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The Best Salt-Tolerant Plants for Your Coastal Florida Landscape

Michael Tomaino Michael Tomaino

The Best Salt-Tolerant Plants for Your Coastal Florida Landscape

In Florida, the phrase “can’t live with it, can’t live without it” can absolutely, 100%, without a doubt apply to the coastal, salty environment.

On one hand, we love to love it—c’mon, tell us one whiff of a salty breeze doesn’t make you feel like you’ve been transported to a tropical paradise. On the other hand, it can make our lives a whole heck of a lot harder—especially when it comes to keeping a lush, Florida landscape.

Picking the perfect plants, trees, flora, fauna, groundcover, and more that can do more than just withstand the salty goodness of Florida coastal living is no easy task. Why? Because you’re not just looking for something that can handle the salt, you’re looking for something that’s going to thrive despite the salt. Maybe even thrive because of the salt.

That’s right, folks, you’re looking for an entire class of salt-tolerant plants, and it’s totally possible to find them with a little help.

The right plant for the right place rule can be a little tricky, but luckily, we’re here to help. We’ve been landscaping throughout Florida for over 20 years, so we know a thing or two about how to pick the perfect plants that’ll thrive in the salty seascapes of Florida.

Whether you’re running your own residential landscape just for fun or you need to make sure your commercial landscaping on the coast is fresh as can be, these plants, flowers, and more are the perfect pick for your salt-tolerant needs.

Why Does Salt Wreak Havoc on Flora & Fauna?

Remember that one time your doctor told you that salt isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to your diet, but it’s definitely one of those “only in moderation” situations if you’re trying to monitor your health? Well, that’s sort of the same thing when it comes to most plants.

Salt exists in soil and in irrigation water, and for most plants, it’s really not a big deal if a little salt gets into the soil. But when excess concentrations of salts dissolve into soil water, well that’s where things get tricky.

When too much salt dissolves in water, the sodium and chloride ions separate and then can cause harm to the plants when they’re readily absorbed and transported to the leaves. Why? Because they can sit and accumulate there at toxic levels and kill the plants.

Some plants, though, often called halophytes, can grow in soil or water that has high salinity—think of things like seashores, sloughs, marshes, mangrove swamps, and even semi-deserts. Sound like Florida to you?

The Best Salt-Tolerant Plants for Your Coastal Florida Landscape

Looking for some suggestions? We’ve definitely got a few. Remember, this is just a small sampling of the huge variety of salt-tolerant plants out there.


Scientifically known as Nerium oleander, this salty-hardy beauty has a bit of a mixed-up reputation. Sure, the parts of this plant are toxic if eaten, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great addition to a sea-side landscape so long as it’s kept away from pets and children. Oleander is fast-growing, blooms beautiful flowers, and can grow pretty much directly beachside without any issue. Highly tolerant to salt, drought, and abuse, this tough beauty can bring some evergreen joy to your life.

Salt Spray Rose

Rosa rugosa, or salt spray roses, are scraggly, perennial and so beachy. This rose is unlike other roses because it’s not at all fussy, grows like a woody shrub, and thrives in high sun, bad soil, and plenty of salt in its diet. It bears reddish-orange rose hips and grows flowers in beautiful spurts of pink, purple, yellow, or white.

Wax Myrtle

Otherwise known as Southern bayberry, this beautiful plant is hardy and strong, easily growing on Florida coastlines. Easy to care for and exceptionally salt tolerant, this native Florida shrub will thrive in full sun and—bonus—is an excellent host for butterflies and birds.

Oak Trees

Even though oak trees aren’t the first thing we think of when our minds wander to salt-tolerant plants, there’s no denying these stately live oaks do exceptionally well in a salty environment. There are nineteen species of oak that are native to Florida and all of them have long lifespans. Known for their durability, oak trees are pretty hurricane resistant and never struggle growing in a salty space.

Fountain Grass

Easy, breeze, and beautiful blowing in the coastal wind, fountain grass is a must for all seaside landscapes looking for something durable but a touch flashy. Growing about four-feet tall and four feet wide, this upright plant has a pink (almost purple) fluorescence that’s feathery and fun. Requiring almost no attention, this grass will flourish in high salt, full sun environments.


Easy to establish, highly salt-tolerant, and exceptionally beautiful, daylilies provide a little drop of color in the midst of a salty environment. They’re pest-free, have a long blooming period, and are exceptionally hardy, making them a great choice for seaside landscapes.

Beach Sunflower

We can’t mention salt-tolerant plants without mentioning the crowning gem of Florida’s coastlines—the beach sunflower. These butterfly-attracting plants are native to Florida and line the beaches. They’re drought-resistant, salt-tolerant, and absolutely perfect for hot, dry sites (like on your coastal landscape).

Need some advice for even more types of plants? Give us a call! We’re happy to provide you with our expertise, our knowledge, and even offer you our opinions on some of our favorite salt-tolerant plants for your coastal Florida landscape.

So, what are you waiting for? Reach out to us ASAP! Give us a call at (727)-201-3540. Want to contact us directly? Click our contact page and fill out our info form here!

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Michael Tomaino

Michael Tomaino

Head Gardener for Landcrafters, Inc. Michael Tomaino, a cornerstone of Landcrafters since its inception, oversees all aspects of business operations with a wealth of experience. With years of adept team management and leadership under his belt, coupled with a robust educational background, both within and beyond the industry, Michael is dedicated to steering Landcrafters towards becoming the foremost landscape management provider in the Tampa Bay Area.