In Texas, a state where heat and drought are as common as Tuesdays, my mother’s gardening efforts are a challenge. In Texas’ famous seven-month drought in 2011, The Huffington Post says, the average rainfall was 5.82 inches from October to April.
Surprisingly, to me anyway, a lot of my mother’s plants survived. It wasn’t surprising to her, though. She had spent the year before planting drought-resistant plants native to the region.
There is a lesson here for all gardeners: Drought-resistant plants can take the heat. So whether it’s Mother Nature causing havoc, or you just want to save some money on water bills, we offer three drought-fighting plants for every region of the country.
1. Maiden grass is an ornamental grass that can grow several feet tall and wide, depending on how much trimming you do. In the summer the plant develops small gold, silver or copper seed heads. The rest of the year it produces thin, tall blades of grass.
2. Creeping juniper is an evergreen low-growing foliage that can cover up to 8 feet across the ground. Many variations of the plant produce purple, blue or silver-tinted needles, while others keep a dark green color throughout the year.
3. Daylilies produce vibrantly colored, delicate trumpet-shaped flowers — each bloom lasts only a day — but you can counteract that by planting several varieties of daylilies in your garden to get blooms all summer long.
1. Blanket flowers grow to about 2 feet in height and produce red and orange daisy-like flowers throughout the summer and early fall. They’re easy to maintain, rarely attract pests, and prefer sandy soil.
2. Louisiana sage looks like a shrub, but is actually a perennial with thick clusters of silver leaves and small yellow flowers. It doesn’t grow to great heights and is easy to maintain, making it ideal for backyards or out-of-the-way areas.
3. Chocolate daisies, common in Texas, produce yellow, medium-sized daisies and require very little water. The large seed heads also attract butterflies and small birds. I loved these flowers as a kid because they actually smell like chocolate.
1. Compass plant is a member of the sunflower family. According to Better Homes & Gardens, this pretty yellow flowering plant got its name because it aligns itself to the north and south to conserve water, making it an ideal drought-resistant plant.
2. Purple coneflower, as the name suggests, has large, bright purple flowers with dropping petals. The flowers will attract birds and butterflies to your lawn, and the plant itself is low-maintenance.
3. American hazelnut is a shrub that works well as a border plant. In the summer and spring, the shrub produces green leaves that turn red and yellow in the fall. A mature shrub will produce American hazelnuts, edible nuts that taste like the English hazelnut you’re used to.
1. English lavender grows thin and tall with purple, white or silver flowers. It has a strong, pleasing scent and is commonly used in cosmetics, perfume and herbal medications. At first, lavender can be difficult to grow, requiring up to three years to reach maturity, says the National Gardening Association, and the soil must be kept moist for the first few years. But you’ll have a blooming and drought-tolerant plant for years once the lavender reaches maturity.
2. Evergreen currant is a low-growing shrub that produces interesting results. First the plant develops dark green and fragrant leaves. As the plant matures, it will produce clusters of tiny, bright red flowers and eventually dark red berries.
3. Evening primrose grows easily, maybe a little too easily. If you don’t remember to prune these perennials back, they can easily overtake your yard. But if you maintain the plants, you’ll get beautiful yellow, white or pink flowers that look like little cups.
What are your favorite drought-resistant flowers or shrubs? Sound off on our Facebook page and tell us what plants have thrived in drought conditions where you live.