Salt Tolerant Plants

When designing or selecting plant material for a city parkette or garden the information on plant material that will tolerate salt and salt spray has been lacking. Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association has published a small survival guide for the professional. It contains a list of trees and shrubs that will tolerate salt and breaks them down into the categories of high salt tolerance, moderate salt tolerance and low salt tolerance. This has been very helpful but the gap is now what perennials will tolerate salt.

After five years of study Laura Deeter an Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute researcher has released a short list of perennials that are, salt tolerant.

The following perennials have proven to have a High Salt Tolerance.
Sea Thrift – Armeria maritima
Karl Foerster Reed Grass – Calmagrostis acutifolia ‘Karl Foerster’
Helen Allwood Pinks – Dianthus pulminarius x allwoodii
Sea Thrift Armeria maritima
Blue Lyme Grass – Elymus arenarius
Fountain Grass – Pennisetum alopecuroides


The following perennials were shown to be moderately salt tolerant
Powis Castle Artemisia – Artemisia absinthium x Powis Castle
Silver Mound Artemisia – Artemisia schmidtiana ‘Silver Mound’
Elijah Blue Festuca Grass – Festuca sp. ‘Elijah Blue’
Hosta – Hosta plantaginea
Sedum Autumn Joy – Sedum spectabile   ‘Autumn Joy’
Stella D’Oro Daylily – Hemerocallis hybrida ‘Stella d’Oro’
Sea Lavender – Limonium latifolium
Lilyturf – Liriope spicata
Palace Purple Coral Bells – Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple


The following Trees & Shrubs are selected from Landscape Ontario’s Survival Guide for Professionals

Trees & Shrubs with High Tolerance

Green Ash – Fraxinus Americana
Shademaster Locust – Gelditsia triacanthos
Larch – Larix species
Colorado Spruce – Picea pungens
Austrian Pine – Pinus nigra
Ornamental Pears – Pyrus species
Junipers – Juniperus species
Large Toothed Aspen – Populus grandidentata
Red Oak – Quercus rubra
Siberian Pea – Caragana arborescens
Honeysuckle – Lonicera species
Bridalwreath Spirea – Spiraea x Vanhouttei
Snowberry – Symphoricarpus species
Lilacs – Syringa species

Emerald Juniper

Emerald Juniper

Trees & Shrubs with Moderate Salt Tolerance

Silver Maple – Acer Saccharinum
Paper Birch – Betula papyrifera
Catalpa – Catalpa species
Norway Spruce – Picea abies
Basswood – Tilia Americana
Forsythia – Forsythia x intermedia
Shrub Maple – Acer ginnala
Boxwood – Buxus microphylla
Mockorange – Philadelphus species
Firethorn – Pyracantha species
Cranberry Viburnum – Viburnum trilobum


Forsythia Spring Gold

Armed with this information we should now be able to better design the gardens near our driveways, streets and public areas where salting is necessary to enable public access in our far to long winters.

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