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4 drought-tolerant plants

By: Garden Gate staff
Save on watering and enjoy a garden full of lush foliage and colorful flowers!

Whether you live in a dry area with watering restrictions, or even if you live in an area with plenty of natural rainfall, a garden needs plants that keep going even when the weather gets hot and dry. If you choose plants that take heat and dry weather in stride and design your garden with low water use in mind, you’ll spend fewer days dragging a hose around the garden when you could be relaxing in the shade. Don’t stop watering these plants just because they can tolerate some drought. But rest easy knowing that when the temperature spikes, your water bill doesn’t have to spike, too! Scroll on to learn more about each plant.

See also Drought-tolerant garden plan

Celosia (Celosia spp. and hybrids)

Spikes, clusters and plumes like the ones here — you can find hot-colored celosia in a variety of flower shapes. If you want more side branches, pinch the growing tips off young plants before they begin flowering in summer. They don’t need any trimming or deadheading otherwise.

Type Annual Blooms Red, yellow and magenta from summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 10 to 36 in. tall, 8 to 24 in. wide Hardiness Heat-tolerant AHS zones 12 to 1

Artemisia (Artemisia spp. and hybrids)

Along a sunny sidewalk or driveway or at the top of a retaining wall are great locations for artemisia, where it can enjoy reflected heat and good drainage. Leave the dead tops in place to protect the crowns over winter, and cut them back only when you start to see new growth in the spring.

Type Perennial Blooms Feathery silver foliage all summer Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 8 to 60 in. tall, 10 to 36 in. wide Hardiness Cold-hardy USDA zones 3 to 10, heat-tolerant AHS zones 10 to 1

Gazania (Gazania hybrids)

Bright and showy, gazanias prefer dry, hot conditions. In humid parts of the country, they can crash in midsummer. If that’s the case for you, grow gazanias as cool-weather annuals and replace them for the summer.

Type Tender perennial Blooms Multicolored, daisylike flowers in summer Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 8 to 12 in. tall, 6 to 10 in. wide Hardiness Cold-hardy USDA zones 10 to 11, heat-tolerant AHS zones 12 to 1

Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Low maintenance, deer resistant, a butterfly magnet and drought-tolerant — this plant has it all! Deadheading will keep flowers coming until fall, but be patient if it doesn’t take off right away. Butterfly weed takes a year or two to get established, and if you need to move it, take care not to disturb its long taproot too much.

Type Perennial Blooms Clusters of orange and yellow flowers in summer Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 12 to 36 in. tall, 12 to 24 in. wide Hardiness Cold-hardy USDA zones 3 to 9, heat-tolerant AHS zones 9 to 1

Celosia (Celosia spp. and hybrids)

Spikes, clusters and plumes like the ones here — you can find hot-colored celosia in a variety of flower shapes. If you want more side branches, pinch the growing tips off young plants before they begin flowering in summer. They don’t need any trimming or deadheading otherwise.

Type Annual Blooms Red, yellow and magenta from summer to frost Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 10 to 36 in. tall, 8 to 24 in. wide Hardiness Heat-tolerant AHS zones 12 to 1

Gazania (Gazania hybrids)

Bright and showy, gazanias prefer dry, hot conditions. In humid parts of the country, they can crash in midsummer. If that’s the case for you, grow gazanias as cool-weather annuals and replace them for the summer.

Type Tender perennial Blooms Multicolored, daisylike flowers in summer Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 8 to 12 in. tall, 6 to 10 in. wide Hardiness Cold-hardy USDA zones 10 to 11, heat-tolerant AHS zones 12 to 1

Artemisia (Artemisia spp. and hybrids)

Along a sunny sidewalk or driveway or at the top of a retaining wall are great locations for artemisia, where it can enjoy reflected heat and good drainage. Leave the dead tops in place to protect the crowns over winter, and cut them back only when you start to see new growth in the spring.

Type Perennial Blooms Feathery silver foliage all summer Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 8 to 60 in. tall, 10 to 36 in. wide Hardiness Cold-hardy USDA zones 3 to 10, heat-tolerant AHS zones 10 to 1

Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Low maintenance, deer resistant, a butterfly magnet and drought-tolerant — this plant has it all! Deadheading will keep flowers coming until fall, but be patient if it doesn’t take off right away. Butterfly weed takes a year or two to get established, and if you need to move it, take care not to disturb its long taproot too much.

Type Perennial Blooms Clusters of orange and yellow flowers in summer Light Full sun Soil Well-drained Size 12 to 36 in. tall, 12 to 24 in. wide Hardiness Cold-hardy USDA zones 3 to 9, heat-tolerant AHS zones 9 to 1

Published: Aug. 14, 2018
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