Drought Tolerant Perennials

Ask any experienced gardener and they will tell about different times when they have had issues with watering. You may never have had to worry about water shortages but sometimes even depending on spring rains at some point in certain areas we have to abide by new water rules or deal with what Mother Nature is handing out. While some gardeners continue uphill battles keeping their gardens watered others are now trying to work with climate changes. They are replacing high maintenance, water hungry annuals and perennials with drought tolerant ones that thrive with little or no attention on a yearly basis. There is now a wide selection of drought tolerant plants available on today’s market. You can choose from beautiful flowering plants in a multitude of colors and sizes. Just keep in mind that some are more tolerant of dry conditions than others.

What do drought tolerant plants look like? The description in itself “drought tolerant” most likely makes one think of cacti or desert plants and of course, these plants are definitely tolerant of dry conditions, but there are also many others to consider. Often, drought tolerant plants have a unique leaf structure such as:                                               Fine lacy foliage-reduced leaf surface means less water lost through surface evaporation Thick, succulent or waxy leaves-thick leaves store more moisture                           Hairy or fuzzy leaves-fine hairs keep moisture trapped at the leaf surface.

Most drought tolerant plants also have deep roots that seek moisture well below the soil surface. Some send up masses of fine feeder roots to collect available moisture at the surface and send it down below to the main roots.

 
 Where do drought tolerant plants grow best? Most drought tolerant plants perform best in hot, dry climates in full sun and well-drained soil. The most obvious form of this climate is desert, but you might not think that parts of the average homeowner’s yard which are perpetually dry are perfect places to grow drought tolerant plants. They are extremely effective where it is difficult to water or where water evaporates quickly such as on sunny slopes or next to pavement. The best practice for drought tolerant plants is to group them together in the areas you wish them, so they’re easier to manage.

 

Here are some general guidelines for the culture of drought tolerant plants.

SOIL – Well-drained, loose soil is best. Loose soil allows the roots to grow deep where the moisture is held. Many, also benefit from the addition of organic matter to the soil, which helps add nutrients and hold moisture. If your soil is heavy, add small rocks or coarse sand to improve drainage.

WATER – Even the most drought tolerant perennials require supplemental water until they are established. The smaller the root system, the more water they’ll need, but the general rule is one inch of water per week (including rain). Less frequent but deep waterings are better for plants than more frequent but light waterings because it encourages them to send their roots down deeper into the soil. As the plants begin to grow and thrive on their own, gradually decrease the amount of supplemental water.

MULCH – Mulch your drought tolerant perennials with about two inches of organic material such as shredded bark or leaves. Do not use stone as a mulch–it holds heat and reflects light which can damage the plants.

FERTILIZER – Use fertilizer sparingly on drought tolerant plants. If they begin to show signs of decline or discoloration, it’s time to fertilize.

DIVISION – Most drought tolerant perennials will perform admirably for years without being divided. Exceptions include the most vigorous or prolific perennials such as daylilies, hostas, and tall bearded irises.
The following plants have been reported to be drought tolerant in many areas of the country. We offer each variety in different forms – Plants or Seed. Each is marked accordingly. Click Here To Browse Perennials or Click Here to Browse Seeds

 
Drought Tolerant Suggested Plants
Yarrow – Available in Seed and Plants                                                                                        Queen Anne’s Lace (Bishop’s Flower) – Available in Seed                                              Hollyhocks – Available in Seed and Plant                                                                               Butterfly Weed – Available in Seed and Plants                                                                           Astilbes – Available in Plants                                                                                                      Indigo – Available in Seed and Plants                                                                                       Blackberry Lily – Available in Plants                                                                                          Butterfly Bush – Available in Plants                                                                                          Daylily – Available in Plants                                                                                                         Hostas – Available in Plants                                                                                                         Candytuft – Available in Seed                                                                                                     Gloxinia – Available in Bulbs                                                                                                            Bearded Iris – Available in Plants                                                                                                 Lavender – Available in Seed and Plants                                                                                     Blazing Star- Available in Seed and Plants                                                                                   Blue Flax- Available in Seed                                                                                                                 Rose Mallow- Available in Seed                                                                                                        Catmint – Available in Plants                                                                                                         Evening Primrose- Available in Seed                                                                                        Peonies – Available in Plants                                                                                                           Poppies- Available in Seed and Plants                                                                                               Beard Tongue- Available in Seed and Plants                                                                                     Sage- Available in Seed and Plant                                                                                            Cornflower- Available in Seed                                                                                                        Valerian – Available in Plants                                                                                                       Snow-in-Summer- Available in Seed                                                                                             Coreopsis- Available in Seed and Plants                                                                                             Creeping Phlox – Available in Plants                                                                                              Pampass Grass – Available in Plants                                                                                                 Sweet William- Available in Seed and Plant Form                                                                         Black-eyed Susan- Available in Seed                                                                                            Foxglove- Available in Seed                                                                                                         Coneflower- Available in Seed and Plant Form                                                                                 Sage- Available in Seed and Plant Form                                                                                             Hens & Chicks – Available in Plants                                                                                             Blanket Flower- Available in Seed                                                                                           Painted Daisy – Available in Seed                                                                                                   Creeping Thyme- Available in Seed and Plant Form                                                                      Baby’s Breath- Available in Seed                                                                                                       Lenten Rose – Available in Plants                                                                                                Mullein- Available in Seed                                                                                                                 We also suggest trying our Dry Area Mix

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