Over the years, drought has become synonymous with horticulture. It seems that no matter where you live, you’re bound to experience some form of dry summer. This has forced many of us to re-evaluate our plant choices. The perennials we once relied on to fill our beds and borders can flag in July and August—or shrivel and die completely. In anticipation of drier conditions in the future, we are talking about plants that thrive in drought. These selections have characteristics that allow them to travel for long periods of time without rain, and/or soils that have poor moisture retention properties. And we’re not just talking about succulents and cacti here! Listen now to hear about an array of lush, flowering perennials that thrive in desert-like environments.
Expert Guest: Ed Levin is director of Ryman Gardens in Ames, Iowa.
‘Drops of Jupiter’ oregano (Origanum ‘Drops of Jupiter’, Zones 4-9)
sandpaper scrub (Mortonia scabrella(zones 8b-11)
‘Pink Champagne’ epimedium (Epimedium (‘Pink Champagne’, zones 5-8)
‘Blue Paradise’ Small Bluestem (Schizacherium scoparium (‘Blue Paradise’, Zones 3-9)
‘Pink Diamond’ Alpine Bleeding Heart (Dysentery (‘Pink Diamonds’, Zones 3-9)
‘Caradona’ herb garden sage (Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradona’, zones 4-8)
bearded iris (Iris germanica cvs., zones 3-9).
Undaunted® ruby muhly grass (Muhlenbergia reverchonii ‘PUND01S’, zones 5-9)
Epimedium (Epimedium spp and cvs., zones 4–9).
baptism (Baptisia spp and cvs., zones 4–9).
‘Blackhawks’ big blue stem (Andropogon gerardii ‘Blackhawks’, Zones 3-9)
butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa and cvs., zones 3–9).
Purple prairie clover (Dalea purpureazones 3-8).