Water is one of the most critical natural resources we have. But with weather changes, unpredictable dry conditions, and high energy prices looming over our heads, gardeners have to re-think the way we use water in the garden.
One of the simplest ways to conserve water, other than resigning ourselves to just have rock gardens, is to select drought-tolerant plants. These water thrifty greenery plants not only require little water but also add a certain charm to any landscape during a dry spell.
Creating a Beautiful and Water-Wise Garden
If you live in an area with limited water resources or want to reduce your environmental impact, choosing plants that can withstand drought conditions is a smart and sustainable choice.
Today, we’ll be talking about drought-tolerant garden plants you can use to help conserve water during the hottest part of the year. You don’t have to wait until early fall or late winter to plant because you’re concerned about water.
What are Drought-Tolerant Plants?
New plants you can use in drought conditions are native plants such as shrubs, trees, ground cover or ornamental grasses that have low water requirements.
They have built-in features that help maximize water intake with good drainage while also minimizing water loss.
Typically, they have structural adaptations such as deep roots that help them thrive in low water conditions such as:
- Thick, leathery, fleshy leaves with cuticles of a waxy coating, which perform dual functions of cutting down on water loss and reflecting heat away from the plant.
- Small, thin leaves, which effectively reduce the surface area from which water loss can occur.
- Sunken stomata pits, which trap moist air and reduce water loss rates.
- Hairy leaf surface which shade the stomata and reduce contact from hot air, protecting plants from extremes of light and temperature.
3 Reasons to Use Drought-Tolerant Plants in Your Garden
For the resource-conscious gardener, drought-tolerant plants are the perfect addition to their landscape. There are three main reasons why you should have this type of plants in your garden as well:
They Need Less Water
Drought-tolerant plants typically come from drier climates with minimal access to water sources. They have adapted to these environmental condition and so they naturally need less supplemental watering.
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They’re Low Maintenance
Most drought-tolerant plants require very little maintenance. Some can even survive in poor or sandy soil conditions since they have adapted in harsh environments. This means you can maintain a beautiful garden without spending so much time fertilizing, watering, and keeping pests away.
They Add Aesthetic Appeal to Any Garden
Most people think that drought-tolerant plants are limited to cacti and succulents but there’s more to them than meets the eye. You can have a wide range of colors in your garden with plants that thrive in low-water conditions. You just need to know which ones to plant in your garden.
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Thriving in the Sun: Drought-Tolerant Plants for Full Sun
For gardeners with sun-drenched landscapes, we have an array of stunning drought-tolerant plants that can withstand intense heat and sunlight.
There’s a wide range of drought-tolerant plants you can add to your garden.
From vibrant flowering shrubs like lavender and rosemary to majestic trees like the desert willow and crape myrtle, these plants not only survive but thrive in full sun conditions.
Here are some ideas:
Enhance your landscape with the enchanting White Fir. Its symmetrical shape, blue-green needles, and silvery-white bark create a serene and elegant atmosphere.
With adaptability to various soils and tolerance to drought and cold, this evergreen adds beauty year-round.
The Bur Oak, is a magnificent, resilient, and grand oak tree. With broad, leathery leaves and distinctive gray-brown bark, this deciduous beauty thrives in different soils.
Its drought and cold resistance, along with its acorns attracting wildlife, make it a cherished addition to any landscape.
Create a tranquil garden with the elegance of Japanese trees. From enchanting cherry blossoms to graceful Japanese maples, these trees offer delicate foliage and timeless beauty.
Thriving in various climates and soil conditions, they bring a touch of serenity and sophistication to your outdoor space.
The Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) is a remarkable drought-tolerant shrub that brings a touch of elegance to any xeriscape garden. Despite its name, this plant is not related to the willow family but gets its name from its willow-like leaves.
Known for its graceful appearance and stunning trumpet-shaped flowers, the Desert Willow blooms with vibrant colors ranging from shades of pink and purple to white. Its beautiful blooms attract hummingbirds, making it a delightful addition to any wildlife-friendly garden.
With its slender foliage and cascading branches, this shrub adds a unique charm to your landscape. Best suited for full sun exposure, the Desert Willow is a resilient plant that thrives in arid climates, requiring minimal water once established.
The Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) is a stunning drought-tolerant tree renowned for its vibrant and abundant blooms.
This deciduous tree has beautiful clusters of crinkled, crepe-like flowers in a spectrum of colors, including shades of pink, red, white, and lavender. Not only are these flowers something to behold, but they also attract butterflies, adding an enchanting touch to your garden.
The Crape Myrtle thrives in full sun and can tolerate heat, making it an excellent choice for xeriscape gardens. It has smooth bark, attractive foliage, and multi-stemmed growth.
Also, the Crape Myrtle comes in a variety of sizes, making it suitable for many garden spaces. Whether you choose a compact variety for pots or a larger one as a focal point, the Crape Myrtle is sure to bring beauty and charm to your landscape.
Drought Tolerant Shrubs
Transform your garden with the low-growing beauty of Bearberry. Its evergreen leaves and delicate pink flowers provide year-round beauty.
Ideal for ground cover, this hardy plant is drought-tolerant and thrives in various soil types. Create a vibrant landscape with the colorful foliage and cascading branches of Bearberry.
Add a touch of elegance to your shaded areas with the Bottlebrush Buckeye. Known for its stunning white flower spikes resembling bottlebrushes, this deciduous tree thrives in shady environments.
With its lush green foliage and attractive bark, it creates a striking focal point. Enjoy the beauty and shade provided by the Bottlebrush Buckeye in your garden.
Hardy perennial shrub with vibrant yellow flowers and fern-like foliage.
Thrives in a variety of soil types and is low maintenance. Perfect for adding color and texture to gardens and borders.
Fragrant and versatile herb with aromatic purple flowers and silver-green foliage.
Known for its calming properties and culinary uses.
Adds beauty and attracts pollinators to gardens and landscapes.
Evergreen herb with needle-like leaves and blue flowers.
Known for its aromatic fragrance and culinary versatility.
Drought-tolerant and a popular choice for gardens, containers, and herb gardens.
- Yarrow is an easy-to-grow perennial with fern-like foliage. It has large flat showy blooms in the late spring and mid-summer in colors ranging from yellow, to pink, to red. Yarrow is a great cut flower plant, too.
- Stonecrop or sedum is a groundcover perennial featuring succulent foliage that can be variegated, bronze, reddish-purple, green or blue-gray.
- Barrenwort is a slow-growing groundcover plant that is deer and rabbit resistant. It blooms white, yellow, red, or purple flowers in the spring.
- Russian Sage has silver feathery leaves and can grow up to 4 feet. It is super easy to grow, just cut the stems back to about 6″ in early Spring and that’s it.
- Blanket Flower produces beautiful blooms with gorgeous long lasting colors. It also boasts a beautiful green foliage into early Fall. They are very cold hardy and can survive in zone 5 but have even made it through USDA Hardiness Zone 3
- Purple Coneflower produces beautiful purple and pink blooms throughout the summer and is very hardy to most weather conditions.
- Wax Begonia is a bushy plant with shiny, heart-shaped leaves ranging from green, to bronze-red, to mahogany.
- Nasturtium is a herbaceous flowering plant that thrives in infertile, dry clay soil. It can bloom yellow, orange, red, and mahogany flowers even in partial shade
- Verbena is an upright annual with mauve, purple, white, pink, apricot or red. It thrives in full sun.
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