How to Plant Drought-Tolerant Plants

How to Plant Drought-Tolerant Plants

The importance of heat-resistant plants

Drought-tolerant, also known as heat-resistant, plants have an important place in gardens and landscapes. These varieties save water and can tolerate dry summers. There is a huge assortment of drought-tolerant plants available but there is a caveat to them. They must be watered and cared for the first year they are planted to establish a strong root system, ensuring they can withstand the heat.

For heat-resistant plants to endure long periods of dry weather, it is necessary to add plenty of organic amendments such as compost or aged manure. These materials will help hold moisture in the soil while the plants are putting on new roots. Add at least 2-3 inches of mulch around the plant to hold in moisture and deter weeds. Start your plants off with deep irrigation the first season to assist in root growth. Use a trowel near the edge of the root zone to evaluate how deep the water is after you water the plant(s). Monitor how quickly the water is absorbed and repeat as needed.  Second and third year drought-tolerant plants may not need frequent watering during the hottest summer periods.

Varieties that thrive under the sun

Whether your garden and outdoor spaces need trees, blooms, ground cover, or shrubs, the choices are endless. Some varieties can withstand all-day sun, some require afternoon shade, mainly perennials and ground covers. Below are just a few ideas for your outdoor spaces.

Trees

Albizia Lenkoran lat. Albizia giulibrissin or silk tree with delicate pink flowers

Albizia

Silk Tree

Sun

Cupressus

Cypress

Sun

Ficus carica

Fig (edible)

Sun

Jugians

Walnut

Sun

Picea

Spruce

Sun

Pinus

Pine

Sun

Quercus

Oak

Sun

Robinia

Locust

Sun

 

Shrubs

Juniperus or juniper

Arbutus

Strawberry Bush

Sun

Caryopteris

Bluebeard

Sun

Cercis occidentalis

Redbud

Sun

Cistus

Rockrose

Sun

Juniperus

Juniper

Sun

Lavandula

Lavender

Sun

Lavatera

Tree Mallow

Sun

Lonicera

Honeysuckle (vine)

Sun

Rosmarinus

Rosemary

Sun

 

Perennials

Tritoma, Kniphofia or Red Hot Poker

Agapanthus

Lily of the Nile

PM shade

Coreopsis

Tickseed

Sun

Digitalis

Foxglove

PM shade

Echinacea

Purple Cone Flower

Sun

Helleborus

Hellebore

PM shade

Kniphofia

Red Hot Poker

Sun

Oenothera

Evening Primrose

Sun

Salvia

Sage

Sun

Stachys

Lamb’s Ears

Sun

 

Ornamental Grasses

Blue fescue or festuca glauca grass

Chasmanthium latifolium

Northern Sea Oats

PM shade

Festuca

Fescue

Sun

Helictotrichon sempervirens

Blue Oat Grass

Sun

Miscanthus

Maiden Grass

Sun

Muhlenbergia

Pink Muhly Grass

Sun

Panicum

Switch Grass

Sun

Stipa

Needle Grass

Sun

 

Groundcovers

Blue periwinkle flowers in green foliage, vinca minor

Aegopodium

Bishop’s Weed

PM shade

Anthemis

Chamomile

Sun

Cerastium

Snow in Summer

Sun

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

Plumbago

Sun

Hypericum

St. John’s Wort

Sun

Mahonia

Oregon Grape

PM shade

Raoulia australilis

Silver Mat

Sun

Vinca minor

Periwinkle

PM shade

Viola

Violet

PM shade

Planting drought-tolerant plants in the spring or fall when water is plentiful, gives the plants an opportunity to build up their reserves when water could be scarce. Select heat-resistant plants native to your area. They are often remarkably adaptable to local weather variations and extremes; this includes drought as well. Often these plants are not only water-wise, but they often adapt additional aspects of the ecosystem as well.

Likewise, plants native to areas that are famously dry, such as the Southwest region, will probably survive drought conditions elsewhere. Planting drought-tolerant plants will keep your gardens and yards looking amazing through drier, hotter months. Be advised that no plants survive without extra water in summer heat until root systems are established. Don’t wait and get these plants in the ground to enjoy blooms, color, and variety in the future.

 


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