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Outdoor Plants That Grow in Sand

Sandy soil creates a challenge for gardeners because it holds little moisture, has little organic matter to provide soil nutrients and is usually low in fertilizer levels. However, many outdoor plants thrive when planted in well-drained sandy soil. Because there is a wide selection of outdoor plants that like sandy soil, it is best to plant those types of outdoor plants in sandy soil because amending the soil can be time consuming and expensive.

Grape Vines

There are many types of grape vines to choose from for planting in sandy soil, but the native vines, such as the muscadine or mustang grape vines do best. Grape vines like well-drained soil and will grow wild over large areas if not kept pruned.


Privet is a shrub with a large tap root that can find deep moisture in the driest sandy soils. Privet shrubs grow in full sun and have almost no pest problems. They will need supplemental moisture for the first year to get established.

Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern red cedar is a medium fast growing evergreen tree. It has few pest and disease problems and looks good planted as a single specimen or in a row. The eastern red cedar makes a good shade tree but the shade can be so dense nothing else can grow under it. Eventual height can reach 40 feet, with a spread up to 20 feet wide.


Cosmos is an annual flower that grows up to 3 feet high with dark green feathery foliage and daisy-like flowers that bloom in spring. It reseeds in mid-summer then grows and blooms again in the fall. There are varieties with pink, white, red or orange blooms available as well as some double-blooming varieties.


Yarrrow is a perennial flowering herb that spreads by rhizomes or underground roots and produces a yellow, red or pink flower in early summer. It dies back in the hottest part of the summer but returns when the weather begins to cool in the fall. It requires little care once established.

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