Top Plants that Thrive in Sandy Soil

Gardening in sandy soil can be challenging, but sand can actually provide a good foundation for certain plants. The key to growing beautiful plants in a sandy garden is to know what thrives and what doesn’t. We’re going to introduce you to 15 plants that do well in sandy soil. In this article, we’ll cover:

Gardening in sandy soil can be challenging. Water and nutrients drain quickly through the loose composition, making it difficult for many plants to thrive. However, by selecting varieties adapted to sandy conditions, you can still have a beautiful and bountiful garden.

Certain hardy plants have evolved an ability to flourish in nutrient-poor sandy soils Let’s explore some of the best options to incorporate for landscapes, flower beds, and edible gardens in sandy settings

Trees That Tolerate Sandy Soil

Trees provide structure and height to anchor the garden, Consider these trees that grow well in sandy soils

  • River Birch – A fast-growing birch tree that reaches 40-70 feet tall Provides nice fall color Handles dry soil. Zones 4-9.

  • Austrian Pine – Evergreen pine growing to 50-60 feet tall. Tolerates dry, acidic, infertile soil. Zones 3-7.

  • Japanese Black Pine – Evergreen pine becoming 30-80 feet tall. Does well in sandy acidic soil. Zones 7-10.

  • Scarlet Oak – Reaches 60-75 feet tall with brilliant red fall foliage. Prefers acidic, sandy sites. Zones 4-9.

  • Jack Pine – Cold hardy evergreen pine that grows to 20-60 feet. Thrives in poor sandy soils. Zones 1-5.

  • Pitch Pine – Medium pine reaching 60-90 feet tall. Grows well in acidic, sandy, infertile soil. Zones 3-8.

Shrubs for Sandy Soil Landscapes

Medium-sized shrubs help create structure and fill space in sunny sandy locales:

  • Bearberry Cotoneaster – Low-growing evergreen shrub with small glossy leaves. Produces white flowers and red berries. Zones 5-7.

  • Mugho Pine – Dwarf evergreen shrub growing 4-6 feet tall. Handles poor, sandy soils. Zones 3-7.

  • Arrowwood Viburnum – Tough shrub growing to 6 feet tall. Features white spring flowers and blue berries in fall. Zones 2-8.

  • Summersweet Clethra – Deciduous shrub with fragrant white summer blooms. Grows to 6 feet. Zones 4-9.

  • Bayberry – Semi-evergreen shrub reaching 5-12 feet tall. Tolerates salt spray, winds, and sandy soils. Zones 3-7.

  • Bush Honeysuckle – Fast growing shrub with sweetly fragrant white and yellow flowers. Grows in any soil. Zones 2-6.

Perennials for Sandy Flower Beds

Build flower beds with tough perennials adapted to sandy conditions:

  • Coneflower – Showy daisy-like flowers in shades of purple, pink, white, and yellow. Attracts birds and butterflies. Zones 3-9.

  • Tickseed – Clusters of bright yellow daisy flowers. Blooms spring to frost. Attracts pollinators. Zones 3-10.

  • Catmint – Spikes of lavender-blue flowers. Withstands drought and heat once established. Zones 3-8.

  • Poppy Mallow – Large hibiscus-like blooms in pink, red, white. Tolerates dry sandy soil. Zones 5-11.

  • Lamb’s Ear – Grown for soft, velvety silver foliage. Purple flower spikes. Spreads readily. Zones 4-8.

  • Salvia – Drought-tolerant with tubular flowers in shades of red, purple, pink, white. Attracts hummingbirds. Zones varies.

Shrubs for Edible Plantings in Sandy Soil

Sandy ground needs tough plants to produce edible crops. Some good choices include:

  • Elderberry – Produces clusters of tart purple berries, excellent for jellies and wine. Prefers full sun. Zones 3-10.

  • Juneberry – Forms white spring blooms followed by blueberry-like fruits. Zones 3-8.

  • American Persimmon – Grows sweet orange fruits, but needs male and female plants. Hardy into zone 4.

  • Pawpaw – Forms clusters of creamy banana-flavored fruits. Cold hardy to zone 5.

  • Bush Cherries – Compact self-pollinating cherry shrubs. Produces sweet red fruits in summer. Zones varies.

  • Hazelnuts – Grows sweet, delicious nuts. American hazelnut tolerates dry sandy soils. Zones 3-9.

More Tips for Growing in Sandy Soils

  • Add organic matter – Blend in several inches of compost or well-rotted manure to help improve moisture and nutrient retention.

  • Use drought-tolerant varieties – Seek out plants labeled for dry conditions. Native plants are excellent choices.

  • Mulch beds – Apply 2-3 inches of shredded bark, leaves, straw or other organic mulch to conserve moisture and reduce weeds.

  • Water thoroughly – When watering, soak the entire root zone instead of light sprinkles. Avoid runoff.

By selecting the right plants for sandy settings, you can create a thriving landscape. Focus on hardy native plants and varieties proven to grow well in dry, nutrient-poor soils. With smart choices, sandy sites can flourish.

1 Salvia (Salvia officinalis L.)

best plants for sandy soil

Another pollinator favorite, salvia is a colorful plant that flourishes from summer to fall. Its tubular flowers, which come in white, pink, purple, blue, and red, are densely packed over square stems. This plant, which is also called sage, can handle heat, drought, and deer. You can grow it in containers or in your garden, but it’s important to pick the right variety for your area.

The genus Salvia is in the mint family and has more than 960 species of annual and perennial plants. Some popular varieties include scarlet sage, pitcher sage, hybrid sage, and pineapple sage.

  • USDA hardiness zones: 4-10
  • Type: Annual or perennial
  • Maintenance requirements: Very low
  • Blooming season: Spring to summer when rapid growth occurs
  • Mature size: 1-6 feet tall and wide
  • Needs for Fertilizer: Fertilizer is only needed sometimes, preferably in early spring.
  • Low water needs—the plant can handle drought well, but it will grow better if you water it every once in a while.
  • Sunlight needs: Full sun

Carrots (Daucus carota)

best plants for sandy soil

Carrots are biennial vegetables that need sandy soil to burrow easily and grow deep into the ground. These vegetables have fern-like compound leaves with long, orange roots. The leaves are triangular and have a soft texture. They are held upright by a tuft of tiny leaves.

If you let carrot plants grow in sandy soil for a second year, they will flower in white clusters that are 1 foot tall. These flowers are called an umbel. After pollination, seeds form and drop to the ground to germinate.

  • USDA hardiness zones: 3-10
  • Type: Biennial vegetable
  • Maintenance requirements: Moderate to low
  • Blooming season: Spring, first bloom in second season
  • Grows to be 1-2 inches across, with roots 6-12 inches deep and leaves 1 foot long.
  • Low in fertilizer needs, but it needs to be fed about two weeks after the carrots come up.
  • Water needs: At least one inch every week
  • Sunlight needs: Full sun to partial shade

My Top 5 Plants For Sandy/Dry Soil!


Can perennials grow in sand?

The best perennials for sandy soil are the ones that like good drainage and low soil fertility. At the garden centre or nursery, plants labelled as suitable for poor or light, well drained soils are the ones to choose and will require very little input from you, the gardener.

Can you plant anything in sandy soil?

Plants that prefer well-drained, and often droughty root zone conditions grow well in sandy soils. Gardeners may experience difficulties growing plants that prefer higher moisture levels because plantavailable moisture in sand is used much quicker than with finer textures, like clay.

What is the best ground cover for sandy soil?

Stonecrop. This tough ground cover stands up to heat, drought, rocky soil, deer, and even foot traffic. Stonecrop is a perennial sedum that tolerates poor soil and some shade, but it thrives in sunny areas with sandy, well-draining soil.

What types of gardens grow well in sandy soil?

One of the best types of gardens to grow in this environment is a rock garden because plants that tend to grow well in rocky soil will also grow well in sandy soil. Gardens that have a lot of ground cover will also do well in sandy soil, so you will have options for your garden.

What flowers grow well in sandy soil?

Do not fret; here is a list of 35 flowers that will grow beautifully in sandy soil. This flower blooms for two months in spring as a bright yellow ground cover for garden edges. Basket of gold ( Aurinia saxatilis) is a bright yellow ground cover that makes a lovely addition to your garden edges.

What makes a good sandy soil garden?

The key to success in your sandy soil garden is to understand the properties of this soil type and to choose plants that have adapted to thrive there. That way, instead of fighting with nature for plants that don’t want to live there, you can sit back and enjoy a great looking garden with very little maintenance.

Which herbs grow best in sandy soil?

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is another common herb you can add to your garden that features sandy soil. Known to be drought-tolerant and suitable for small plots, as pointed out by Washington State University, this plant is perfect for a home garden filled with other tasty herbs that thrive in gritty soil. Bloom Season: Summer

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