NC State Extension Publications


As in any landscape project, a site analysis is recommended before the design and construction stages. This is especially true as a careful selection of plants is very important for coastal landscapes. Plants must be tolerant of extreme adverse conditions in the natural environment. The most influencing force is salt spray. Sand, temperature and wind are also influencing factors in plant choice.

In unprotected areas it is recommended to select those plants which can withstand these native conditions. Plants that are injured by spray or strong wind will grow near the sea if protected by buildings or by screen plantings, therefore the use of many ornamentals along with native trees and shrubs can be incorporated into a plan.

Below are listed several trees, shrubs, groundcovers and vines which withstand normal seashore conditions.


Deciduous Trees
Acer plantanoides Norway maple
Acer rubrum Red maple
Betula nigra River birch
Gleditsia triacanthos Honeylocust
Liquidambar styraciflua Sweetgum
Plantanus occidentalis Sycamore
Prunus caroliniana Carolina cherrylaurel
Quercus alba White oak
Quercus coccinea Scarlet oak
Quercus marilandica Blackjack oak
Quercus stellata Post oak
Salix species Willow

Evergreen Trees
Begotia capitata Brazilian butia
Ilex opaca American holly
Ilex vomitoria Yaupon holly
Juniperus virginiana Eastern red cedar
Magnolia grandiflora Southern magnolia
Magnolia virginiana Sweetbay
Persea borbonia Redbay
Picea glauca White spruce
Pinus densiflora Japanese red pine
Pinus montana mughus Mugho pine
Pinus nigra Austrian pine
Pinus sylvestris Scotch pine
Pinus tarta Loblolly pine
Quercus virginiana Live oak
Sabel palmetto Cabbage palmetto

Deciduous / Semi-Evergreen Small Trees and Shrubs
Amelanchier canadensis Downy shadblow
Baccharis halimifolia Eastern baccharis
Berberis thungergi Japanese barberry
Cornus florida Flowering dogwood
Cotinus coggygria Common smoketree
Elaeagnus umbellata Autumn elaeagnus
Ligustrum ibota Ibota privet
Ligustrum ovalifolium Califronia privet
Lonicera tatarica Tatarian honeysuckle
Myrica pennsylvanica Northern bayberry
Prunus maritima Shrub oak
Rhus copallina Flameleaf sumac
Rhus glabra Smooth sumac
Rosa wichuraina Wichura rose
Spirea species Spireas, all kings
Tamarix gallica French tamarisk

Evergreen Shrubs
Cleyera japonica Cleyera
Elaeagnus pungens Russian olive
Euonymus japonicus Evergreen euonymus
Fatsia japonica Japanese fatsia
Ilex vomitoria nana Dwarf yaupon holly
Juniperus chinensis 'pfitzer jana' Pfitzer juniper
Juniperus conferta Shore juniper
Juniperus horizontalis Creeping juniper
Ligustrum japonicum Japanese ligustrum
Ligustrum lucidum Glossy privet
Myrica cerifera Southern waxmyrtle
Nerium oleander Oleander
Pittosporum tobira Japanese pittosporum
Podocarpus macrophyllus maki Yew podocarpus
Raphiolepis umbellata Yeddo raphiolepis
Tamarix gallica Salt cedar
Yucca varieties Yucca

Campsis radicans Trumpetcreeper
Clematis paniculata Clematis
Euonymus fortunei Wintercreeper
Gelsemium sempervirens Carolina jessamine
Lonicera sempervirens Trumpet honeysuckle
Parthenocissus quinquefolia Virginia creeper
Vitis rotundifolia michx. Muscadine grape
Wisteria sinensis Chinese wisteria

Calendua Heliopsis
California poppy Joseph's coat
Calliposis Love-Lies-Bleeding
Cape marigold Marigold
Castor bean Petunia
Cockscomb Protuclaca
Cornflower Prince's feather
Drummond phlox Scotch pink
Dwarf nasturtium Snow-on-the-Mountain
Feather cockscomb Spiderflower
Four-o'clock Strawflower
Garden balsam Stock
Gaillardia Sunflower
Godetia zinnia Sweet ayssum


Spec (Commercial Landscaping)
Horticultural Science

Publication date: Sept. 30, 1996

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