Salt Tolerant Plants


While we haven’t had a lot of huge snow events this year, almost every week there’s enough of a risk of snow or ice to put down road salt at least once. Over time, this salt can splash onto parking lot and roadside plants enough to damage the foliage, or temporarily shock the soil with too much salt for the plant roots. Salt draws water out of plant cells and leaves them looking burnt and stunted. In cases of soil salt accumulation, sometimes it just looks like a plant is smaller and struggling compared to the same plant a few feet further back from the street.

But plants are incredible, and have learned to adapt to virtually any conditions the earth can throw at them. So we have some salt-tolerant plants to share with you today for planting along frequently salted roads and parking lots to avoid burnt and stunted roots and foliage. Plants native to Indiana are marked with an asterisk.

Aster Photo by Maria Gulley

Photo by Maria Gulley


  • Aster (Symphyotrichum species and hybrids)*

  • Bee Balm (Monarda species and hybrids)*

  • Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)*

  • Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii)

  • Columbine (Aquilegia species and hybrids)*

  • Daylily (Hemerocallis varieties)

  • False Indigo (Baptisia species and hybrids)*

  • Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

  • Sedum (Sedum and Hylotelephium species and hybrids)

  • Yarrow (Achillea species and hybrids)

Karl Foerster Grass Photo by Maria Gulley

Karl Foerster Grass
Photo by Maria Gulley

Ornamental Grasses

  • Karl Foerster Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’)

  • Liriope (Liriope spicata and muscari)

  • Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)*

  • Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium)*

  • Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)*

Rugosa Rose

Rugosa Rose



  • Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)

  • Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

  • Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

  • Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

  • Japanese Tree Lilac (Syringa reticulata)

  • Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)

  • River Birch (Betula nigra)

  • Sweetgum (Liquidmbar styraciflua)

  • Sweet Bay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)

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