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Common Name:

Sea Oats

Scientific Name:

Uniola paniculata

Family Name:

Poaceae (Gramineae)


Sea Oats is a warm season semi-evergreen herbaceous perennial grass native to coasts of the Eastern US from Virginia to Texas. It plays a critical role in dune stabilization and also serves as an excellent ornamental for coastal landscapes. This erect grass bears showy one-sided panicles of seeds resembling oats, hence the common name of Sea Oats. Plants are very picturesque gently waving in a coastal breeze.

Plant Habit or Use:

Perennial, grasses


sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

Small flattened greenish spikelets, not particularly showy.

Blooming Period:

Spring, summer

Fruit Characteristics:

Showy one-sided nodding seed heads resembling oats.


3 ft to 5 ft (8 ft)


1 ft to 3 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: Non-Defined Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Non-Defined Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Non-Defined Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: Non-Defined Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Non-Defined Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

USDA Hardiness Zones:

8, 9, 10, 11

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Extremely salt tolerant. One of the few plants to live right on the shore's edge.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.