This year we have put together a display of drought-tolerant plants in the garden centre. If you have a dry spot in the garden where you struggle to get plants to survive, we have a range of plants that might solve the problem. All plants need watering until they have established roots in the ground, however, herbaceous plants such as Lychnis, Achilleas, Sedums and Eryngiums are capable of withstanding long periods of hot and dry weather and thrive in well-drained soils.
A good indicator of a plant adapted to dry conditions is that it has silvery, grey-green leaves which reflect intense sunlight, and have a coat of fine hairs which helps trap moisture. A lot of Mediterranean plants have this characteristic.
Salvias are drought-tolerant, as are herbs such as Thyme, Lavender, Lemon Verbenas, Oregano, Sage and Rosemary. Plants like these do best in full sun to concentrate and bring out their aromatic flavours.
Drought-tolerant shrubs include Ceanothus, Berberis, Cytisus, Cistus, Buddleia, Hebes and Cordylines. As with many of the herbaceous plants, they prefer well-drained soils. The Buddleia, Cistus and Ceanothus will attract beneficial wildlife. Cordyline ’Electric Pink’ will add an exotic feel to your garden while being very low maintenance.
Trees such as Silver Birch (Betula pendula), Gingko biloba, Gleditsia triacanthos and conifers such as the Scot’s Pine (Pinus Sylvestris) will also survive in dry soils once they have established a good root system.
When planting and growing these plants, it is best to keep a few things in mind.
- Drought-resistant plants perform best in well-drained soil, including in containers. The ideal medium would be gritty or sandy soil of low fertility.
- They generally grow best in full sun.
- It is still important to give them a good watering initially when planted to help them establish a good root system.
- Do not give them too much feed. This will result in too much soft growth which may flop in summer.