Drought Tolerant Plants LThe term "drought tolerant plant" has different meanings to different people. Here in our Raleigh, North Carolina garden, what we call drought tolerant plants tolerate our frequent 3-6 week long summer dry-spells or thrive even if we fall short of our normal 43 inches of annual rain. The terms drought-resistant, drought-adapted, low-water-use, waterwise, or xeric plants are commonly applied to these plants, too.
A gardener from Texas or Los-Angeles would laugh at our definition of drought tolerant plants as they may receive 10 inches or less of rain per year and can sometimes go for 6 months without a drop. However, some of the plants in our list below can even tolerate these parched conditions.
We have assembled a list of drought tolerant plants and drought resistant flowers from our enormous on-line catalog that (once established and rooted in) can tolerate long periods of time between rain events and/or can tolerate low annual rain totals. Our list of drought tolerant plants and drought resistant flowers includes plenty of southwest garden plants, desert plants, prairie plants and chaparral plants from around the world as well as some North Carolina native plants.
Notable drought tolerant plants include succulents like Agave, Aloe, Delosperma, Kniphofia, Opuntia, Sedum, Sempervivum and Yucca as well as flowering perennials like Achillea, Alstroemeria, Baptisia, Coreopsis, Echinacea, Euphorbia, Gaillardia, Lantana, Penstemon, Perovskia, and Salvia. Several bulbs make our list of drought tolerant plants such as Agapanthus, Allium, Anomatheca, Crinum, Crocosmia, Cyclamen and certain Iris, as do some herbs like Agastache, Calamintha, Lavandula, Origanum and Rosmarinus. Certain ornamental grasses like Arundo, Muhlenbergia and Stipa are drought tolerant plants as are a few ferns like Araiostegia and Cheilanthes. Several of the cold hardy palm trees (e.g., Brahea, Butia, Chamaerops), and some of the conifers like Juniperus and Thuja are drought tolerant plants too. Some plants may surprise you with their ability to withstand dry conditions such as Alcea, Antirrhinum, Arisaema, Aster, Asclepias, Caryopteris, Buddleia, Helianthus, Hemerocallis, Liriope, Trachelospermum, and Vinca. These are just a few of the hundreds of waterwise gems in our on-line plant catalog.
Gardeners can improve their garden's drought performance by improving moisture control during dry periods. Start by preparing your soil with plenty of composted organic material and covering it with a thick layer of mulch. You can also trap as much rain as possible by building a rain garden or installing a rain barrel. Gardeners using drought tolerant plants will need to consider winter moisture, too. Several of the plants on our drought tolerant plant list do not like wet winters and will need to be planted in a raised bed or on a slope. When you are ready to buy drought tolerant plants and drought resistant flowers for your perennial garden, check out our online list of drought tolerant plants for sale.
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