by: Dominic Wojcik
Experience the Beauty of Sunset Beach, NC
Cold weather gets to be a drag after a few months, but there is sunshine at the end of the tunnel…vacation time! With North Carolina’s subtropical climate, a visit to Sunset Beach is the perfect way to welcome spring. Nestled in Brunswick County in the Myrtle Beach metro area, Sunset Beach combines the charm of a seaside town with its own native plants and flowers. Check out all the Sunset Beach Vacation Rentals available to you and your family here.
About Native Plants to Sunset Beach
Native plants adapt well and flourish in local environments. They don’t need much water, fertilizer, pesticides, or maintenance. They provide food and shelter for birds, insects, and wildlife.
Trees Found in Sunset Beach
Wild olive (Cartrema americana/ Osmanthus americanus)
Sometimes called devilwood trees, they’re not to be confused with their invasive cousins, the autumn olive. Devilwoods grow up to 30 feet tall in protected areas but are also flat-topped shrubs in sandy dunes. Wild olive trees have sweet-smelling flowers and glossy green foliage.
These trees with small white flowers provide thick shade while growing up to 40 feet tall. Birds enjoy the glossy black fruits and sweet almond-like fragrance.
Stately oaks grow on dunes and in sheltered areas away from the ocean.
What’s a beach without a few palm trees? The sabal palm grows up to 40 feet tall with fanning fronds at the apex. Resistant to salt and wind damage, this palm is hardy to North Carolina beaches.
The rather small tree — about 20 feet tall — is a member of the citrus family. It has scented leaves that produce a numbing sensation when chewed.
Eastern Red Cedars
These provide bluish-green cone fruits as food for more than 60 bird species. The trees grow to 40 feet tall in sheltered areas.
Shrubs in Sunset Beach
This common shrub on the coast is one of the native plants of North Carolina. Beautyberry grows from 2 to 6 feet tall and produces clusters of flowers that turn into brightly colored drupes. Birds love them!
Coastal Sweet Pepper
These bushes thrive in the summer heat. They spur tiny bottlebrush-like aromatic flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
This shrub grows from 8 to 10 feet tall. Female trees produce small waxy fruits that attract many bird species.
A native ornamental shrub with glossy leaves and bright red drupes, Yaupon serves as a low hedge or border plant. The young leaves contain caffeine good for brewing tea.
Curly Leaf Yucca
This short shrub features spine-tipped leaves. Large off-white bell flowers grow on tall stalks. You’ll see these yuccas on the dunes of Sunset Beach.
A low-growing shrub with a thick stem spreading underground, this shrub has large fan-like leaves.
Perennial Vines in Sunset Beach
These grow in a string of fragrant flowers with spreading tendrils. This semi-evergreen attracts butterflies and hummingbirds and is a popular landscaping choice.
A semi-evergreen vine with whorls of thin, trumpet-like red flowers, the flowers attract hummingbirds.
This plant has small sticky disks at the tips of tendrils to adhere to trees. The foliage has serrated leaflets that become bright red in the fall. Bluish-black berries feed birds like warblers and woodpeckers.
These produce sweet and sour oval fruits with citrusy scents.
One of North Carolina’s native grapes, the vines climb on sandy beach dunes while forming dense ground covers.
With dark green evergreen leaves, this plant shows off its small clusters of lemony-scented flowers over a twining vine. The sweet perfume attracts birds, bees, and other pollinating insects.
Other Plants on Sunset Beach
When strolling through the area, you’ll also see plumbago, scaevola, blanket flowers, rosemary, garden phlox, Japanese plum, and canna lily…just to name a few.
Must-See Natural Attractions in Sunset Beach
While you’re visiting Sunset Beach, check out Bird Island, a nature sanctuary with more than 1,200 acres of tidal creeks and salt marsh. The land protects crabs, birds, and nesting loggerhead sea turtles and other wildlife.
Legend has it that the Dreaming Tree is at least 2,000 years old. This sturdy oak tree landmark sits on Village Point Road off of Old Highway 179 from Sunset Beach.
At the end of the day, a visit to Sunset Beach Pier is the best place to watch a beautiful sunset.
Dominic Wojcik is a man with twin passions, for fitness and the outdoors. He has been writing about both for two decades.