Native salt tolerant plants

Mon. Jan. 28, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Native salt tolerant plants

While half of us have received little snow, the other half seems to have been inundated.  Temperatures have fluctuated and our climate doesn’t seem too sure WHAT to do!

My area…. and it’s currently snowing

One thing WE know is that, when our roads get slick, slimy and/or snow-covered, the salt trucks come out.  Something else we know is that our plants are not fond of the seasoning.   Road salt can damage plants by interfering with their water uptake through their root system.

Salt damage on evergreens Photo by Purdue University

It will look like root damage or drought and include stunted growth, scorching on leaves and maybe the formation of witches brooms on shrubs on the salt side of the plant.

Witches Broom from salt damage

 We’ve talked before about salt tolerant plants but today I’m focusing on native salt tolerant plants.  

First let’s remember to take into account not all plow truck drivers stick to the road.  I’ve had them scrape my lawn too. And, always take into account the mature size of your plants as well and place them accordingly, especially if you have on street parking, you don’t want your plants trampled or hide someone’s line of sight for safety.

Consider these:

  • Butterfly weed aka milkweed aka Asclepias tuberosa  – this is the host for monarch butterflies
butterfly garden June 2018, the orange flowers are Butterfly Weed. I also have some Milkweed I transplanted this year mixed in
Barren strawberry photo by Peter M. Dzuik
Wild Bergamot
Common yarrow – photo by Peter M. Dzuik

Ornamental native grasses that tolerate salt include Big BluestemLittle bluestem and switchgrass.  I’m a big fan of grasses and would really consider a mix of these and Blackeyed Susan, which is also salt tolerant.

Switchgrass ‘dallas blues’
Black-eyed susan – granted this is not near the road but you get the picture

Additionally, Summersweet, which has a wonderful fragrance is a native salt tolerant shrub.

Clethra (aka summersweet) Sugartina ‘Crystalina’ by Proven Winners

Others include serviceberrywinterberryand hackberry.

Serviceberry fall color