Flowers for Beach Gardens in the USA: Salt Tolerant Flowers – Bougainvillea, Ivy Geranium and Day Lily

Flowers suitable for beach gardens are dependent on the climate and growing conditions which they encounter; the ocean side states of Florida, California and Hawaii have some of the warmest ‘Mediterranean-like’ climates in the USA suitable for growing some beautiful beach flowers. However, beach side flowers have to be ‘salt tolerant’.


Plants found growing on the beach often have to contend with poor growing conditions and salt winds; the same can be said for flowers found in beach gardens, where unusually high levels of salt are found in the soil, making it difficult for plants to absorb enough water to survive.

Mediterranean Flowers for Beach Gardens

Succulents are often thought of as successful plants to grow near the ocean or beach, due to their ability to retain water; plants found in the Mediterranean also have the ability to survive long periods of time without water. Some of the exotic flower species which will survive in a beach garden include bougainvillea, ivy geranium and day lilies; not only are these plant species salt tolerant, they are also exotic, colorful and beautiful to look at.

The Discovery of the Bougainvillea Species

The bougainvillea flower species is native to South America; it owes its name to the French Admiral Louis de Bougainvillea, who sailed on a plant discovery voyage to Brazil in 1768. English botanist, Sir Joseph Banks (1743 – 1810), also recorded a scientific description of bougainvillea on the voyage of the Endeavour in 1768. Today, this exotic flower species is popular in Mexico, the Mediterranean, California, Hawaii, Florida, Australia, Thailand, the Caribbean, the Philippines and many other exotic climates.

Bougainvillea for Beach Gardens

Bougainvillea belongs to the Nyctaginaceae plant family; bougainvillea is actually a flowering vine which loves to climb. Bougainvillea can be evergreen or deciduous, depending on the climate in which it is found. The uniqueness of this flowering plant is that it is not the flowers which are colorful and beautiful but the surrounding bracts; the flowers are white in color whereas the bracts can be vibrant colors of pink, yellow, orange, red, purple or white.

Ivy Geranium for Beach Gardens

Ivy geranium (Pelargonium peltatum) belongs to the pelargonium plant family; it is also known as the hanging geranium as it is often found in hanging baskets in beach side resorts and towns. Ivy geranium is an annual flowering plant with beautiful blooms in shades of pink, red and purple; the flowers of ivy geranium are generally clustered together in umbels. Ivy geranium will add color and interest to a beach garden in a warm climate.

Day Lilies for Beach Gardens

Day lilies (Hemerocallis spp.) belong to the Hemerocallidaceae plant family; also known as ‘daylilies’ (one word spelling), the botanical name of hemerocallis is derived from the Greek words meaning ‘beauty’ and ‘day’. Each flower of the day lily survives for just one day; usually, however, there is an abundance of flower buds on each plant.

The day lily is native to Asia but is tolerant of most climate conditions, depending on the cultivar chosen; it can survive long periods of time without water. Day lilies are perennial plants of many colors; colors of day lilies vary from pink, red, yellow and orange to blue, purple and pastel shades. A day lily is a relatively small flower ranging from under 3 inches (miniature) to over 4 ½ inches (large) in size of blooms; it grows from 6 to 36 inches in height, dependent on the cultivar.

Exotic Flowers for USA Beach Gardens

Flowers for beach gardens in Florida, California and Hawaii can be both colorful and beautiful, in addition to the many plant species of succulents available; salt tolerant flowers and plants are found in many beach side towns and communities, bringing a tropical, yet colorful, feel to a beach garden.

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