Garden Help for Sandy Soil

Garden Help for Sandy Soil...

Learn about garden design help for sandy soil.

Easy hints for gardening for beginners, and anyone starting a garden...

How to improve your soil, which plants will thrive on sandy soil.

Read on to find out more...

Sandy soils are great for digging in!

...nice, light and easy to work - they are also nice, warm soils (unlike, cold claggy clay!)...

...but you still need to know how to treat the soil, to get it to perform well for you...

...and know which plants will grow well in sandy soils...

You might also find the pages on hot and dry gardens and coastal gardens useful.

Have I got Sandy Soil?

garden help for sandy soil

Sandy soil is:
  • light and gritty
  • very crumbly
  • won't roll into a ball when wet
  • light colored
  • well drained, but can often dry out
  • often acidic pH gardening soil

Find out how to check if you have sandy soil, here...

Keep your garden design actions and solutions checklist handy, to make notes helpful for your own garden...

(Find out how to use your checklist, here...)

Garden Help for Improving Sandy Soil

The main problem with sandy soil is that it drains too well - and it can often dry out...

As well as being very dry and dusty, (drought conditions), the soil nutrients have drained out of the soil too (along with the water)... it is quite poor quality.

Luckily for beginner gardening (or anyone!) improving the gardening soil doesn't require too much effort...!

...although it is an ongoing process!

The best garden help for a sandy soil is to add:

  • A thick mulch of organic matter every year
  • Don't bother digging it in - as it will drain itself away quickly enough in any case!
  • Grow evergreen ground-cover plants, to protect the soil from the drying-out effects of the sun, and the harsh winter rains
  • Add slow release fertilisers

Also look at the pages on hot and dry gardens and coastal gardens... well as the page on acid gardening soils, for more garden help and information.

Garden Help for Choosing Plants for Sandy Soil

Sandy gardening soil can make it very difficult for plants to grow and survive in...

It's often very dry and of poor quality.

The ideas for gardening for beginners for improving the quality of the soil (above) will really help...

...but it's still a good garden design idea to choose plants that actually enjoy growing in these conditions!

Coastal (sea) plants and desert or Mediterranean plants are often very good in these conditions...

Some plants to try...

  • Betula ermanii (Erman's Birch)
    • Beautiful specimen or woodland tree, with stunning white bark
    • Most Betula (Birch) will grow well on sandy soil
  • Cercis siliquastrum (Judas Tree)

    garden help for sandy soil - try Cercis siliquastrum - The Judas Tree

    Cercis siliquastrum
    (Judas Tree)

    • Tree with lovely pink blossom
  • Robinia Pseudoacacia 'Frisia' (Black Locust)
    • Pretty tree, with bright, yellow leaves
  • Cistus x skanbergii (Rock Rose)
    • A compact version, with lovely pink flowers
  • Cytisus x praecox 'Warminster' (Warminster Broom)
    • Covered in pretty yellow flowers in Spring
  • Helianthum 'Raspberry Ripple' (Rock Rose)
    • Lovely white and pink flowers
    • Ground cover (neutral to alkaline soil)
  • Hibiscus syriacus 'Woodbridge'
    • Gorgeous, big magenta flowers in late summer to autumn
  • Lavandula stoechas (French or Spanish Lavender)

    garden help for sandy soil  - Lavandula stoechas, French lavender, Spanish lavender

    Lavandula Stoechas
    (French or Spanish Lavender)

    • Aromatic herb - pretty! Great for cottage garden or mediterranean garden styles
  • Lavatera 'Kew Rose' (Mallow)
    • Lots of pink flowers over Summer - lovely, pretty plant!
  • Rosa 'American Pillar' or 'Chaplins Pink Climber' or 'Zephirine Droubin'
    • Rambling roses with pink flowers
  • Achillea filipendulina 'Cloth of Gold' or 'Gold Plate' (Yarrow)

    garden help for sandy soil - try Yarrow - Achillea filipendulina 'Gold Plate'

    Achillea filipendulina 'Gold Plate'

    • Lovely, yellow flowered perennial
    • Leave sead heads on over winter, for longer interest and to attract wildlife
  • Coreopsis verticillata (Tick seed)
    • Lots of little yellow flowers all summer
  • Echinops sphaerocephalus and Echinops ritro 'Veitch's Blue' (Globe Thistle)
    • Unusual, blue globe flowers - very striking!
  • Eremurus robustus (Foxtail Lily)

    garden help for sandy soil - eremerus robustus - Foxtail Lily

    Eremus robustus
    (Foxtail Lily)

    • Impressive, tall columns of pale flowers - love them!
  • Eryngium (Sea Holly)
    • Blue and purple flowers - unusual structure and form (spiky!)
  • Limonium platyphyllum (Sea Lavender)
    • Tiny purple flowers - great for wildlife gardens.
  • Lupinus (Lupin)
    • Very pretty - an excellent choice for a traditional cottage garden - various flower colors.

garden help for sandy soil - lupin - lupinus - excellent for a cottage garden style


Also try:

  • Nerine bowdenii (Bowden Cornish Lily, Guernsey Lily)
  • Phlox bifida (Sand Phlox)
  • Salvia officinalis (Sage)
  • Potentilla nepalensis (Nepal Cinquefoil, Cinquefoil)
  • Tanacetum parthenium (Feverfew)
  • Verbascum (Mullein)
  • Armeria juniperifolia (Thrift)
  • Artemisia (Wormwood)
  • Sempervivum (House Leek)
  • Sedum (Stonecrop)
  • Calendula officinalis (Pot marigold)
  • Dianthus (Pinks)
  • Helichrysum bracteatum (Straw Flower, Everlasting Flower)(aka Xerochrysum bracteatum)
  • Tagetes (Marigold)
  • Papaver somniferum (Ornamental types) (Common poppy)

I hope these suggestions and ideas help with your sandy soil gardening problems...

Get more garden help and planting ideas for sandy soils in the pages on:

Remember to make notes of any recommended solutions to help your own garden, here...

More about how to use your checklist, on the main page for Using Site Considerations to Design a Garden

Return to the main page for the Soil Gardening Guides

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