Hot Poker Perennial Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Architectural
Sedum Perennial Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - Autumn leaf colour or flowers
Thyme Perennial Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Attractive FoliageHerb
Alyssum Annual Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - Scented
Calendula Annual Interesting Features - Summer Flowering
California Poppy Annual Interesting Features - Summer Flowering
Clarkia (Godetia) Annual Interesting Features - Summer Flowering
Gazania Annual Interesting Features - Summer Flowering
Lavatera trimestris (Mallow) Annual Interesting Features - Summer Flowering
Limonium (Statice) Annual Interesting Features - Summer Flowering
Malcolmia maritime (Virginian Stock) Annual Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - Scented
Senecio Annual Interesting Features - Attractive Foliage
Verbascum bombyciferum Biennial Interesting Features - Summer FloweringInteresting Features - EvergreenInteresting Features - Attractive FoliageInteresting Features - Architectural

For more trees and shrubs for coastal gardens, refer to the table of hedging plants above.







Plants for coastal gardens and exposed sites - Interesting features - Scented, spring flowering, autumn flowering or leaf colour, winter flowering, summer flowering, evergreen, attractive foliage, architectural, colorful berries or fruit







Cornflower are ideal for exposed gardens due to their hardiness.

Cornflower are ideal for exposed gardens due to their hardiness.












Evergreen perennials such as Dianthus deltoidesare ideal for exposed, coastal gardens due to their salt tolerance and they provide colour in the summer months

Evergreen perennials such as Dianthus deltoides are ideal for exposed, coastal gardens due to their salt tolerance and they provide colour in the summer months.



Sue Sanderson

Written by: Sue Sanderson

Plants and gardens have always been a big part of my life. I can remember helping my Dad to prick out seedlings, even before I could see over the top of the potting bench. As an adult, I trained at Writtle College where I received my degree, BSc. (Hons) Horticulture. After working in a specialist plantsman's nursery, and later, as a consulting arboriculturalist, I joined Thompson & Morgan in 2008. Initially looking after the grounds and coordinating the plant trials, I now support the web team offering horticultural advice online.