Shrubs for dry sandy soil
Sandy soils dry out easily, allowing rainwater to filter through quickly with limited water and nutrient retention. This makes them ideal for Mediterranean and drought tolerant plants, which thrive in these types of conditions. Whilst lavender is perhaps the obvious choice for sandy soils, other shrubs such as amelanchier, spotted laurel, berberis, butterfly bush, callistemon, caryopteris, ceanothus, cherry laurel, choisya, dogwood, witch hazel, cotinus, cotoneaster, elaeagnus, escallonia, euonymus, hebe, hydrangea, holly, lavatera, lavender, lonicera, mahonia, photinia, potentilla, pyracantha, sambucus, skimmia, spiraea, syringa, viburnum, vinca and weigela. Sandy soils also benefit from being easy to work and warm up quickly in spring, helping your plants come out of the winter dormancy period and burst into growth. The best natural way to improve sandy soils is to dig in plenty (1-2 buckets per square metre) of well-rotted organic matter such as garden compost or manure. Incorporate a slow-release fertiliser such as Osmocote when planting and mulch with a 5cm (2 inch) layer of bark to suppress weeds and aid water retention. Water thoroughly and regularly through periods of dry weather, especially whilst your plants become established.