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Drought-Tolerant Perennials

Flowers That Tolerate Full Sun

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bluebeard: drought tolerant shrub

Bluebeard produces clusters of blue flowers atop silvery foliage.

Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden

If you wish to grow flowers in an area pounded by full sun all day, consider a landscape plan that focuses on drought-tolerant perennials. The use of such plants will reduce time and money spent on irrigation. Descriptions of the flowers to be planted in one such landscape plan are presented below.

To view the arrangement of these flowers in a drawing, an accompanying drought-tolerant perennials plan has been provided. This plan indicates which flowers should be placed in the back row, which flowers belong in the middle row and which ones will go in the front row. The flower border of drought-tolerant perennials in this example is approximately 15’ long by 11’ wide. Adjust spacing accordingly for your own flower beds, depending on their dimensions. Pictures of individual plants included in the plan are provided atop each page in this article.

Many drought-tolerant perennials are also tolerant of poor-to-average soils. Some even prefer poor soils. Consequently, in addition to being drought tolerant, the following perennials were also selected with an eye to soil-quality requirements. Namely, none of them are plants on which you need to waste valuable humus. Save your hard-earned humus for plants that require a rich, fertile soil. The flowers in this plan prefer soils that are well-drained, and nothing facilitates drainage like plain old, infertile sand.

"Longwood Blue" bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Longwood Blue') is a drought-tolerant perennial that reaches a height of 3’ x 4’ and a spread of 2’ x 4’. Bluebeard is actually classified as a deciduous shrub, although many gardeners use it as they would a perennial. Bluebeard can be grown in zones 5-9, but in zone 5 and 6 it should be treated as an herbaceous perennial; cut above-ground growth back in late winter or early spring, and await its rebirth later in spring. Also called “blue mist” or “blue spirea,” its prominent features are its airy clusters of fragrant blue flowers and its silvery-gray foliage. Flowering begins in late summer and continues into autumn. Bluebeard’s blooms attract butterflies.

Because of its healthy height, bluebeard is a good choice for the back row of a layered flower bed. On Page 2 we'll discuss selections for the middle and front rows of our plan composed of drought-tolerant perennials....

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