Top Perennial Choices for Heat and Drought

Maintaining a pretty garden or landscape can be a challenge during hot, dry summer months when there is little rainfall. Choosing plants which thrive in difficult conditions, however, will guarantee attractive curb appeal, even during intense summer heat and drought. It is important to remember that your plants will require regular watering through their first year in the ground in order to encourage deep and healthy root growth. These strong roots will enable the plant to thrive under harsh drought conditions in subsequent years. Read on for Village Green’s list of 10 top perennials for heat and drought!

  1. Gaillardia x grandiflora - Blanket Flower

This hardy plant features beautiful red, orange, peach, and yellow blooms all summer long and well into the fall. Once established, Gaillardia will thrive in hot sunny areas with little water. Gaillardia spreads to form a 12-18” tall by 12-24” wide clump.

2. Perovskia atriplicifolia - Russian Sage

A true champion in poor soil conditions, Russian Sage adds beautiful blue and purple color to any hot, dry area in full sun. This woody-based perennial, which is available in varying sizes and heights, forms pretty and aromatic spires of flowers in mid to late summer when few other plants are in bloom. The blooms are long lasting, providing interest into the fall months.

3. Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ - Blue Fortune Anise Hyssop

This aromatic, long-blooming beauty requires well-drained soil and will suffer from too much moisture. Plant your hyssop in a bright, sunny location and enjoy its beautiful blue flower spires from July through September. When crushed, the leaves have a distinct licorice scent. Hyssop grows to 36” in height. Butterflies and hummingbirds will flock to this plant!

4. Rudbeckia hirta - Black-eyed Susan

A proven favorite in midwestern landscapes, the cheery yellow flowers of the black-eyed susan will brighten any sunny spot. Once established, this native perennial will blossom from mid to late summer with no maintenance required. Available in varying sizes.

5. Sedum species - Sedum/Stonecrop

Available in hundreds of different varieties, these easy succulents thrive in poor conditions where few other plants will grow. From upright, clump-forming growth forms to creeping ground covers, finding that perfectly-sized, beautiful perennial for your location has never been easier! Colorful, succulent foliage offers interest all summer long, giving way to beautiful flower heads in the fall.

6. Baptisia australis - Blue False Indigo

This native perennial forms a dense, rounded clump 3-4’ in height. Dusty blue foliage is offset by attractive lupine-like flowers in Spring. Flowers give way to large seed pods which turn dark brown when ripe and rattle in the wind. Once established, Baptisia does well in hot, dry conditions.

7. Lavandula angustifolia - English Lavender

A favorite in herb gardens, lavender will thrive in hot summer droughts. Both leaves and flowers are aromatic and will attract bees and butterflies. Deep purple blooms appear June to August atop compact, low-growing plant forms.

8. Achillea species - Yarrow

This perennial features deep cut, fern-like foliage and flat, mophead flowers through the summer. Flower colors include reds, yellows, pinks, and whites. Plant your yarrow in a dry, sunny location with plenty of room to spread. Grows 24-36” in height.

9. Nepeta species - Catmint

Catmint is one of the few perennials which blooms continuously spring through fall. This spreading, clump-forming plant produces beautiful gray-green leaves and light blue flower spires which give off a pleasant scent when touched. Catmint thrives in drought and poor soil conditions. Grows 12-24” in height and 18” wide.

10. Salvia officinales - Garden Sage

Beautiful purple flower spires grace tall stems during the summer. The aromatic leaves of this garden herb are commonly utilized for culinary purposes. In addition to thriving in intense summer heat and full sun, sage will also draw bees and butterflies. Grows 12-24”in height and forms a rounded clump.

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