We never know what kind of spring, summer or fall we are going to have. But if it’s anything like the past few years in our neck of the woods, we can expect a dry and hot summer, which leads to a dry fall.
There's a mixture of perennials and a few annuals that are drought-tolerant that can still give you colorful blooms all summer long.
When the rain stops falling and you don't want that huge water bill, here's a list of plants that will survive dry conditions and still add color to your garden.
1. Coneflowers. These can thrive in any soil that has adequate drainage, and can handle a drought situation well. Coneflowers come in lots of different shades and add a nice pop of color to any garden. They don’t require much upkeep at all. An added benefit to growing coneflowers is that they are self-sowing, which means you will have new plants every year that can be transplanted. Coneflowers attract bees, lots of bees, which are drawn to the flower’s purple color.
2. Catmint. This is another perennial that is perfect for rock gardens, borders, and containers. It is drought-tolerant and has aromatic flowers that attract butterflies and bees. And it’s a repeat bloomer, even without being sheared, and will continue to look attractive over the hot summer months. Leave spent foliage in place over winter to help protect the crown, and wait until early spring to cut it back.
3. Hummingbird mint. This is a showy, fragrant, long-blooming perennial that is highly attractive to hummingbirds. They grow and flower best in full sun but will survive in part shade. They grow 3 to 5 feet tall and can have either white or purple flower spikes. It’s a tall plant; a good choice for the back of a border.
4. Yarrow. This perennial is known for its long-lasting flowers. A North American-native plant, yarrow is practically care-free, is pest-resistant, drought resistant and attracts butterflies. Yarrow has showy flower heads composed of tiny, tightly-packed flowers that rise above clusters of ferny foliage. The flowers can be yellow, red, pink, or any shade in between. It’s perfect for borders and ground cover.
5. Veronica. This is another great perennial that is easy to grow. It has long spikes of small petals in purple, blue, pink, or white; and grows in clusters from 1 to 3 feet tall. Veronica is deer- and drought-resistant and will attract pollinators to your garden. Its is best planted in well-drained soil with full sun to part shade.
6. Salvia. Part of the mint family, salvia has colorful spikes of densely-packed flowers with tubular blossoms on top of stems and velvety leaves. They are drought-tolerant, very aromatic, and are great for cutting. They prefer full sun in well-drained soil, but will bloom in part shade. If your goal is to attract pretty pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds, along with bees, make sure this is on your list.
7. Russian sage. This fast-growing perennial is 2 to 5 feet tall, with airy spike-like clusters of lavender blue or shades of purplish blue, that sit above finely-textured, aromatic foliage. It’s a vigorous, hardy, heat-loving perennial that is drought tolerant and resists deer, rabbits and pests. Grows well in poor soil, and does best in full sun. Russian sage is a good choice if you are xeriscaping. Hummingbirds, butterflies and bees are drawn to this plant.
8. Lantana. This annual is a great plant to add to any sunny garden or patio pot. With clusters of blossoms in a variety of colors, lantana can grow from 3 to 6 feet tall, and wide. It does best in full sun, but can grow in part shade (flowering will drop, however, and plants are more susceptible to diseases and insects). Newly-planted lantana should be watered regularly until plant is established. After that it requires little maintenance and is drought-tolerant. Lantanas are like a pollinator heaven, attracting butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.