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Perennials For Hot Dry Gardens

Updated on May 19, 2016

Easy To Plan And Grow Varieties!

Many of us have them. Those corners in the lawn, spaces between the sidewalk and the street, or strips of dessert along the driveway that never get water and are fried by the sun on a continual basis. You can cover them with rocks, but there are greener ways to make them lovely and easy to care for.

Here are plants that thrive in hot, dry conditions and need very little care. You may want to divide them every few years to encourage more blooms, but you don't have too. I'm only listing perennials in this article - so once you plant them, you're done!

Yucca - They have large, spiky sharp 'leaves' that also deter animals from using them for a potty. Yucca look like they belong in the middle of the Arizona desert, but do quite well in our Zone 5 Michigan Garden. In mid summer they sent up a giant spike of flowers that form along the stem and look like white or creamy bells. They die back to they tend to be evergreen as well. Height: 3-6 feet Soil: Sandy Sun:Full Water: very low amounts

Succulents - Succulents are very popular, mostly because they require little to no care and there are many varieties that fit nearly every zone.

Sedum - Autumn Joy is tough and blooms mid summer until the first frost. The dried seed heads are often used in wreaths and indoor arrangements.

There are groundcover varieties that grow only a few inches tall and bloom in early summer. Ground cover Sedum, like Basket of Gold, is the easiest to grow, is a light green with yellow flowers. I love ‘Dragon's Blood' because is a reddish, purple color that is very striking next to the yellow, but also gets crowded out easily by the stronger Basket of Gold. The groundcover sedums choke out all but the most tenacious stray grass seeds. I sprinkle mine with Preen in early spring and late fall. I hate to used chemicals, but I don't have as much time and energy for weeding as I used to. Height: 1-3 inches Soil: light or sandy Water: requires very little. Sun: Full

Upright Sedum form nice little round clumps all on their own. In late summer they produce large clusters of tiny flowers. There are many colors from green, variegated white/green, red and deep purple. They usually bloom until the first frost. The dried seed heads are nice for arrangements as well. Heights: 10-15" Soil: light or sandy Water: low amounts Sun: Full

Stella Doro Lily - These orange lilies love hot, dry weather. They grow in clumps and produce gold (aka ‘Doro) tubular flowers mid to late summer. Height: 12-15" Soil: Any garden soil Water: low amounts Sun: Full

Butterfly Weed - Don't be discouraged by the word ‘weed', this is a fantastic plant for hot dry places and butterflies do love them. They form bright orange flower cluster heads in summer and are extremely happy in hot, sunny areas. Height: 10 - 15 inches, Soil: Sandy loam or garden soil, :Water: low to moderate amounts. Sun: Full.

Cactus - There are cactus varieties that grow even as far north as Zone 5. Prickly Pear grows close to the ground and blooms bright buttery yellow offerings in late spring or early summer. WEAR gloves when handling them - as the long spines and shorter 'pickers" are not fun and hard to remove from skin. I plant these in the hot dry areas of sandy soil to discourage our neighboring cats from using it as a litter box.

So, make a little dessert island all your own and replace that dry ugly patch of dirt into an oasis!

Suggestions for hot dry gardens . . .

CORYDALIS 'PURPLE LEAF' / 1 gallon Potted
CORYDALIS 'PURPLE LEAF' / 1 gallon Potted

Corydalis not only loves shade, but thrives and blooms in hot, dry shade - a rarity among garden plants.

Sedum - Dragon's Blood - Ground Cover
Sedum - Dragon's Blood - Ground Cover


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    • profile image

      new  7 years ago

      do you mean "dessert" like these plants make you want more like a piece of pie or "desert" like an arid area?

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

      sedums are great,