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Drought Tolerant Flowering Plants

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Drought Tolerant Flowering Plants

The words “drought tolerant” often conjure up images of barrel cacti and aloe plants growing in the desert. While these plants are certainly drought tolerant, there are many others to consider. Often, drought tolerant plants have a unique leaf structure such as:
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Drought Tolerant Flowering Plants

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 realize that parts of the average homeowner’s yard which are perpetually dry are ideal places to grow drought tolerant plants. They can be used quite effectively where it is difficult to water or where water evaporates quickly such as on sunny slopes or next to pavement. It’s best to group drought tolerant plants together in the landscape so they’re easier to manage.
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Drought Tolerant Flowering Plants

While some of these seasoned gardeners continue the uphill battle of keeping their gardens watered, many gardeners are now choosing to work with the changing climate rather than fight it. They are replacing water-hungry annuals with drought tolerant perennials that will thrive with little attention in their landscape for many years to come. With such a wide selection of drought tolerant plants now available in garden centers nationwide, gardeners can choose from an array of beautiful flowering plants in a rainbow of colors and sizes.
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Drought Tolerant Flowering Plants

As we become more environmentally conscious, the desire to plan gardens around plants with low water requirements becomes more prevalent. We offer a wide selection of drought-tolerant plants that provide lush, low-maintenance beauty, perfect for gardeners hoping to conserve water and money, as well as those in areas with little rainfall. Preserve nature’s resources while enjoying fantastic flowers and foliage by planting drought-tolerant trees, shrubs, and perennials.
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Drought Tolerant Flowering Plants

We selected more than 40 plants that will thrive in climates that see both rain and drought. Plants like these, tolerant of difficult conditions, are often weeds or invasive in certain areas, so do some research before planting.
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Drought Tolerant Flowering Plants

Add plants! Well, this isn’t quite as simple as it sounds. Sure, a drought mimics desert conditions, but in this case it’s a temporary desert. Most of us need plants that can thrive in both drought conditions and wetter environments, too.
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Drought Tolerant Flowering Plants

Selecting drought tolerant is a great step toward saving water, but can be improved on by selecting plants native to your area – those that the local ecosystem co-evolved with. This way you save water AND support biodiversity, ecosystem health, and wildlife in your area.
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Drought Tolerant Flowering Plants

Before we get to the plants, let’s first look at drought. Usually dry spells are normal, because weather is variable. But when they continue week after week, month after month or even year after year, it depletes every bit of moisture in the soil. In short, you’re dealing with a drought.
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Drought-Resistant Perennials “Where drinking water is scarce, it doesn’t make sense to use so much of it on our lawns and flowers,” says landscape designer Nicole Lopez, who works in drought-prone Santa Monica. “You need to match plants to the climate that you live in. It just doesn’t work the other way around.” The perennials in this gallery are excellent choices for low-water gardening. Plant information is provided for each, including climate zone information, which links to our Hardiness Zone Map. Shown: Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (“Sedum” hybrid ‘Autumn Joy’) Deciduous succulent with deep-pink to bronze flowers; grows 2 feet tall; prefers full sun, well-drained soil; hardy to -40 degrees F; USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9.
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Tips: Drought-tolerant after they’re established, rhodos need ample water to get started. They also like their soil well-adjusted and well-drained, so checking for soil pH and other nutrients is helpful before planting. They prefer filtered — not direct — sunlight. There are over 800 varieties in all sizes; ask your local nursery what works in your region.
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It can take time to switch your plants over to drought-resilient varieties, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind when adding new perennials to your garden. And it’s a good goal to have in general. After all, if you get the right plants in place now, your garden will look glorious no matter how stingy nature is with water.
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We can’t help but love Russian sage. One of the toughest plants, it offers fragrant silvery foliage and plumes of violet-purple blooms. Taller varieties are great for the back of the border. Not only is it heat and drought resistant, but deer, rabbits, and most other pests steer clear of it.
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This is why you can’t just plant a bunch of cacti or agave. When the rain returns, their roots won’t be able to draw up the extra water fast enough, and they may literally drown. The key is to have plants that can handle both: They can shrug off drought, yet they appreciate ample rainfall.
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Don’t expect them to work magic right away, though. Even the least thirsty plants in the world need moisture to get their roots established. Expect to water your new perennials for a full year, while they grow the roots they need to weather a drought without skipping a beat.
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“Where drinking water is scarce, it doesn’t make sense to use so much of it on our lawns and flowers,” says landscape designer Nicole Lopez, who works in drought-prone Santa Monica. “You need to match plants to the climate that you live in. It just doesn’t work the other way around.”
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“Where drinking water is scarce, it doesn’t make sense to use so much of it on our lawns and flowers,” says landscape designer Nicole Lopez, who works in drought-prone Santa Monica. “You need to match plants to the climate that you live in. It just doesn’t work the other way around.” The perennials in this gallery are excellent choices for low-water gardening. Plant information is provided for each, including climate zone information, which links to our Hardiness Zone Map. Shown: Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (“Sedum” hybrid ‘Autumn Joy’) Deciduous succulent with deep-pink to bronze flowers; grows 2 feet tall; prefers full sun, well-drained soil; hardy to -40 degrees F; USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9.
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When you think of plants for dry areas you probably think of desert plants like cactus, agave, aloe, yucca and prickly pear. If you garden in a dry area yourself, you've most likely experimented with thistles like Echinops (Globe Thistle) and Eryngium (Sea Holly). Mediterranean plants are also good choices for dry, neglected areas. Lavender and Perovskia (Russian Sage) come to mind. Also, any plant with a tap root will be able to dig down deep and find water, so don't forget about beauties like Asclepias (Butterfly weed) and Baptisia.
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While water is crucial to growing healthy plants, there are many perennials that can withstand periodic dry spells, if they are given a chance to become established before they are severely stressed. This is the basis behind a concept called xeriscaping or water-wise gardening. Gardeners should choose and group plants based on their water requirements and how much water will be available to them. Knowing what plants will thrive in dry areas will save you and your garden much grief when the rains won't seem to come down.
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Not only does yarrow tolerate heat and drought like a champion, but this easy-growing perennial is also a great cut flower — and deer, rabbits, and most other pests won’t touch it. It comes in a number of varieties with blooms in shades of yellow, orange, red, pink, and white.
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Hundreds of sedum varieties are available and almost every one is tough and drought resistant. While most are grown for their flowers, ‘Frosty Morn’ has wonderfully variegated leaves that look great from spring to fall. That said, its autumn clusters of pure-pink flowers are great, too.
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Enjoy the cheery yellow blooms of sundrops all the way from spring to early fall. This vigorous perennial takes heat and drought like a champion. Note, though: It can become aggressive in the garden, especially if you have rich soil.
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At this point, watering becomes an endless and expensive chore. Even worse, you might not be able to water at all if you live in a municipality that has drought restrictions. So what’s a gardener to do?
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Still, if a plant has big leaves or lots of smaller ones, even a very deep root will have trouble supporting the needs of the top growth. Hollyhocks, for instance, wilt very quickly in a drought, as do tomatoes.
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That might seem like simple chitchat to most people, but to a gardener it’s the start of a serious discussion. After all, our beloved flowers are at the mercy of the skies. And every summer, we seem to be faced with extra-hot, extra-dry conditions that can wreak havoc on our plants. Luckily, though, we have a wonderful range of adaptable plants to try.
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Belowground, it’s roots that help a plant get through dry times. Taproots go deep, as do the fibrous roots of many prairie plants, so they’re able to draw up moisture even when the top foot of soil is bone dry.

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24 Photos of the "Drought Tolerant Flowering Plants"

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