Thursday, May 22, 2008

Salt-Tolerant Perennials

When you live in the city, your front yard plantings tend to get salted every winter. City salt trucks spray the streets, and then the salty snow gets plowed and shoveled up onto the sidewalks and into planting areas. So even if you don't personally use salt as an ice-melter, your plants get exposed.

My first year at this house, I didn't think of salt, and I lost two St. John's Worts I really liked. A replacement Hypericum moseranum 'Tri-color' overwintered nicely in the back yard. Other plants seems to do fine in the salty front planter: sedums, hens-n-chicks, monarda, salvia, rudbeckia, columbine. My mother's curbside plantings are also robust: several kinds of iris, oriental poppies (shown above), creeping phlox, salvia, sedum, and a spurge that wintered well after being moved from my yard. She lives on a street with school bus and public bus routes, so it is heavily salted.

I compiled a list of salt-tolerant plants, from multiple online sources and our own experience:
Achillea millefolium (Yarrow)
Allium senescens (Ornamental Onion)
Aquilegia vulgaris (Columbine)
Arabis (Rockcress)
Armeria maritima 'Rubrifolia' (Sea Thrift)
Artemesia (Wormwood)
Bergenia (Pig Squeak)
Campanula (Bellflower)
Cerastium tomentosum (Snow-in-summer)
Dianthus (Pinks)
Digitalis purpurea (Foxglove)
Erigeron (Fleabane)
Erynigum planum (Sea Holly)
Euphorbia (Cushion Spurge)
Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)
Goniolimon tataricum (German Statice)
Gypsophila (Baby's Breath)
Hellebores (Lenten Rose)
Helianthemum (Sun Rose)
Hemerocallis (Daylily)
Heuchera (Coral Bells)
Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)
Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker)
Limomium latifolium (Sea Lavender, Statice)
Liriope spicata (Lilyturf)
Lotus corniculatus (Bird's Foot Trefoil)
Lupinus (Lupine)
Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm)
Monarda (Bee Balm)
Oenothera (Sundrops, Evening Primrose)
Papaver Orientale (Oriental Poppy)
Penstemon (Beardtongue)
Perovskia (Russian Sage)
Phlox subulata (Creeping Phlox)
Phlox paniculata (Tall Phlox)
Potentilla (Cinquefoil)
Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan)
Saponaria (Soapwort)
Sedum (Stonecrop)
Sempervivum (Hen & Chicks)
Sidalcea malviflora - Prairie Mallow
Stachys (Lamb's Ear)
Thymus (Creeping Thyme)
Veronica (Speedwell)
Waldsteinia ternata (Barren Strawberry)
Yucca (Adam's Needle)

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