Shrubs suitable for coastal sites

Sea Buckthorn - 2We are often asked which plants are most suited for coastal planting; that will withstand a battering from the elements and possibly the salty water as well. So we have collected our thoughts together for you in this blog.



Sea Buckthorn – Hippophae rhamnoides

The obvious first choice is Sea Buckthorn – Hippophae rhamnoides (pictured above).

A very attractive tall suckering shrub, found growing wild on sand dunes and coastal sites. With narrow, silvery leaves and masses of striking orange berries on female plants in autumn, it has a long season of interest; the berries remain on the plants all winter. Its ability to withstand coastal gales and salt spray makes it invaluable as shelter belt for other planting under these conditions.

Osier Willow – Salix viminalis

Common Osier - 2

Next it would have to be Osier Willow – Salix viminalis.

A fast-growing native shrub, often found in wet or damp situations in the countryside. The young stems are yellow in spring, and the yellow-green catkins attract a variety of insects. The Common Osier is best known as a source of stems for basket-making, but in recent years it has become familiar as the plant used to make living willow sculptures. Environmentally, it is useful for its ability to absorb heavy metals, and is planted to clean up contaminated sites. Performs well on wet and boggy soils, chalk and coastal areas.

Purple Osier Willow – Salix purpurea

Purple Osier - 2

Likewise the Purple Osier Willow – Salix purpurea is sturdy enough for the coastal weather conditions. It is an attractive, fast-growing native deciduous shrub with a spreading, bushy habit. Its arching stems are a pronounced reddish purple, giving it year-round interest. The slender leaves are glossy green, with a blue-ish underside, and are seen to best advantage in windy situations when the whole plant brings life and movement to the garden. It makes excellent waterside planting.

Common Dogwood – Cornus sanguinea


Or you could consider the Dogwood family, for example the Common Dogwood – Cornus sanguinea 

A British native, very upright suckering shrub, with good autumn colour and reddish stems in winter, Dogwood is often seen wild on the chalky soils of S.E. England. In fact it will grow in almost any soil, and is particularly useful for damp sites. A good wildlife plant, it can be used in mixed wildlife hedges and makes an effective barrier along watersides where there is public access, again would cope well with a coastal siting.

Hazel – Corylus avellana


Finally we would recommend you considering good old Hazel – Corylus avellana.  Hazel is an attractive, fast-growing multi-stemmed shrub or small tree whose large yellow catkins in February give the first inkling that spring is on its way. With a good rounded shape, and handsome leaves with yellow autumn colour, it is a versatile plant which can be used in a variety of ways. It has excellent wildlife value, and is planted commercially for its nut harvest in autumn. Hazel will do well in most soils. It tolerates shade well and is often planted as an under-storey to oaks in woodland. WIll cope well on coastal sites.



Leave a Reply