Heat/drought tolerant gardens

lylesgardens(7)May 7, 2008

Living in this part of NC as many of you know we are still under water restrictions. We've had rain lately yes but not nearly enough to lift any bans. We can water gardens on Tues and Sat each week now but thats it. What I wanted to know, since forecasting this summer to be VERY hot and VERy dry...what kinds of nice plants could I use to create a nice heat and drought tolerant garden that will have some color. I have a nice southwest area that gets plenty of light, but dappled shade in the late afternoon and evening. I've researched plants and I am looking for things that grow big, are more or less care-free and that flower. Russian sage is one species I am definately planting in the back of the garden for height and mass. Everything I have read about this species is perfect for this area ( large, perennial, care-free, soil-heat-drought tolerant)Anyone have any perennial suggestions for the middle and front parts size and mass wise?


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Not sure if all of these meet your "big" requirement but I've had good luck with the following perennials wrt drought tolerance once they're established. These plants are in full sun and my soil is ammended clay (I think the clay holds the water better than sandier soils.)

- Verbena "Homestead Purple"
- Salvia nemerosa "Caradonna" and "May Night"
- Liatris spicata
- Butterfly weed (asclepias tuberosa)
- Nepeta (catmint)
- Iceplant (delosperma cooperi)(Short groundcover)
- Tall Garden Phlox
- Aster "Woods Purple"
- Daylilies (the amount of bloom is affected by how much it rains, but they'll survive a drought)
- Goldenrod "Fireworks" (this gets 3-4' tall and forms a wide clump)
- Balloon Flower
- Veronica "Royal Candles"

- Rosemary (this can get really big)
- Thyme
- Oregano

- Butterfly bush

This year I'm trying some new perennials that I've heard are drought-tolerant so we'll see how they do:
- Candytuft
- Yarrow

Good luck with your garden!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 12:29PM
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the flowers that did the best in my front yard were vincas. they were absolutely amazing, especially because they voluntarily reseeded and i couldn't water them much last year.

durham NC

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 1:06PM
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Psims- all excellent choices. Thanks for your input! I already have daylilies and the asters...but I'll do a search on the rest and see if they fit my plan....for size! I wanted to have large in back, medium in front of that and small for the front.

Pat- I like vincas but those have been a plant that for me has been hard to get going, most of mine die off after a few weeks of looking good! I dont know if it is me, or the soil they are in. I've had luck with them off and on.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 4:17PM
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Last year the things that did the best for me in the drought conditions were gaura, caryopteris 'Summer Sorbet', penstemon, Black and Blue salvia, and hellebores (they need shade, so they might not work where you are planting). My daylilies did pretty well, though some went dormant. I planted some baptisia this year, since I've heard that they also do well in drought conditions. Baptisia gets quite large so that might be good for the back of your bed, Black and Blue salvia will also get pretty big. Caryopteris makes a small shrub (3 feet or so), gaura is small to medium sized depending on the variety.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 7:57AM
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Here are some plants in my garden that did well during the drought:

-- Ornamental grasses (all varieties)
-- Ice plant
-- Sedums
-- Crepe myrtles
-- Sages

I actually replaced half of my front yard with ice plant. My house in a hill with the front yard facing south, so I've always had trouble with grass there. Last fall I finally threw in the towel, covered the lower half of my front yard with hardwood mulch, and transplanted iceplant cuttings about every 2' across the area. (I already had a lot of iceplant in other spots in my yard.) The iceplant is doing great and covered with flowers right now. It doesn't like wet soil, which could be a problem in low areas when we get a lot of rain, but that shouldn't be a problem since my yard is sloped and drains well.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 9:09AM
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Cat and Dawg....( I snickered at that, forgive me)

All great choices. I've had wonderful luck with the sages and sedums when I lived in Kansas. Especially the sedums, they grew huge and were full of large flower "heads". I would like the try the gaura I've read about that plant online some.

I have a gorgeous HUGE crepe myrtle in my back yard (faces west)Hopefully this fall I'll have many seeds for trading.

My front yard more or less faces east. And, I have a gigantic form of some oak on that southest corner that divides the fence from myself and my neighbor. Lot sof little trees I need to pull from this area this weekend before they grow into something I cant manage. My grass in the front is sporadic at best, so I am planting beds with lilies, ornamental grasses and groundcovers to go between the azaleas, large camellia tree and nandina I have there already well established.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 9:51AM
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I will second or is it third the gaura. They can also range into the tall catagory depending on the cultivar. Adele

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 10:10PM
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