5 drought-resistant plants to liven up your garden

Posted May 18, 2016 by Gabriel Posternak

Transforming a boring yard in a nice garden take some time and planning, but is one of the most rewarding home projects you can face. Once you select the right grass, there is the turn to choose the plants to create an attractive landscape while saving our most precious resource: the water. We ask the experts for their favorite 5 drought-resistant plants to liven up your garden and here is the list.

Stonecrop or Sedum

Their thick leaves retain water to resist dry days and they can grow and bloom even with little rain in sandy or high drainable soils. There are more than 600 variants of this family of plants, some resist better cold climates but do not tolerate heat while others just the opposite. You can find a wide range of leaves and flower colors and they are an ideal fit for rock gardens.

[caption id="attachment_12227" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Photo by KENPEI for Wikimedia Photo by KENPEI for Wikimedia[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_12229" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Photo by Cwmhiraeth for Wikimedia Photo by Cwmhiraeth for Wikimedia[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_12231" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Photo by Pixeltoo for Wikimedia Photo by Pixeltoo for Wikimedia[/caption]



California lilac or Ceanothus

This shrub can get to the size of a little tree with perennial leaves and very fragrant flowers that run from white to deep purple. They thrive in areas protected from wind and they don’t like clay compacted soils.

[caption id="attachment_12240" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Photo by Stan Shebs for Wikimedia Photo by Stan Shebs for Wikimedia[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_12241" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Photo by Stan Shebs for Wikimedia Photo by Stan Shebs for Wikimedia[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_12239" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Photo by Stan Shebs for Wikimedia Photo by Stan Shebs for Wikimedia[/caption]



Butterfly weed or Asclepias tuberosa

This full sun species are native to North America. They are called Butterfly weed because insects and small birds -like hummingbirds- are attracted to their colorful flowers and their copious production of nectar. They blossom from early summer to early fall with with clustered orange or yellow flowers, and prefer loose soil like sand or gravel. Do not mistake this plant with the Asclepias lanceolata which has thinner stems and leaves, less flowers and needs a more humid environment.

[caption id="attachment_12233" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Photo by Derek Ramsey for Wikimedia. Photo by Derek Ramsey for Wikimedia.[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_12228" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Photo by H. Zell for Wikimedia. Photo by H. Zell for Wikimedia.[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_12232" align="aligncenter" width="600"]1280px-Butterfly_Weed_Asclepias_tuberosa_Yellow Photo by Derek Ramsey for Wikimedia.[/caption]



Russian sage or Perovskia

Another butterfly favorite is the Russian sage. They can reach a height of 1.6/3.9 ft with blue perfumed flowers from summer to mid-fall. These plants are native to the steppes and hills of Asia and were introduced to cultivation in the 19th century with great success. They are tolerant to both hot and cold weather and should be planted in full sun or they will spread to avoid half shadows.

[caption id="attachment_12237" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Photo by Rational Observer for Wikimedia Photo by Rational Observer for Wikimedia[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_12238" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Russian_sage_by_RO_IV Photo by Rational Observer for Wikimedia[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_12234" align="aligncenter" width="600"]1280px-Perovskia_'Blue_Spire'_03 Photo by Andy Mabbet[/caption]



Dusty miller or Centaurea cineraria

This European plant is grown as foliage for its attractive silver-grey color, so its small summer flowers are usually trimmed. They can be planted as cover or borders on the ground but can live well in containers. They cannot tolerate wet roots, so wherever you put them make sure the soil is well drained.

[caption id="attachment_12242" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Photo by JMK for Wikimedia Photo by JMK for Wikimedia[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_12235" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Photo by Kristine Paulus Photo by Kristine Paulus[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_12236" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Photo by Consultaplantas for Wikimedia Photo by Consultaplantas for Wikimedia[/caption]


Professional landscapers know that the key to a successful drought-tolerant garden is to group plants with similar requirements, so you can then amend your soil with compost -to retain moisture- or gravel -to improve drain- as needed. If the soil is correctly set, you can allow nature to do her share, watering only when it is too dry -and early in the morning before the heat of the day cause evaporation-. Soaker hoses in the base of the plants and drip irrigation are more efficient that oscillating sprinklers, so try to minimize their use to avoid water waste. Choosing drought-resistant species can make your gardening easier while being water efficient. Are you ready to give your garden a new life with our landscaping tips?

Posted May 18, 2016
by Gabriel Posternak.


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