Asters and garden Mums

Drought Tolerant Plants

With watering restrictions and hot, dry summers becoming a reality of life in our usually rainy Pacific Northwest climate, it would be wise to start adding some drought tolerant plants to your garden landscape.  A water-wise-use landscape is known as a xeriscape.  Xeriscaping can greatly reduce the time and money you spend in irrigating your garden.

A drought tolerant plant is defined as a plant that can perform without supplemental water for dry spells of up to 2-3 months.  As a rule of thumb,  drought tolerant plants typically have foliage which is small, leathery, grassy or succulent, or the leaves are grey or hairy.

A surprising number of plants are drought tolerant once established, but as with any other kind of plant, watering and protection are necessary for newly planted specimens.  Many drought tolerant plants are also tolerant of poor to average soils which are free-draining, but it would be wise to add some organic matter to the soil to improve water retention when trying to establish the plant.  Mulching to retain moisture for new plantings is also helpful.  And as with any other plant, drought tolerant specimens  need to be planted in a proper location, whether sunny, shade or partial sun as the case may be.

Listed below are some suggested plants for starting your own attractive and water-efficient landscape:

TREES
Botanical Name Common Name
Gingko Biloba Ginko
Liquidambar styraciflua Sweetgum
SHRUBS AND GROUND COVERS
Botanical Name Common Name
Arbutus unedo Strawberry Tree
Berberis species Barberry
Camellia sasanqua Winter-blooming
Ceanothus species Wild Lilac
Cotinus coggygria Smoke Tree
Cotoneaster species Cotoneaster
Genista species St. Johnswort
Juniperus species Juniper
Kerria japonica Kerria
Mahonia Species Oregon Grape
Microbiota decussata Russian Cypress
Phisocarpus species Ninebark
Prunus lusitanica Portugal Laurel
Rosa rugosa Ramanas Rose
Rosemarinus officinalis Rosemary
Syringia vulgaris Common Lilac
Taxus species Yew
Thymus species Thyme
Yucca species Yucca
VINES
Botanical Name Common Name
Hedera Helix English Ivy
Lonicera species Honeysuckle
Wisteria species Wisteria
PERENNIALS
Botanical Name Common Name
Achillea Yarrow
Aquilegia Columbine
Armeria Thrift
Bergenia Bergeniac
Cerastium Snow in Summer
Coreopsis Coreopsis
Dianthus Pinks
Digitalis Foxglove
Echinacea Coneflower
Euphorbia Spurge
Gailardia Blanket Flower
Geranium Crane’s bill
Gypsophila paniculata Baby’s Breath
Helleborus Hellebore
Hemerocallis Daylily
Iberis sempervirens Candytuft
Lavandula Lavender
Rudbeckia Black-eyed Susan
Salvia Sage
Sedum Stonecrop