soil - Knowledgebase Question

Sarasota, Fl
Question by barbarasimps
March 31, 2010
i am renting a place that has sand everywhere very little dirt. I was able to plant impatience and they have survived so far. My question is are there any plants and also schrubs (like hibiscus) that can and will survive in the matter? Also we would like to plant a garden any other recommendations? Thank you, Barbara

Answer from NGA
March 31, 2010


Sandy soils leach nutrients easily because of quick drainage and are relatively nutrient-poor. It can be a real challenge to garden in sandy soils but you can improve the soil prior to planting. If you dig in organic compost to improve the soil structure, retain moisture and maintain fertility, and apply periodic applications of fertilizer to boost soil nutrients, you'll have better success. Here are some plants that adapt well to sandy soils:

Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) - Trumpet vine grows well on sandy soil (and most other soils) and tolerates dry conditions, but does best when provided with ample water. Trumpet vine is cold hardy to zone 4 and grows easily--it can become a weed because of its durability. Trumpet vines are deciduous woody vines that spread where roots and branches touch the ground. Trumpet vine flowers are trumpet-shaped, orange-red and 3 inches long in clusters of four to 12.

Memorial Rose (Rosa wichuraiana) - Memorial rose has a "ground hugging" form and is hardy to zone 6. Grow memorial rose on well-drained soil, in full sun. Memorial rose is a ground cover with glossy green leaves and white flowers with bright yellow centers.

Pinks (Dianthus) - Pinks belong to the carnation family (Caryophyllaceae), and vary in hardiness and size, but most grow well in gritty, well-drained soil. Thousands of cultivars of pinks exist in varying colors, size and pattern. The name "pinks" comes from the appearance of the petal edges which look jagged, or cut by pinking shears.

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) - Rose of Sharon is a deciduous, bushy shrub with showy, 4-inch wide single or double flowers in shades of white, pink, red, lavender and blue. Grow rose of Sharon in full sun or very light shade on fertile, well-drained soil. Improve sandy soil for rose of Sharon with organic compost.

Periwinkle (Vinca major) - Grow periwinkle in moist, sandy soil in partial to full shade. Periwinkle is an evergreen, shrubby plant, growing to a maximum of 18 inches tall, with indeterminate spread. Periwinkle flowers are showy, bluish-purple and 2 inches wide.

Yarrow (Achillea spp.) - Yarrow is a clump-forming, evergreen perennial with narrow, feathery leaves and light yellow, flat clusters of flowers. Grow yarrow on well-drained soil in open, sunny sites.

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