Thursday, July 18, 2013

Some Like It Hot

Plants that Tolerate Dry Conditions

Posted By: in Gardening

I find it interesting when people ask me what types of plants are good in hot dry locations; we live on the west coast where it rains an average of 166 days with over 47 inches of rain (Vancouver/Richmond) per year.

This is not a dry climate... however there are times when we do not get the rain and temperatures can hover in the 30's for short periods. What perennials can we grow that will take the rain but also tolerate short periods of hot dry conditions?

A True Waterwise Garden

True "desert type" plants that will take extended periods of heat and drought do not fare well here unless grown in pots or under special conditions, they include cacti, succulents and those special plants adapted to specific desert-like environs. Many plants that have adapted to these conditions shut down or go dormant which makes them not very appealing to the average west coast gardener. Gardeners want to see their plants thriving, covered in lush growth during the summer months not bare or dormant.

So what can we grow that will give us the best of both worlds? I will divide the plants into two categories, R- those that require dry periods and T- those that will tolerate it.

R - Type Plants

Those perennials that require drier conditions to thrive are a challenge to grow in the lower mainland as we are a temperate rainforest and get far too much rainfall. To grow these plants they will need a very warm, sunny (or part shade) location with excellent drainage to carry away any excess moisture from the root zone.

Placing plants against rock/stone walls or along pathways of similar material affords them additional radiated heat and planting in raised beds or on slopes gives them the extra drainage they need. They should require little in the way of water except of course when they are first planted. Once plants are well established (at least 1 season) they should survive with just natural rainfall or minimal watering.

ice plant

Hardy Ice Plant

Delosperma spp.

This succulent type perennial comes from South Africa, it forms a low mat of fleshy evergreen leaves. Abundant starry flowers produced atop the plants appear from late spring into fall. Makes an excellent groundcover for hot, dry areas; requires sharp drainage in full sun. Height: 5-10cm Spread: 30-45cm Zone: 5

ice plant

Foxtail Lily

Eremurus spp.

Also called desert candles these spectacular perennials hail from central and western Asia. Foliage resembles a low clump of soft yucca-like green to blue-green leaves. Tall flowering stems (to 3m+) are topped by bottlebrush flower-spikes that range in colour from white, yellow, peach, orange and pink; early to mid summer. Like many drought tolerant plants they may go completely dormant after flowering. Plants require full sun and prefer sandy soil that is sharply drained as the roots are prone to winter root rot. Height: 1.25-3m Spread: 60cm Zone: 5

T - Type Plants

The second group includes perennials that like our moist climate, especially in the spring where it is needed for new growth and flowering, but will tolerate short periods of dryness, usually during the summer. That being said they will stress during very hot periods and should be watered to maintain health.

ice plant

Siberian Bugloss

Brunnera macrophylla var.

What versatile, bold and elegant perennials these are. Large heart-shaped foliage in a variety of colours and markings make them indispensible in the shade garden or mixed container. Once established they tolerate competition with large plants (see example below) and will even perform quite well through a drier summer. However they do require moisture especially during the peak growing period (spring) and can thrive quite nicely in moister environments. Sapphire blue, pink or white forget-me-not flowers eclipse the emerging growth for several weeks in early spring. Prefers a cool, shady site in humus rich soil but again if plants are established they will tolerate dry periods. Height: 40-50cm Spread: 60cm Zone: 4

 

ice plant

Barrenwort

Epimedium spp.

Invaluable plants often planted as ground-cover in difficult shady sites and can hold their own amongst larger established plants. Many selections are available with innumerable leaf forms, size and colouring both evergreen and deciduous. Flowers are available to suit almost any fancy and are heralds to the coming spring. It has been noted that they are somewhat deer resistant... however the younger members of what I call "giant 4-legged slugs" always want to taste test, so no plant is really safe. A great low maintenance perennial. Their preference is a shady site in rich well-drained loamy soil. Height/Spread: variable Zone: 4+

Here are some more drought tolerant R Type Perennials:

  • Echeveria
  • Echium
  • Eryngium
  • Kniphofia
  • Lavandula
  • Lewisia
  • Sedum
  • Sempervivum

More T Type Perennials

  • Achillea
  • Artemisia
  • Amsonia
  • Arabis
  • Caryopteris
  • Cynara
  • Dianthus
  • Euphorbia
  • Gaillardia
  • Hemerocallis
  • Iberis
  • Perovskia
  • Solidago
  • Stachys

Art's Nursery carries a large and diverse selection of drought tolerant perennials, plants and shrubs. Please call ahead (604.882.1201) to confirm availability of specific varieties as our stock and selection are always changing.

Lyle Courtice A.H.

Lyle Courtice A.H.

Lyle is a certified Horticultural Technician (Niagara College), Landscape Designer, Nurseryman and the proprietor of HarkAway Botanicals.

Since 1980 Lyle has worked in both the retail and wholesale sectors of the horticultural trade; he operates his own wholesale nursery, which focuses on an eclectic mix of rare and choice plant material from Asia, Europe and North America. Lyle has appeared on The Canadian Gardener and is a contributing author to A Grower’s Choice (Raincoast books 2001).

His horticultural expertise makes him sought after as a consultant, lecturer, photographer, instructor and writer. An industry veteran, Lyle is esteemed within the horticultural community for his passionate and often humorous enthusiasm for plants.

Tel:604.882.1201
Email:info@artsnursery.com
Web:http://www.artsnursery.com
Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/artsnursery
Twitter:http://www.twitter.com/artsnursery


Sponsored Advertisement

Blog Profile

arts nursery logo
Art's Nursery is a 10+ acre retail and wholesale garden centre located in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We've been in business at this same location since 1973 and we're proud to serve you today!

We carry an incredible selection of plants, shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials, vines, groundcovers, roses and much more. Soils, bulk materials, pottery and a variety of garden accents are also available.

Our plant selection is so large that you can actually drive a golf cart while you shop!

We pride ourselves on providing high quality plant, expert advice and an exceptional gardening experience.

Blog Search

Recent Posts

Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Winter Containers

Many of us plant containers for summer interest and leave them empty for the winter. I get very exci...

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
20 Great Gift Ideas For Christmas

Are you trying to figure out what to get everyone on your list for Christmas? We know it can be chal...

Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Dwarf Conifers and Deciduous Trees For the Smaller Yard

Our world can change so quickly. We move into our first home with its tiny yard. We leave a larger...

Tuesday, November 6, 2018
November 2018 in Your Garden

Happy November people!!! Scarecrow season was a Spooktacular success and thank you to all who came ...

Friday, October 5, 2018
Green Manure And Cover Crops

Friday, October 5, 2018
Fall Colour Plants With Two Jobs

I think it is safe to say that all of us plant our gardens with a vision in mind that it will be bea...

Monday, September 10, 2018
From Garden to Table

On August 29th, I was lucky enough to attend the Coquitlam Farmer’s Market Long Table Dinner, to whi...

Sunday, September 9, 2018
12 Fantastic Ferns

Ancient history has a common thread, it is the fern. These plants have fossil records that date back...


Tag Cloud

winter containers porch pots winter planters winter decorations Christmas planters Christmas containers Christmas potsgift ideas Christmas gifts great Christmas ideas garderns gift ideas gift ideas for gardenersdeciduous trees smaller conifers smaller yards dwarf conifers small space gardeningfall fall gardening winter gardening November plants with fall colour fall colour winter berriesgreen manure cover crops fall crops fall rye rejuvenation mix fall foliage plant combinationsgarden. edibles fall veggies farmers markets long table dinner kale fall and winter gardensferns woodland plants tree ferns polystichum adiantum dryopteris plants for shadefall container recipe container plantings container design cool and crispbulbs new bulbs spring bulbs flower bulbs new bulbs for 2018 tulips iris anemone hyacinth eremurusrare plants unusual plants collectors plants senecio angel wings eucalyptus russelia abutilon echium dendroserisdormant oil dormant oil spray dormant oil kit insect damage fruit trees protect from insects protect from fungusTop 6 Colourful Winter Plants Winter Interest Plant for Winter Colour Cold Hardy Plants Top 6 Plants Top 6 Winter Plants for Winter Interest Winter Plants Viburnum Davidii Leucothoe Rainbow Crabapple Red Sentinel Crabapple Tree Evergreen Shrub Skimmia Female Cedar Sienna Sunset Globe Cedar Skimmia Cedar for Winter Colorful Crabapple Fruit Tree Winteramaryllis hippeastrum buy amaryllis amaryllis bulbs indoor bulbs amaryllis care waxed amaryllis fall bulbs daffodils colourful companions new flower bulbsgrasses ornamental grasses gardening cool season grass warm season grass miscanthus pennisetum fall planters fall plantstropical tropical plants outdoor tropical palm trees palms banana plants jasmine monkey puzzle tree phormium new Zealand flax agapanthusplantsomethingbc contest bcplants dahlias lilies canna calla florissa

Blog Roll

Other interesting gardening blogs that we follow include:

Blog RSS Feed

Keep in touch by subscribing to our RSS/Atom News Feeds


Subscribe Via FeedBurner

 Subscribe in a reader

Copyright (c) 2018 Art's Nursery Ltd.  | 8940 192nd Street, Surrey, BC, Canada, V4N 3W8  | tel: 604.882.1201  | SiteMap  | Privacy Statement |