Top 10 Plants That Thrive in Sandy Soil

Updated: Apr. 19, 2023

Since water runs right through sandy soil, the growing conditions are rather dry, even with rain. These plants for sandy soil don’t mind.

Senorita Rosalita spider flowerCourtesy of Proven Winners -

Plants for Sandy Soil: Cleome

Cleome hassleriana, annual

Plant this tropical native in your garden and you’re sure to attract attention. The tall stems of these graceful plants for sandy soil are hard to miss, topped by wispy pink, purple or white blooms that look like a spider’s lanky legs.

Check out the top 10 fast-growing annual flowers.

Bnbbyc19 Richard Murray gazina, plants for sandy soilCourtesy Richard Murray


Gazania spp., annual to Zone 8

This popular daisy produces a stunning array of colors in less-than-ideal conditions. Gazania is drought-tolerant, but it doesn’t appreciate a lack of sun. In fact, the flower heads close if the weather is too cloudy or cold. Note that may become invasive in parts of California, so consult your local extension office if you have questions about growing this plant.

We found the top 10 plants for growing in clay soil.

Yarrow in Flower Gardenbgwalker/Getty Images


Achillea spp., Zones 3 to 9

Lacy flower heads top each stem of yarrow. Varieties range from a short 6 inches to more than 4 feet tall. This hardy bloomer thrives in full sun. Yarrow should be divided in spring for the optimal summer show.

Try these plants for lansdcapes with rocky soil.

cosmosCourtesy Kay Christensen


Cosmos spp., annual

Cosmos thrives in a variety of conditions. With cultivars that range from 1 to 6 feet high, it blooms from summer to late fall in shades of orange, red, yellow, pink, purple and white. The frondlike foliage beautifully complements the flowers’ delicate petals.

These heat-tolerant plants like it hot!

Lotty's Love rugosa
Lotty’s Love rose

Rugosa Rose

Rosa rugosa, Zones 2 to 9

Love roses but hate the hassle? This fast-growing variety flourishes anywhere without much fuss. Rugosa roses easily handle poor conditions; these are good plants for sandy soils and even salty soils. They have cupped, fragrant flowers, which appear as singles, doubles or in small clusters.

Discover the best types of roses for every garden.

california poppies, drought tolerant plantsCourtesy Stephanie Gabler

California Poppy

Eschscholzia californica, annual

The California poppy’s soft blooms almost seem to glow. Available in a rainbow of colors, these ardent self-seeders grow to just 15 inches high and wide.

Enjoy blooms for years with the top 10 flowers for harvesting seeds.

Lavender flowers, plants for sandy soilWolfgang Kaehler/Getty Images


Lavandula spp., Zones 5 to 10

Known for its namesake purple flowers, no-nonsense lavender is also available in white and pink varieties. The mounding plants for sandy soil range from 1 to 4 feet in diameter, often a bit taller than they are wide, and grow best in full sun.

plants for sandy soil, Midnightmagiccrapemyrtle Baileynurseries Bailey Nurseries
Midnight magic crape myrtle

Crape Myrtle

Lagerstroemia indica, Zones 7 to 9

Crape myrtle is a year-round beauty in the South, where it thrives in the warmth and blooms from July to September. The flowers are spectacular, but the show isn’t over when summer ends: The elliptical foliage takes on brilliant reds, oranges and yellows. This tree is happiest if it’s planted in full sun.

BlanketflowerpwVia Proven Winners

Blanket Flower

Gaillardia spp., Zones 3 to 10

Not only is blanket flower bright and cheery, it’s one tough plant. Tolerant of drought and a variety of soil conditions, including those on the sandier side, this is a standout in any sunny summer garden.

Dahlberg daisies brighten up dry, sunny gardens.

drought tolerant garden, hummingbird and penstemonCourtesy Katherine Poulsen
A black-chinned hummingbird visits penstemon blooms.


Penstemon spp., Zones 3 to 10

Plant penstemon, and you’ll be singing the praises of this sturdy beauty in no time. Its tall, arching stems are laden with small, trumpet-shaped blossoms in purple, white, yellow, orange, red and pink. The plants for sandy soil do well in full sun to light shade.

Next, learn how to choose the best potting soil for every type of plant.