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Drought tolerant plants

colaj 1It’s important for you to know that  that all plants require water, light, and nutrients to grow. There are however, some plants that need little water or they can survive long periods of time without watering (once established).

These are “drought- tolerant” plants. They reduce the demand for potable water in landscaping, requiring less maintenance and bringing ecological diversity and seasonal interest to the landscape.

Here in Niagara we have become aware of the dangerously low water levels of our surrounding lakes and rivers. We must all become more aware of conserving water. A few simple practices can help the home gardener maintain a beautiful garden while saving precious water, time and effort.

  • → First, install a rain barrel – this a good source of using the rain water instead of using the potable water.
  • → Second, apply mulch in your flower beds – mulch preserves the moisture (use shredded bark, wood chips, cocoa beans or cut grass). Mulch not only retain the moisture but it’s also beneficial for keeping the weeds away. Weeds are taking valuable water from the ground.  Ground covers such as vinca, perennial geraniums, ajuga, thyme or sweet woodruff (to give few examples)  can act as living mulches once established in the garden.

→ Last, but not least, plant suitable plants for your site. Choose drought-tolerant plants whenever possible, particularly if watering will be difficult or impossible.colaj 4

Characteristics of drought tolerant plants

Drought tolerant plants have a unique leaf structure such us:

  • Fine lacy foliage – reduced leaf surface means less water loss
  • Tick, succulent or waxy leaves – tick leaves store more moisture

Hairy or fuzzy leaves – fine pilosity (fine hairs) keep moisture at the leaf surface

Where drought tolerant plants grow best?

They perform best in hot, dry climates in full sun and well-drained soil.

Once planted, the landscape plantings require deep and thorough watering on a consistent basis within the first year to establish the plant’s root systems. Drought tolerant and native plantings can only be  drought tolerant after the planting’s root systems have established.

Fertilize drought tolerant plants if they begin to show signs of decline or discoloration.

Most drought tolerant perennials will perform exceptionally for years without being divided. Exceptions include the most vigorous or prolific perennials such as daylilies, hostas and tall bearded irises.colaj 3

Landscape examples for drought tolerant plants:

Most common are:

Rock Garden Landscape – rock gardens thrive in both sunny and shady locations. They are inspired by the collection of plants from alpine mountain regions.

Drought tolerant rock garden species include: Creeping Juniper, Potentilla fruticosa, Cotoneaster , Spirea varieties, Creeping Thyme, Perennial  Alyssum, Ground Phlox, Sedum varieties, Sempervivum.

Butterfly Landscape – these landscapes are low maintenance, colorful, scented and ecologically friendly gardens.

For more info about butterfly gardens click here

Commonly Planted Drought Tolerant  Species Drought Tolerant plantsDownload Pdf 

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