Flower crowns are such a hit! And no one knows how to make this statement headpiece better than my friend J Schwanke from uBloom. He shows us some tips on how you can make a flower crown at home. Read more
I’m a big fan of having friends gather around an activity. I love hosting planting parties in the summer, and it’s something fun that you can do with your friends too. Read more
In my neck of the woods precipitation comes one of two ways; either all at once or not at all. Spring sees ample showers, but as soon as the calendar turns to June the rain dries up. Unless there is an unusual weather pattern in play I can count on Arkansas’ summers to be hot and dry.
Rather than rely 100 percent on irrigation to carry the garden through, I choose drought tolerant plants that I know will survive extended periods without rain. By selecting the right plants for my dry climate I use less water and I don’t have to work as hard to keep the garden looking good during the dog days of summer.
To make things even easier I use a lot of drought tolerant perennials. Perennials will come back year after year without replanting and most are pretty low maintenance. Throw in drought tolerance and you’ve got something you can pretty much plant and forget.
Unlike annuals, many perennials bloom for a specific amount of time. Gardeners can create season-long interest by selecting spring, summer and fall flowering perennials and showy foliage plants.
Here’s a short list of drought tolerant perennials categorized by season.
Spring Flowering Drought Tolerant Perennials
Perennial Salvia (Salvia nemerosa)
Salvia is lovely when planted in drifts and attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Color Spires® ‘Violet Riot’ will add vivid blue color to your containers or garden. The flower spikes sit atop mounded, aromatic foliage.
Zones 3 – 8; full sun; 22 to 24 inches tall with a 20- to 24-inch spread
Dead Nettle (Lamium maculatum)
Lamium is a low growing groundcover for either sun or shade. The variety Pink Chablis® has charming pale pink flower and frosty green and white variegated leaves.
Zones 4 – 8; full sun or shade; 8 – 12 inches tall with a 24-inch spread
False Indigo (Baptisia hybrid)
Baptisia is a North American native plant that produces sweetpea-like blooms. Try one of the hybrids in the Decadence™ series for compact plant form and saturated color. Available cultivars include ‘Cherries Jubilee’ (maroon and yellow), ‘Blueberry Sundae’ (vibrant blue), ‘Dutch Chocolate’ (dark plum), and ‘Lemon Meringue’ (yellow).
Zones 4 – 9; full sun to partial shade; 30 – 26 inches tall
Summer Flowering Drought Tolerant Perennials
Evening Primrose (Oenothera)
Oenothera has a loose, wildflower appearance that makes it right at home in cottage-style gardens. The cultivar Lemon Drop® produces fragrant, yellow blooms all summer. It is both drought tolerant and adaptable to poor soils. Because Lemon Drop® does not set seeds like some of its freewheeling cousins, it will stay put rather than pop up around the garden.
Zones 5 – 11, full sun; 8 – 12 inches tall
Perennial Sunflower (Heliopsis)
The bright yellow, daisy-like flowers of this North American native plant brighten the garden. The improved cultivar ‘Tuscan Sun’ boasts an extended blooming season and stays a manageable size.
Zones 3 – 9; full sun to partial shade; 12 – 20 inches tall
Butterfly Flower (Gaura lindheimeri)
This is one of my favorite “see through” plants. I like to position Gaura in the middle of a flower border so that the loose stems create a veil through which the background plants are seen. This creates a little mystery and added dimension. Stratosphere™ Pink Picotee and Stratosphere™ White will bloom May through September.
Zones 6 – 11; full sun; 12 – 24 inches tall
Fall Flowering Drought Tolerant Perennials
Sedums are a classic choice for low water gardens. There are both spreading and upright forms. The upright cultivar Rock ‘N Grow® ‘Maestro’ puts on a spectacular autumn show with abundant bright purple bloom stalks and pink flowers.
Zones 3 – 9; full sun; 24 – 30 inches tall
What would the fall garden be without asters? I’m love the bold pink blooms of this Pink Mist aster, which produces an abundance of large blooms on compact plants from late summer through fall.
Zones 4 – 8; full sun; 12 – 16 inches tall
Bluebeard (Caryopteris sp.)
Caryopteris blooms are a splash of cool blue at the end of summer. Sunshine Blue® Caryopteris incana is one I grow. I love the color combination of the neon yellow foliage and periwinkle flowers.
Zones 5 – 11; full sun; 36 – 48 inches tall
Drought Tolerant Perennials Prized for their Foliage
Pair ornamental grasses with bold blooms or fleshy leaves to create an interesting texture combination. ‘Cheyenne Sky’ Red Switch Grass (Panicum) is part of my Proven Winners® Platinum Collection. It’s a chameleon that changes from blue-green to wine red over the course of the summer.
Zones 4 – 9; full sun; 30 – 36 inches tall
You’ll be amazed at the variety of color and pattern available with such an easy care plant. I’m a huge fan of the varieties in the Dolce® Series, which range in color from chartreuse to almost black.
Zones 4 – 9; full sun to partial shade; 8 – 16 inches tall
Wood Spurge (Euphorbia amygdaliodes)
This plant blooms in spring, but the foliage is its greatest asset. The cultivar ‘Helena’s Blush’ has variegated green and white leaves that develop bright pink highlights as the temperatures cool in autumn.
Zones 6 – 9; full sun; 16 – 20 inches tall and 20 inches wide
Good to Know
Even drought tolerant plants need water just after planting, water your newly planted drought tolerant perennials weekly the first growing season.
It’s always an exciting day when SunPatiens arrive at the farm! When I see them coming off the truck, the ideas start flowing. I think about where I’m going to plant them, which colors I’ll plant together and which containers or beds I’ll put them in. With the various types and colors of SunPatiens, it’s easy to incorporate them all over the property. Read more
Today, wedding festivities start well before the actual wedding day. From engagement parties to bridal showers, couples are feeling the love leading up to their nuptials.
To host something truly unique (and cost effective), there’s no need to go any farther than your back yard. By creating an inviting space on your patio or lawn, you’ll have the perfect setting for a special gathering. You just can’t go wrong with a classic white and neutral color palette (yes, green is a neutral in the garden!). Read more
There’s something about seeing a fruit ripen on the vine or a flower slowly blooming that is just fascinating. With an increase in garden-centered communities and sustainable city initiatives, a new way of gardening is on the rise. Read more
All that kneeling, stooping and squatting in the garden can really wear us out. And sometimes hauling heavy things from one place to another just isn’t doable, especially when there’s a long list of to-dos. There are a couple pieces of equipment I keep on hand to make garden tasks a little easier. Read more
Rose oil is one of the most sought after and expensive oils in the world. It was discovered hundreds of years ago, during the time of the Moguls.
The story goes that Princess Nour-Djihan and Emperor Djihanguyr rode through a garden canal filled with rose water on their wedding day. The heat of the afternoon sun separated the oil from the water, and the couple couldn’t help notice its intoxicating scent. The oil was skimmed off the water to create perfume. And so began the production of rose oil, traced back to 1612 in Persia. Read more
How many broccoli stalks have you tossed in the trash? We’re all guilty of it. The gnarly looking stalks just don’t seem as appetizing as those frilly florets. Since you pay for broccoli by the pound, you’re literally throwing away money when you discard the stalks. With minimal effort, though, you can whip up something delicious. Read more
It wouldn’t be summer in the garden without basil, so go ahead and plant some now! It goes a long way in sprucing up a sauce or salad. Not just handy in the kitchen, there are many uses for this aromatic herb. Even better, it’s a cinch to grow. Read more