Summer is a time to be carefree. A time to stay out late, take an impromptu weekend vacation, and/or travel abroad! So who wants to worry about caring for flowers in the garden? In lieu of assembling a water irrigation kit or recruiting a friend to water your plants while you’re gone, what else is a beginner gardener to do? How about planting flowers that tolerate heat and drought! Not only will you appreciate the fact that you won’t have to worry about them when you’re gone, but even when you’re at home you will not have to be so vigilant.
Our meteorological patterns have been shifting the last few decades. As a result of the unpredicatable movement and splitting of the polar vortex, regular and what used to be predicatable patterns in the weather forecasts have not been predictable.
Whether or not you believe in climate change, we can all agree the weather has recently been atypical and more severe. No longer can one rely on March winds, (whenever I think of March winds, I think of the old Aesop’s Fable, The North Wind and the Sun), and April showers bring May flowers, an old adage we learned in grammar school.
Instead Mother Nature has thrown at us everything but the kitchen sink when it comes to the weather, such as warmer temperatures in Alaska than in the US heartland in the middle of winter, prolonged droughts in the Arctic and melting polar ice caps.
As a gardener, you have to be adaptable. Below are a list of annuals and perennials that are both heat and drought tolerant. Try planting some of these for ease of maintenance.
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Low Maintenance Flowers
Zinnias come in a multitude of colors including yellow, pink, red, and orange. Butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to both the single and double varieties. They are annuals and go through their entire life in one year. Zinnias will die at the first frost. Full sun is preferred, but they can also survive in afternoon shade if the temperatures are high. They will not bloom as profusely in partial shade.
Yarrow thrives on neglect. Keep it watered well when you initially plant it, but then only water it when it is completely dry. Yarrow is a perennial and will thrive in full sun. It comes in a variety of colors in both vibrant and pastel shades, including white, pink, yellow, red, orange and gold.
Wild sage is a perennial in zones 5 to 8 and will grow back from year to year. However if you live in warmer climates, 9 and above, the plant will grow as an annual. It grows in a mounding shape and will spread from 4 to 8 feet and to the same height . Butterflies love its nectar and birds enjoy its fruit. It prefers full sun.
Vinca, the Periwinkle variety, is a lovely groundcover. It spreads easily and can be dug up and used in containers for the “spiller” component of a pot arrangement. Periwinkle thrives in both sun and shade and requires little water. It is a perennial. The Periwinkle variety comes in only one color.
Succulents are all the rage! If you live in a dry environment, plant succulents. I have also planted succulents on the east coast of the US in pots and they still thrived with the natural rain water. No need to worry about these plants. They do well in full sun to partial shade.
Stone Crop (Sedum)
This lovely drought tolerant perennial is an easy addition to a dry garden. Its flowers begin in early summer as small green clusters and gradually change color. Sedum grow larger throughtout the summer season and linger into the fall. They enjoy full sun. Butterflies are attracted to them.
Prickly Pear (Opuntia)
This beautiful flower is a succulent and blooms in late spring to early summer. The cactus makes red, white, and yellow flowers depending on the variety, and produces unusual fruit in the fall. It may appear dead in the early summer, but just wait. This succulent turns into this magnificent mass of color. It is a perennial and spreads quickly. Prickly Pear grows and blooms best in full sun. This cactus is extremely care-free.
Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora)
This beautiful little flower is perfect for adding a mass of color to your garden. It grows well in full sun and requires very little water. Portulaca will reseed and produce flowers in the next season. It is a low grower and looks great as a filler in containers.
Hens and Chicks
Another succulent, Hens and Chicks, is fun to grow. It produces “babies” that can be propagated and planted elsewhere. Hens and Chicks do bloom once established, usually after 3 years. It forms a long stem topped with rosette shaped flowers. Long, warm, sunny days will produce blooms. Hens and Chicks is a perennial and prefers full sun.
This lovely plant comes in white, yellow, orange, red, purple, pink and magenta. It is a hardy perennial vine found in zones 9 to 11. It prefers full sun. Bougainvillea blooms from May through December. It thrives on very little water.
Oleander is a beautiful shrub full of dainty pink flowers. It is native from the Mediterranean area to the Arabian Peninsula and thrives in full sun and dry weather. Beware, it is toxic to humans and pets.
This very low maintenance, short-lived perennial makes wonderful cut flowers. It blooms for a long season and attracts pollinators. Gaillardia prefers full sun and well drained soil.
Coneflowers are a favorite of many gardeners. They are a herbaceous perennial that blooms all season long with very little care. Coneflowers do best in full sun and, once established, need very little water. They have tall stems, which make for good cutting flowers. Coneflowers come in a variety of colors.
This little beauty is an annual in zones 1 to 8 and a perennial in zones 9 to 11. It produces masses of tiny blooms on a multiple stem in colors that range from white and pink to orange, red, and yellow. Lantana will grow into a large bush as an annual if planted in full sun.
Cosmos is a dainty feather-light blossom on top of a long stem. They look lovely blowing gently in a summer’s wind. Cosmos is a herbaceous perennial or an annual, depending on your zone. They come in various colors, including pink, orange, red, yellow, white, and maroon.
This spider looking flower, (sometimes called spider flower), usually only needs to be planted once because it reseeds prolifically. Seed pods can be removed before they burst and then scattered in a different part of your garden. They like full sun to part shade in well-drained soil.
This unusual flower can be grown in dry, sandy, sunny areas. The Blue Sea Holly will bloom through summer into fall and is tolerant to extreme conditions such as salt spray, drought, and strong winds. It has blue gray foliage and is a hardy perennial.
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Flowers That Tolerate Heat and Drought
Sit back and “smell the roses”. After reading this post I hope you are convinced it is time to plant drought resistant plants. If you follow some of my suggestions and plant these flowers, you will have a carefree and relaxing summer. Enjoy the passing of time!
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