Drought Tolerant Plants
Full Sun Gardens
Areas of your garden that face West or South naturally tend to be much hotter and receive much more direct sunlight.
Taking a little time to choose the right plants for these demanding growing conditions can help save you time, money, and water, as well as improve your overall results.
This Mediterranean style courtyard, is one example of a full sun area that makes good use of drought-heat tolerant plantings.
Most plants will require more water under high heat/sun conditions unless they’re native to one of the desert regions, or when established, tend to be drought tolerant.
A deep watering program in high heat areas can help conserve water, and still promote healthy, vigorous growth.
Tip: Young plants, or fresh plantings, will require time to grow into their drought tolerant status.
This full sun sitting area makes good use of drought-heat tolerant Salvias.
Blue flowers in background are Salvia leucantha (Mexican Bush Sage), a long blooming shrub that thrives in low moisture conditions.
The fore-ground displays S. splendens (Scarlet Sage), an annual which thrives in full sun and heat, though does require weekly waterings.
Adding a thick layer of clean mulch on your garden beds, will help to conserve moisture, and protect a plants roots from temperature extremes. Ground bark, straw, or compost, are some of the organic materials used for mulching.
Apply a 1 to 2 inch thick layer of mulch on top of the soil and around plants. A mulch can be applied at any time during the growing season, however, mulching early in the season, just after
preparing the soil
and planting, will provide the most benefit.
South facing walls or fences tend to absorb and reflect intense solar heat, and so will add to theses demanding conditions.
One method used to offset this situation, is to train heat-resistant vines to grow and cover, south or west facing walls, and so prevent the suns heat from being absorbed and reflected into the garden.
Another option, is to provide small areas of shade throughout the hottest areas of your yard. Planting small garden trees or dwarf varieties suitable to your local region, will tend to moderate temperature extremes within their local areas.
Not all heat-resistant plants are drought-tolerant. Most annuals will require at least 1 inch of water per week.
Drought-tolerant plants, in general, will have deeper root systems, and due to their natural environment, have developed the ability to thrive under low moisture conditions.
The following, are examples of the most successful and widely available plants that are heat resistant:
Annuals: Zinnias, Marigolds, China Asters and Salvias.
Vines: Bougainvillea (all), Hibbertia scandens (Guinea Gold Vine), Rosa (climbing), Wisteria.
Shrubs: Calliandra, Callistemon (Bottlebrush), Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Lantana, Pyracantha.
Trees: Citrus (all), Fig (edible), Magnolia grandiflora, Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurel Cherry), Pyrus (Ornamental Pear).
Also, most herbs tend to thrive under high heat and light conditions. Examples of these would include, Lavender, Rosemary, and Sage to name a few.
The following, are widely available examples of drought tolerant plants:
Annuals & Perennials: Achillea (Yarrow), Aloe, Coreopsis, Gaillardia (all), Portulaca grandiflora (Rose Moss), Salvias, Verbena.
Vines: Bougainvillea, Wisteria.
Shrubs: Acacia (many), Callistemon citrinus (Lemon Bottlebrush), Crassula argentea (Jade Plant), Lagerstroemia indica (Crape Myrtle), Lantana.
Trees: Acacia (many), Eucalyptus (most), Fig (edible), Walnut.
Good Luck and Happy Gardening!
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