Cape Cod Questions: What Grows Best On Cape Cod?

Cape Cod is known for many things, one of them being the sand and the wind. So, you might be wondering how those conditions can be conducive to any sort of garden. 

You’ll be happy to learn that the tiny lots that accompany many of the homes on the Cape are ideal for a variety of plants. In fact, many residents have created their own small oasis right in their backyard.

Whether you’re new to the uniqueness of Cape Cod yards, or you’ve been a resident for years, it’s never too late to transform your outdoor space. 

Fortunately, gardening on Cape Cod isn’t difficult. You’ll find that a wide range of lovely trees, shrubs, and flowers will thrive there.

Excited to get started? Use this guide to help you choose the most ideal plants for your yard. 

Hedges and Shrubs

Because the homes in Cape Cod are often so close together, hedges and shrubs are an easy and attractive way to create some distinction and privacy between them. 

In fact, landscaping on Cape Cod almost always includes the addition of some bushes close to the house. You’ll want to choose native plants as well as those that can grow in sandy soil.

Beach plum is an ideal choice. It thrives in Cape Cod soil conditions and has flowers that can add a nice touch of color to your garden.

The northern highbush blueberry is native to the Cape region, making it an ideal choice. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but you can harvest the berries for a tasty snack. Or use them to make pie and jam.

If you’re looking for something sturdy that can withstand the wind on Cape Cod, juniper bushes are the clear solution. They also do well in the cold so they’ll survive the winters.

If you’re looking for flowering shrubs, rhododendrons and hydrangeas are lovely choices. They offer privacy along the perimeter of your property and their flowers add color to the landscape. 

Shade Trees

Your yard might be small, but a shade tree or two provides many benefits. They boost your home’s curb appeal, but the shade they provide helps keep your home cool in the summertime. 

Great options for the Cape include dogwoods, maples, and stewartias. Each of these choices has adapted to the weather and soil conditions, making them premier choices when you’re landscaping on Cape Cod. 

Be sure you plant your trees far enough from the house that you won’t have to worry about the roots damaging your foundation or plumbing. But keep them close enough that you get the shade they provide.


Adding to the charm of your Cape home is easy when you plant vines. They can grow up the sides of your cottage, adding visual appeal to any outdoor space.  

A cascading vine is a wonderful choice, as it adds a lushness to your landscaping and a unique look to your design. Taking care of vines is important for their health and your home so proper pruning is important. 

The best choice for Cape Cod is honeysuckle. It’s fairly easy to take care of and grows well in the local climate. You’ll also love the look it adds to your garden design. 


These are flowers that bloom each year. They come back without having to replant them and are often bulbs that you can space throughout your yard.

The trick to this is to choose a variety of perennials that will bloom throughout the seasons. That way they aren’t all done flowering at once, giving you color throughout the spring and summer. 

You can even plant some perennials that will flower in the fall, extending the blooming season in your garden. 

Great choices include bleeding hearts in the spring and irises in the early summer months. Hostas and daisies are ideal for mid-summer blooming. Choose chrysanthemums and black-eyed Susans for the fall.

Campanula and peonies are other prime choices for Cape Cod gardens. You’ll also love lavender for its soothing scent and beautiful purple color. 


While perennials are great, don’t underestimate what annuals can add to your space. These are flowers that bloom once per year and you’ll have to replant them each spring. 

They’re great for filling in borders around your yard but are also ideal for piling into large planters for the front porch. 

Again, keep in mind the weather conditions when you choose the perfect annuals for your garden. Great choices include begonias and hibiscus, as they both grow well in a mix of sun and shade. 

Other annuals to consider include marigolds and zinnias. Both love the sun and add a wonderful pop of color to your outdoor space. 

Planting a Garden on Cape Cod

Flowers, shrubs, and trees are certainly part of a well-landscaped Cape Cod yard. But you might also be wondering if you can plant a vegetable garden in your space. 

Gardening on Cape Cod isn’t difficult, but it’s best to wait until nighttime temperatures stay above 50 degrees before you put anything into the ground. Late spring, usually in April, is a good time to get your seeds planted. 

Many vegetables do well in the soil and weather conditions on the Cape. Try beans, cabbage, peas, broccoli, and tomatoes. Herbs like basil, cilantro, thyme, and parsley also do well.

Because the soil is so sandy, a bit of fertilizer or other organic matter can prime it for growing other vegetables. That includes kale, carrots, beets, onions, and potatoes.

And of course, you can’t go wrong with bell peppers, chard, cucumbers, squash, green beans, and zucchini. 

Getting Started

There are so many great plants you can grow in abundance on your Cape Cod property. Create a plan before getting started so that you know where everything will go.

A combination of flowers, trees, and shrubs, mixed in with a vegetable and herb garden creates a lush and relaxing yard you’ll love spending time in. 

Before you go, check out all of the great ways we can help you create your landscaping dream here in the Cape.