Many home owners have a problem spot in their landscape, whether it be deer, clay soil, sandy soil, or just a very dry location, it can be frustrating planting a shrub or perennial only to watch it fail and have to replace it with something else the next year. But we are here to help and recommend plants that can thrive in that problem location in your yard. Here we are covering our top 5 plants that grow well in sandy soil for your Southwest Michigan landscape.
This is one of my personal favorites. Not just because it thrives in sandy soil and full sun conditions…but because it also looks really cool. It just begs for you to touch it and find out how soft and silky it feels (and then says “see…told you!“). It has a silvery appearance and works best in the front of a bed (it only gets about 14” tall), consider planting in a rock garden to soften the look.
Another personal favorite is the Hibiscus. Mainly because it looks so tropical, with its dark green leaves and its big, bright flowers. But aside from looks, the Hibiscus grows quite well in sites with full sun and sandy soil. They require very little maintenance yet remain attractive (to butterflies & hummingbirds as well). The flowers are spectacular, coming in bright shades of pink, red, pale pinks, whites, and different bi-colors, and some flowers can reach a foot in diameter!
A relative of the Hibiscus is the Rose of Sharon, which is more of a shrub-tree. It does get quite big, between 9-12′ tall, and up to 10′ wide. It’s flowers look like that of the Hibiscus, except smaller, and come in white, red, lavender, light blue, and some varieties will have double blooms. Like the Hibiscus, the Rose of Sharon is easy to grow in full sun with well drained soil.
Sandy soils sometimes pose a challenge when thinking about year round interest, mainly winter. But the mugo pine is a great specimen that will love well drained sandy soils. They are smaller, and slower growing, reaching 3-5′ tall, and 6-10′ wide over 10 years. Of the small conifers, the mugo pine is the easiest to grow, and it is prized for its foliage, creating a nice texture variation among Southwest Michigan landscape beds.
Another great plant that will add winter interest is the Lenten Rose. Their leaves are evergreen, and the flowers appear very early in spring, some even in late winter, with dark purple, pink, white, and even green blooms. They are some of the easiest low-maintenance perennials to add to your Southwest Michigan landscape. The Lenten Rose will even tolerate dry shade, which can be a difficult spot for plants to thrive.