Heat-tolerant trees/shrubs?

firebird_81(z7 MD)May 9, 2007

Hi everyone! It's been a while since I've posted - I hope everyone is doing well, and enjoying getting outside.

I have a landscape dilemma. Out at the end of my driveway, I have a large stone that was excavated when the house was originally built. It's part of a medium-sized (maybe 80-100 square feet?) planting bed where I've tried out a series of different flower combinations over the past 5 or 6 years.

The issue is that the spot receives full sun from the time it comes up in the morning until it sets at night. It gets so hot out there in the summer that it requires an enormous amount of watering to keep it looking nice, but I just don't have that kind of time anymore (I have a 13-month old and am 5 months pregnant). I can certainly water every 2 or 3 days. There's no moving the rock, so the bed has to stay there.

Do you have any suggestions for small trees, shrubs, and flowers that can tolerate that kind of sun/heat? I had Cannas planted out there and they really thrived, but needed quite a bit of watering (not to mention the Japanese Beetles went nuts on them, and I'm not a big fan of using Sevin).

Thank you for your help!

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I don't water just about anything in my driveway bed, except soon after planting to get them established. You should check out High Country Garden's catalog - they have a lot of perennials that thrive in xeric conditions, and will do well for you, as long as they get good drainage and no supplemental watering.

The list of things that have done well for me is long, but here are a few suggestions. Butterfly bush, Weigela, various roses (look to antique roses and once bloomers that don't need to be sprayed), spirea, peonies, Salvia, Dianthus, Agastache, ....

    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 1:35PM
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Larry K(7a)

Yucca would do fine. There's some nice variegated types. Knockout roses would also look great, but they would need at least some water.

We've tried various things from High Country Gardens but you really have to be careful what you order. Most things haven't done well here so we've stopped using them. The very humid summers plus not enough winter drainage seems to be the biggest problem.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 1:57PM
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Stonecrop/sedum telephium! And...drumroll, please... I have a ton of it if you want some. We had some on the hottest side of the house and had to move it because of the bees (it was right next to the back door and the dog kept trying to catch them, and the kids were freaked out)...BUT it did really well there and never seemed to droop. That spot has about the same conditions as your gap and if it's down at the end of the driveway you shouldn't have any bee/bug issues.

Mine is probably Autumn Joy but the leaves are a bit different than others I've seen. Might possibly be Autumn Fire, based on a pic I found online but I really have no idea. Very pretty purplish-pink blossoms.

I agree with Larry on the Knockout roses, too. I have two and love 'em!

I'm in Bowie...


Here is a link that might be useful: Sedum photos

    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 2:35PM
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thistle5(z7 VA)

Yucca, lantana, valerian (centranthus ruber), St. John's wort (hypericum) will all do well in dry, sunny spots. I have the last 3 in a side bed that gets almost no additional watering-the lantana didn't overwinter, but the other 2 did, the centranthus is huge & the hypericum (I think I have Albury purple & Brigadoon)are thriving.

There are so many nice varieties of lantana available now, I like the pink,yellow, & cream mixed, but I also saw a variegated variety w/ yellow flowers that was lovely.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 4:05PM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

Lots of good ideas already - I do lots of different sedums, gaura, hardy verbena, yucca, portulaca, ice plant. Bougainvilla is just about drought proof but it's expensive and a tropical so you have to bring it in for the winter or let it die, plus it's thorny.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 9:46PM
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philipw2(7 MD/DC)

The bed next to my driveway gets sun all day and no water from me except that which spashes on it when the car is washed (not often). Plenty of plants thrive there. This area is not the Southwest: we get rain & snow. Xeriscaping isn't necessary unless you want the Southwest look.

Among the plants in my driveway bed are: peonies, red twigged verigated dogwoods (it is a lovely shrub), tree peonies, dianthus (fire witch), gaura (whirling butterflies), shrub roses, daylilies (stella D'or), lilac, rudbeckia, coneflowers, even phlox.

Of course, some of these you are going to have to water initially. I did , but probably not more than once a week. I also use those water grabber crystals when I plant---I soak them in a bucket first and then pour the goo into the planting hole.

I have lots of shrub roses that I do not water at all. I really like the Fairy and the crystal fairy, which are pink & white respectively.

In short, while I wouldn't put hosta, hydrangea, azaleas, rhodies or ninebark to bake in the sun, I would not limit myself to desert plants. This area is just not that hot.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 12:54PM
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That close to the road, you want substantial, not fiddly. I'd stick with just 2 or 3 varieties. One with the rock would be really stunning. I'd pick perovskia and plant a dozen or more depending on how large your road garden is. If you want to add something else try a really good yellow yarrow. Or maybe go with grasses. They'll give you three seasons of interest.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 6:16PM
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wishdesign(z7 MD)

Some more plants to consider: tall bearded iris, lavender (augustifolia), blue flax, and Missouri primrose (can be invasive). All of these do well for me in the bone-dry, full-sun beds next to my gravel driveway, and the Japanese beetles pretty much ignore them as well!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 3:11AM
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firebird_81(z7 MD)

Thank you all so much for your suggestions. I'm really excited now that I see I have so many options - now I can start planning!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 10:34AM
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What about crape mytle, boxwoods and/or photina (red tops)? And I think there's a lot of evergreen shrubs/trees that might work.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 11:27AM
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