Most of us think about luscious greenery and rich, dark soil when we consider the best conditions for plants to grow. However, sandy soil has its advantages for plant growth too and there are many types of vegetation that thrive in sandy ground.
Sandy soil can be perfect for plant growth. It drains extremely well, it is easy to dig, is less susceptible to fungal and bacterial diseases, and, compared to clay soils, sandy land warms up at a faster pace in the spring.
This means that plants can start to grow earlier in the season. That being said, the number of plants that have adapted to sandy soil is a lot less than other soil types.
If you live in a region that has a lot of sandy soil, you shouldn’t give up all hope on growing plants. While there are options of amending the soil with organic matter, you can decide to stick with your well-drained, sandy ground and choose to grow plants that grow happily in such conditions.
Sandy soil is not the most common soil type in nature. While it has some advantages for plant growth, it also has some major disadvantages.
One is, it can not hold on to water or nutrients for very long so plants may not live as long.
If you want to grow some plants in a sandy area, we are here to help. In today’s article, we will be showing you different types of sand plants that not only grow in sandy conditions but prosper.
So, get ready to embrace that sandy soil for the first time as we guide you through 13 types of sand plants.
Herbs That Grow In Sandy Soil
A sandy loam tends to be the best type of soil for growing a large range of herbs. This is because the land will rarely be waterlogged during the winter months, will remain dry during the summertime, and contains a high amount of natural nutrients.
Below are some of the herbs that grow well in sandy soil.
Rosemary loves to grow in sandy soil. This is mainly down to the prolonged exposure it gets from sunlight. Rosemary is a hardy plant that excels in USDA zones with to 10.
Thanks to the acidic nature of sandy ground and its supreme drainage capabilities, rosemary is best grown in these conditions.
Sandy soil has a slightly acidic content which thyme thrives on. Due to the excellent drainage of sandy ground, thyme grows very well in rock and sandy soils that have full sunlight exposure.
It endures very well in USDA zones five to nine.
Oregano is another herb that enjoys the slight acidity and drainage that sandy soil possesses.
The majority of oregano varieties should be planted under direct, full sunlight but those with variegated or golden foliage should be planted under some shade as they do not fare so well under the hottest conditions of the day.
Groundcovers And Perennials
To make maintenance as easy as possible, we recommend planting a groundcover and some perennials. Let’s take a look at some examples below.
Wherever there are poor soil conditions, moss phlox will usually be able to grow well. This is especially true when it comes to sand or gravelly soils.
Moss phlox is a groundcover that can reach approximately six inches in height. As it grows, it boasts red, white, and purple flowers that attract a flutter of butterflies.
So, if you want to attract more insects into your backyard, moss phlox is a great place to start.
Growing in USDA zones five to nine, lavender plants grow very well in sandy soils and can even excel in drought-like conditions.
A much-loved plant, lavender originated in the dry, baron, rocky hillsides of the Mediterranean basin. It requires very good drainage that sandy soils can offer.
Lavender should be planted under full sun and only watered to allow the roots to become established. If you would like a low garden border, planting long rows of lavender is something you can do.
And, not only does it smell divine, lavender is resistant to rabbits and deer but attracts all kinds of welcome creatures such as bees and butterflies.
Wonderfully fragrant, catmint is a flowering perennial that grows well in USDA zones three to 10. Once it grows, it boasts beautiful blooms that attract bees and butterflies.
And, as the name suggests, catmint can also attract cats. Cats may eat a small amount of catmint if they feel a little unwell as it will help them vomit.
On the flip side, don’t be surprised if you see your cat act a little strangely after eating some catmint. They may roll around and become overly hyperactive but this should subside within two hours.
Artemisia is a low-growing perennial that features gray foliage. This dull color is what characterizes many plants that are tolerant of drought conditions.
The leaves of artemisia are amazingly soft to touch and finely cut. The best experience of artemisia is when you brush up alongside its leaves and a beautiful fragrance is emitted.
It is quite hard to notice any of the flowers with the different varieties of artemisia plants. Therefore, it is regarded as primarily a foliage plant.
But, if you want to make your border look more textured with a dash of distinctive colors, artemisias can work wonders. You can also plant them as groundcover if preferred.
The majority of succulents are best suited to hot, arid, dry conditions and sedum is no exception. Therefore, it grows very well in sandy soils.
Visit most nurseries and you will find a diverse selection of sedums available. Most of these plants are very small groundcovers and are perfect for rock garden vegetation.
You can also opt for a taller type of sedum known as Autumn Joy. This is a good choice due to its very late bloom so you can enjoy a bit of color late in the season.
Here, we have another groundcover that excels in many kinds of growing conditions. As with most sandy soil plants, Oregon Stonecrop has a high resistance to droughts meaning it is ideal for sandy soil.
It is best grown in full sunlight but with a little shade. Once this plant grows, it produces elegant star-shaped yellow flowers that attract many pollinators and butterflies.
You can enjoy the beautiful scents and colors of flowering shrubs even if you only have sandy turf. Shrubs are an excellent option if you want a bit more privacy from neighbors as well. Take your pick from our list below.
Rose Of Sharon
Rose of Sharon is one of the easiest to grow shrubs and produces hibiscus-like flowers during the late summer months.
While it can grow in sandy conditions, the Rose of Sharon requires a lot of water for the best possible growth.
But, even with a little more maintenance than other plants, the white or purple blooms from this shrub will always be worth it in the end.
As the name suggests, butterflies love to flock to the Butterfly Bush making it a wonderful addition to any yard.
In particular, butterflies love the long purple flower cones of this shrub and once you see the combination of these flowers and butterflies, you will be in awe.
Butterfly bushes adapt well to most types of soil, including sand.
The Red Chokeberry grows very well in most soil conditions. So, whether you have boggy or sandy land, this shrub should adapt pleasingly.
Red Chokeberry tends to reach six to 10 feet in height when it is fully grown. Once matured, it will boast beautiful white flowers, dark green foliage, and ornamental berries.
The green foliage will turn red during fall making it into one of the most exquisite autumnal sights in your backyard.
Annuals And Bulbs
Just because you may live in a dry, sandy region, you don’t have to miss out on the colorful delights that different annuals and bulbs provide. Below is one of the best for growing in sandy soil.
If you want to add some strong colors to your summer flower beds, you should consider planting annual salvias.
Once matured, these come to life with deep purple, crimson red, and electric blue hues that lighten up any space.
Moreover, annual salvias grow to one or two feet very quickly but this can depend on the variety that you plant.
The blooms of salvias can last for weeks but, once they start to fade, you can cut them back only to see them bloom again over and over again.
This can continue until the first frost during fall. Compared to most bedding plants, salvias are pretty drought-tolerant and can even attract hummingbirds.
We could go on and on discussing the different plants you can grow in sandy conditions. Some other worthy mentions include Silk trees, Black locusts, Sweet Alyssum, Siberian Pea Shrub, the Western Sword Fern, and many more.
To achieve the best success when gardening, you need to match the characteristics of different plants to the conditions of where you live.
Yes, the options are somewhat limited when you consider sandy soil but, as you can see above, there are still plenty of options to choose from.
You can mix and match many of these plants due to similar traits that have helped them adapt to sandy soils. Therefore, you can have some fun and design a landscape that is beautiful, regardless of the soil type below.