Salt-Tolerant Plants: Enhancing the South Carolina Coast

Salt-Tolerant Plants: Enhancing the South Carolina Coast

The South Carolina coast is a beautiful and unique environment requiring special care and attention for landscapers. Coastal soil is much different than other regions. Therefore, using salt-resistant plants is common and very useful for maintaining a beautiful landscape design for your home.

Salt-tolerant plants will thrive with varying salinity levels in their soil. The humidity and water across the area will not hurt the crop. Instead, it will create a diverse and vibrant landscape that can withstand the harsh environmental conditions coastal Carolina homeowners face.

But what salt-tolerant plants are suitable for the South Carolina coast?  

What are their benefits, and how can they be best utilized in the coastal Carolina area? 

The History of Salt-Tolerant Plants

The ancient Egyptians were the first to recognize the importance of salt-tolerant plants. They used them in the construction of the pyramids. The Romans relied heavily on salt-tolerant plants for their roadways and coastal defenses.

Humans have been using salt-tolerant plants to thrive in coastal areas for centuries. Their role in the environment is essential. These plants are unique because they can survive high levels of salinity. Their roots help protect the soil from further erosion. By planting these salt-tolerant species, homeowners and gardeners can help;

  • restore the coastal ecosystem
  • protect the land from further erosion
  • provide habitat for various wildlife species

Salt-tolerant plants are not only found in coastal areas. You will find them worldwide, in both deserts and salt marshes. The ability to live in a saline environment has allowed these species to colonize areas that were once thought to be uninhabitable.

Today, salt-tolerant plants are used in landscaping and erosion control projects. These plants have also had a significant impact on the environment over time. They can survive in areas other plant species cannot, allowing them to act as a buffer against storms, floods, and erosion—something Coastal Carolina homeowners desperately need.

Top Salt-Tolerant Plants for South Carolina 

To best utilize these species of plants in coastal regions, here are some of the top salt-tolerant plants for South Carolina.

The most popular and widely used plants include:

Sea Oats: Sea oats are a coastal grass species native to the area. They are highly salt-tolerant, and their roots protect the soil from erosion. They can also provide a habitat for various wildlife species and attract butterflies, birds, and other beneficial insects.


Saltwort: This species can tolerate high salinity levels and is often used as a natural barrier to protect the coastline from further erosion. It also provides food and shelter to various birds and animals, making it an essential part of the local ecosystem.

Beach Morning Glory: This is a trailing vine that tolerates both salt and sand. It provides the coastline with ground cover, helping to protect the soil from the strong winds and waves of the area. It also attracts beneficial insects, such as pollinators and predators.

Photo credit yu/portemanteau

Beach Helen’s Flower: This is an evergreen shrub that provides an excellent ground cover along the coastline. It is highly tolerant of both salt and sand, making it ideal for protecting fragile soil from strong winds and waves. Not only does it provide ground cover, but it also provides a food source for local wildlife. This plant also attracts many butterflies making it a prevalent choice.

Sand Beach Daisy: This is an excellent choice for the South Carolina coastline due to its high salt tolerance. It has showy yellow blooms and grows up to 4 feet tall. It helps to stabilize dunes, protecting them from erosion caused by strong winds and waves.

Beach Elder: The Beach Elder grows as a ground cover in open, coastal uplands. It is a fast-grower that thrives in full sun in nutrient-poor soils and drought conditions. It likes salt, wind, and spray. 

Beach Grass: This grass is an excellent choice for the South Carolina coastline due to its high salt tolerance. It helps to stabilize the dunes, preventing them from eroding in strong winds and waves. 

These are just a few of the top salt-tolerant plants for South Carolina. If you are interested in gardening, you will find many other salt-tolerant plants and types of food you can grow, according to the SCDA.

In conclusion, utilizing salt-tolerant plants effectively enhances the South Carolina coastline and creates a more diverse and vibrant landscape. These species are adapted to survive in highly salinated environments, and their roots help protect the soil from further erosion. With the proper knowledge and research, anyone can hire a professional landscaping company located on the coast and make their coastal home or garden even more beautiful and resilient.

We hope you understand their importance better and feel encouraged to utilize them in your coastal environment. If you need additional information or assistance, please get in touch with Buddy’s Landscaping Services by calling (843) 593-6715 or emailing us at

Buddy's Services, LLC, Junk Removal, Calabash, NC