Drought Tolerant Plants, Tips and Advice.
It’s been awhile since we have seen any rain and everywhere is looking a little too brown. Gone it seems is our lush green grass that many have spent months feeding and mowing. Our parasols are in constant use whilst our umbrellas feel we may have forgotten them. It’s also an anxious time for gardeners, so many have put so much effort and money into the design and planning of their gardens and are now subject to or facing hosepipe bans.
So with this in mind, we thought we would help you get proactive with our blog Drought Tolerant Plants, Tips and Advice highlighting some plants that are more drought tolerant than others, enabling you to prioritise what little water you have for those who need it the most. If you don’t have them they may be worth adding to your garden to help keep colour and interest in future years.
First up is our Plant of the Month, Echinacea and proving so worthy of its title during this month’s dry spell. They are low maintenance hardy perennial, drought tolerant plants who are happy in a sunny spot and will accept less watering than most plants.
Next up is Lavender, fully hardy and as it is native to the Mediterranean and Middle East it’s no surprise that it will tolerate drought. English Lavender is one of the most popular evergreen shrubs for planting as a border or dwarf hedge, but can also look great in a container on the patio where the fragrance can be admired. Its small purple-violet flowers are a magnet for bees and other wildlife all summer long.
Veronica is valued for its great garden performance, flowering for months on end. Also known as Speedwell, it has beautiful spikes and a long bloom time. Whether they are white, purple, pink or blue, these drought tolerant plants thrive well in full sun and well drained soil.
Achillea are a hardy perennial plant also known as Yarrow. The genus was named after the Greek mythological character Achilles, as according to legend, Achilles’ soldiers used Yarrow to treat their wounds. It’s flower is flat making it the perfect landing pad for wildlife. Once established they are pretty drought tolerant and do well in a sunny position.
You may have these in your garden but if not possibly one to add to the list for next year. Echinops or Globe Thistle as they are also known have silver foliage that can feel quite prickly and produce long flower stems with glorious globe shaped thistles on top. They are fantastic at the back of a border, adding height and theatre! They look equally as good in a traditional cottage garden as they do in a really modern urban garden.
Echinops grow best in poor, well drained soil in full sun – however they will grow almost anywhere making them perfect drought tolerant plants. Make sure to remove flower stems when they look tired and before they set seed and you will encourage a second crop of flowers.
Salvia (Sage) forms eye catching, compact, bushy clumps that are covered in stunning spikes of rich flowers appearing early summer and lasting throughout the summer months. With its upright habit and dense foliage, this hardy perennial provides excellent ground cover in beds and borders. It likes full sun but will also do well in light shade. Once established it can be watered every other week.
Coreopsis are also pretty drought tolerant once established and a great pop of colour for your garden.They have a long flowering period through summer and into autumn. They love the heat so do well in a sunny spot in a border or in a patio pot.
And a note about Dahlias, they are so popular in gardens and they do like warmth, it encourages more flowers but they struggle if it gets too hot. You may find they stop flowering so when planting it is good to consider a spot where they get sun in the morning but are maybe slightly more shaded in the afternoon.
Drought Tolerant Plants, Tips and Advice – Watering:
What and when to water during a drought may feel like a minefield, this useful article on dealing with drought in the garden provides some great information and handy tips. It’s so important to reduce water use so make sure you are using it wisely. It’s worth making a list and prioritising plants that are new and trying to establish themselves and those that obviously look to be stressed through lack of water. Others including those mentioned above can be further down the list so it’s worth doing your research.
The RHS have put together a useful article on watering. Water is a precious resource and supplies in the UK are under pressure from the effects of climate change, population increase and the need to protect the environment, such as river levels for wildlife. Using it wisely and effectively can help make a difference.
Drought Tolerant Plants, Tips and Advice – A Few Quick Tips:
- Mulch to protect your soil moisture levels. An inch or two should be enough around small flowering plants.
- Reuse your shower and bath water.
- Check your watering can, this is no time for leaks!
- Water less, believe it or not, many of us actually over water.
- Keep an eye on the bees, a drought can be bad for bees with less flowers around. If you spot a dehydrated bee, a little water and sugar mixed together helps them to recover. ● When the drought has passed, plan to replace any lost flowering plants to your garden. Butterflies as well as bees depend on them for their survival.
- Use organic fertilisers as chemical ones have been shown to make plants thirstier. ● Don’t forget your lawn may look brown now but don’t lose heart it will recover!
Hopefully this article has provided you with some useful information but you may also find the following blogs of interest too:
Just like humans, some plants like a lot of sun and others prefer to sit quietly in the shade. This is great news for gardeners as we all have that shady spot where nothing much grows and with just a little knowledge about How To Get The Best Out Of Shaded Areas you can find a solution.
They look amazing and are a powerhouse of a plant, loved by bees, butterflies and humans and so deserving of its plant of the month status.
More commonly known as Coneflowers, Echinacea are easy to grow, flowering herbaceous perennials and part of the Daisy family. They love the sun and are best planted in the autumn and spring, preferring not to be disturbed they like to be left to form clumps.
The summer seems to be flying by, many of us are no doubt trying to rescue plants that suffered in the very hot spell in July. It’s also a busy time of year in the garden, plenty of pruning and maintenance to do as well as planning for the autumn. In our garden jobs for August we look at a few of the things that we should be doing this month.