When the summer gets hot and dry, you want plants that can take the heat! Here are a few of Frankie's favorite plants for drought.
Lavender - Lavandula angustifolia
This fragrant perennial herb blooms in the summer with small purplish-blue flowers and lovely grey-blue foliage. The dried lavender can be used for crafts and in aromatherapy. Lavender prefers places in the hot sun, with well drained, soils that are not too rich in nutrients.
Catmint “Walker’s Lo” - Nepeta Cataria ”Walker’s Lo”
This perennial has very long-lasting flowering time - from June through to October, and unlike other mints, this one does not spread through your lawn and garden! It prefers full sun and well drained soils that are not too rich. When planted in rich soils, and overwatered, the plant will overgrow and end up flopping over. The constant flowers are a favorite for bees and other pollinators.
Hostas – Hosta spp.
The classic ‘go-to’ shade plant! Hostas come in hundreds of leaf colour variations and do great as in full or partial shade. Although they look lush and water hungry, they are very drought tolerant. Their veined leaves catch the rain water and direct it through the straw-shaped stems, right to their roots. Their large waxy leaves shade the roots to prevent water evaporating from the soil. Hostas will rarely need extra water when planted in good soil with a decent layer of mulch and if you are watering them too much, you are making the conditions perfect for slugs and earwigs to munch on them!
Begonias “Dragon Wings” - Begonia x argenteoguttata "Dragon Wings”
These annual begonias thrive in part shade to full shade. They are heat tolerant and do not need dead heading. Their bright colour lasts all growing season and above all, they are easy to grow. From patio pots, to mass plantings in the garden this glossy foliage plant with big blooms never disappoints!
Portulaca - Portulaca Grandiflora
A great drought tolerant annual that loves sunny areas. Portulaca are great for those who love spending time in their garden during the day, as their multi-colored blooms only come out in the sunshine. They are great for containers, sunny rock gardens or hanging baskets and they come in white, pink, orange, yellow and coral colours.
Yellow Variegated Iris “Zebra” - Iris pallida 'Variegata‘
Irises get a bad rap because they are susceptible to iris borer and root rot, and for their floppy growth habits. This variety is less susceptible to all these problems and are generally much better behaved. The yellow variegated variety performs much better than the white variegated ones. They bloom in late spring, and their blooms smell wonderful, like grape candy! It is the foliage of this plant that makes this perennial really shine in the garden. The spiked variegated leaves are a great focal point in your garden from April until the snow falls. These irises need direct sun and well-drained soil, and don’t forget to have the tops of their tuber roots exposed to the sun, and free from debris, or they won’t bloom.
Allium - Allium Species
These perennial bulbs are members of the garlic family, so you won’t have to worry about squirrels, deer or rabbits eating them. They need to be planted in the fall and will bloom the following spring. They can grow in full sun or part shade and need very little care once planted. Try them planted under hostas or fall blooming perennials so they can pop through the other plant’s leaves to bloom, and then their yellowing leaves will be hidden by the larger after they are done blooming. They come in many flower sizes and come in white, mauve and purple.
Sedums – Sedum spp.
Sedums are the perfect drought tolerant plant! These perennials are succulents with fat waxy leaves to store water in them for very long periods, so you won’t have to worry about watering them. They come is a many different sizes, shapes and colours. They prefer full sun but can grow in part shade too. They can be grown in containers, especially small ones, hanging baskets and in your garden.
Butterfly Weed – Asclepias Tuberosa
This beauty is a native perennial plant with stunning orange blooms that last from summer to fall. It is a well-behaved member of the milkweed family, so it provides food for Monarch Butterflies, both adults and their larvae, but won’t get out of hand in the garden. It has large taproot doesn’t not like to be moved, so choose its location where it can stay for a long while. Make sure to plant it in very well drained soils, preferably sandy soils, as it does not like to have its feet wet, especially over the winter. Remember where you plant it since it will not begin to grow until the soil temperature has reached about 20C. With a late start in the season, you might forget where it is, but trust me, this lovely orange flower is worth the wait.