Good Plant Choices For A Dry, Sandy Garden

Choosing plants for a dry, sandy garden, water is the most important factor. Sandy soils drain quickly – too quickly for many plants. Some plants, however, will thrive in a lower-water environment. This is by no means a comprehensive list of good plant choices for a dry, sandy garden but should help you make a start on selecting plants for your space:


Trees:


Planting trees is a good way to help improve sandy soil. Trees that can cope with lower water and nutrient conditions will help by shading soil and reducing water loss. Deciduous trees will also provide a good source of biomass which you can add to the soil through composts and mulching. Some trees that can cope with sandy soil conditions are:


Field MapleField Maple (Acer campestre) (and a number of other Acers)

Italian alder (Alnus cordata)

Ginkgo

Birches (a number of varieties)

Adam's laburnum (Laburnocytisus) (and some other laburnums)

Prunus (a number of different varieties)

Sorbus (Rowan/mountain ash; wild service tree)

Common Robinia

Holm oak

Eucalyptus


Shrubs:


Beneath and around trees, a shrub layer can also provide abundant biomass and will also help to attract beneficial insects, birds and other wildlife. Some shrubs that will do well in a sandy soil environment are:


BuddleiaBuddleia

Berberis

Cotoneaster

Forsythia

Hardy fuchsias

Lonicera

Ribes

Viburnum

Sambucus

Helianthemum


Edible Plants:


It is wonderful to be able to grow your own food and anyone with a garden can do it. Sandy soil can present some challenges but you can still create a wonderful edible garden if you have sandy soil. Certain vegetables and other edible plants will do better than others in sandy soil. These include:


Carrots and herbsCarrot

Parnsip

Beetroot

Radish

Onions

Garlic

Asparagus

Rye

Blackberries (and other tolerant berries)

Herbs such as Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Marjoram, Sage


Flowers:


Last but not least, flowers will not only brighten up your garden and make it look beautiful, they will also help to attract pollinators and other beneficial insects to your garden. Here are just some of the beautiful flowers that can cope with dry and sandy conditions:


Cleome

Cleome

Penstemon

Lavender

California poppy

Rosa rugosa

Cosmos

Gazania

Yarrow

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)

Borage


Of course, as you improve your soil by adding organic matter and increasing biodiversity, the range of plants you are able to grow well will improve considerably. Take care of your sandy soil and it will take care of you.

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