Salt Tolerant Ground Cover
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Jeff Barone
Posted on: June 10, 2003

I’m a landscape artist out of Massachusetts.

I just placed an order with you for wild thyme seed packets.

I need a salt tolerant ground cover... low grower... 1-4 inches. Can you give me a suggestion please?

Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) is salt-tolerant. It grows 2-6 inches (5-15 cm) high, has red-orange flowers from June to September, and can form mats. It is often found growing spontaneously along roadsides in areas where road salt is used because it, unlike many other wild plants and weeds, can tolerate the high salt levels in the soil.

It is also known as "poor man’s weather-glass" because its flowers open during sunny weather and close during overcast weather. The flowers are 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) across. A close-up of the flowers can be seen at http://www.bioimages.org.uk/HTML/P162631.HTM.

There are not a lot of herbs that are known to be salt-tolerant. Here are several others that turned up in our database (though none grows as a low ground cover): ephedra, melilot and seabuckthorn.

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