Coastal Tolerance of Succulents
Well known and highly regarded Australian gardening identity Angus Stewart describes really well and succinctly what to look for in plants that make them suitable for coastal locations.
He states that plants with grey or needle shaped leaves, or with leathery foliage and succulents are “built to take wind and salt”.
Examples would include the grey leaved Westringia (Coastal Rosemary) and needle shaped leaf Casuarina (She-Oak).
Plants that are adapted to handle high soil or water salinity (whether through either the roots or salt spray) are referred to as Halophytes.
Halophytes differ in their adaptations for handling salinity.
Certain grasses, for instance, have adaptations to prevent salts entering the roots.
Other plants have glands that divert excess salt to specialised cells on the leaf surface.
Ice plants like our native pig-face (Carpobrotus) and Delosperma are considered to be genuine Halophytic Succulents as are Kalanchoe.
Aloes, for instance, grow naturally in coastal areas of their native South Africa, some in sand mere metres from the surf.
The ability of succulents and cacti generally to store water (therefore diluting any salinity) makes them good choices for coastal gardens.
nb. Keep in mind that the ability of succulents to handle coastal conditions means there is a chance they can establish themselves and become a nuisance plant in sand dunes and other coastal areas.