Magazine article Sunset

Surviving the "Wind Tunnel": There Are the Most Wind-Tolerant Flowering Plants

Magazine article Sunset

Surviving the "Wind Tunnel": There Are the Most Wind-Tolerant Flowering Plants

Article excerpt

Brisk summer winds from the Pacific Ocean are tough on plants in coastal gardens. They bring cooler temperatures than many plants prefer and cause water stress by increasing transpiration and evaporation. Gale-force winds can defoliate plants, spray them with salt, or even break or uproot them. Fog that accompanies wind reduces available sunlight.

The garden at the south end of San francisco's Golden gate Bridge (near Fort Point National History Site) is a splendid laboratory for observing wind resistance in plants. In this natural wind tunnel, strong breezes are nearly incessant and fog is frequent. Larger plants grown here ar tough native and exotic shrubs and trees, but through years of experiment, the gardeners have learned how to put on impressive flower displays as well.

Here are some of the most wind-tolerant flowering plants you can grow. Except as noted, all will grow in the windly,fogprone regions form Bellingham, Washington, to San Diego. Permannet plants

Agapanthus. Some (not all) are hardy in the coastal Norhtwest. Look for locally grown plants.

Cistus. Rockroses are borderline plants in the Northwest.

Echium fastuosum. Pride of Madeira is tender in the Northwest.

Escallonia. Evergreen flowering shrubs in several varieties.

Fuchsia. Small-flowered varieties are hardiest in wind.

Hemerocallis. Daylily.

Kniphofia (Tritoma). Red-hot poker.

Lantana. In the Northwest, use these as summer bedding plants.

Pelargonium. Common and ivy geraniums and Lady Washington pelargonium need winter protection in the Northwest. …

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