In the garden: Salt-tolerant goldenrod is a true beach baby.

Photo presented Golden Robber

Ernodea littoralis, commonly known as golden creeper or beach creeper, is a Great Island native that loves salt, sand and sun, making it an ideal coastal planting. It is native to Florida and can be found in the Florida Keys and from the coast to central Florida. It is also found in the Bahamas and most of the Caribbean.

Golden creeper is a vine-like shrub with long thin branches. 1 foot to 3 feet tall, tends to spread rather than grow. The leaves should be bright green but often have a yellow color, probably due to the stress of the harsh environment. The flowers produced are small and tubular in shape, with four pink petals and a long white corolla tube. They grow all year round.

The hardy native is often planted as a ground cover. Especially in areas such as driveway or sidewalk borders, full sun, poor soil, or distance from a water source may make other plants impractical. It does not like the cold and does not do well when winter temperatures drop below 35°F.

Unpruned plants tend to be leggy. Don’t do it at all during the winter, but give it a trim two to three times a year to help shape it as it tends to spread. In spring, the fertilizer increases its green color. A golden creeper planted in a dry area or along a beach will be a great addition to your landscape’s plant palette.

The Garden at 3889 Sanibel-Capitiva Road, Sanibel, is a community garden effort by all. For more information, contact 239-395-5859 or visit

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