Drought Tolerant Plants for the Garden
Drought Tolerant Plants or Water wise plants for the garden are plants that require minimal water once established. Some Nurseries specialise in drought tolerant plants for the home garden and can provide comprehensive lists of drought tolerant plants for specific situations.
Drought Tolerant or Sun Tolerant ?
One of the big issues during hot dry weather are days of high temperature, with 4 or 5 days of temperatures from the mid 30s to mid 40s many gardens will suffer, and drought tolerant plants may not be the answer to these conditions.
For example, Clivia are regarded as drought tolerant as are Hellebores, however they are not able to tolerate hot direct sunlight. Many Australian native ferns are drought tolerant, however if exposed to the heat of the hot sun they may well not survive.
Drought Tolerance varies between species in the same genus
Even within a genus, some species will tolerate drier and hotter conditions than others. Campanula are not generally regarded as drought tolerant, however some species are.
Campanula rotundifolia and the Azores Bellflower Campanula vidalii are two that we have grown in full sun and with very little extra water. Other species in the same genus would turn over on a 40 degree day in direct sun.
Choosing the right plants for the right conditions
Although many drought tolerant trees and plants can be obtained through online nurseries, and are generally defined as those that need very little watering once established you will still need to ask a few questions.
- how much water will the plant require
- will it tolerate hot direct sun
- will the soil conditions greatly influence the plants ability to survive in drought.
- does the plant recover well. or is it likely to just die
Drought tolerance in plants will depend on the local climate, soil type and positioning. So what plants are drought tolerant ?
In our garden we very rarely water roses, we do keep them well mulched in an attempt to retain moisture and keep the roots cool, but they are exposed to full sun, in our case we regard roses as being drought tolerant. However extreme hot sun will knock the flowers over very quickly, again drought tolerance and ‘hot sun tolerant’ can be two different things.
We also grow clivia and never water them, so we also regard them as drought tolerant. Try the nurseries listed below for a range of drought tolerant plants.
A List of Drought Tolerant Plants
The list of plants that can survive without needing a lot of water is extensive. Choosing the best for your climate, soil and landscaping needs is the difficult part.
Establishing a successful drought tolerant garden will depend on the situation. The common factor is low rainfall especially during hot summers.
A common misconception is that drought tolerant plants need no water, this is not the case. They just need a lot less than other plants.
A list of drought tolerant plants would include many Australian Native plants, however other countries have a lot to offer us us well. South Africa, Mexico and many areas if the Mediterranean and Middle East offer us a wealth of plants that cope well in dry conditions.
Succulent plants are high on the list with many gardeners, however many common garden bulbs are well adapted to hot dry summers.
Lists of Drought Tolerant Plants can be divided up into a number of sections.
Trees and Shrubs.
It is well known that Crepe Myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica) are drought tolerant, however many other trees can also be included in this list.
- Aesculus x carnea – Horse chestnut
- Brachychiton – Most species
- Callistemon species – Bottlebrush
- Catalpa speciosa – Western Catalpa
- Cydonia bologna – The Quince Tree.
- Gleditsia triacanthos – Honey Locust.
- Malus app – The Crabapples
- Sophora japonica – Japanese Pagoda Tree
Many plants form the Mediterranean are regarded as being drought tolerant to different degrees. These include :
- Arbutus andrachnoides
- Ficus cardiac – The fig tree.
- Ole europaea – The Olive tree
- Punica Granatum – Pomegranate
- Phloxes – Jerusalem Sage
- Geraniums – some species look for Pelargonium peltatum (Ivy leaved pelargonium)
- Rosmarinus officinalis – Rosemary
South African Plants
Standouts from South Africa include
- Clivia – Drought tolerant in shade.
- A range of succulents including many Gasterias, Euphorbia and Haworthias
North American Plants
- Asters – some species
- Eryngium yuccifolium
- Solidago odora -Goldenrod
- Yucca species
Drought tolerantAustralian Native Plants
Although many Australian native plants are drought tolerant, a large number are not. Drought tolerance will again depend on the species and the conditions.
You may also be interested in
The following Nurseries stock Drought Tolerant Plants
52 Rodd St Canowindra NSW 2804
An online nursery specialising in drought and frost tolerant perennials and fragrant, edible and herbs.
395 Lesters Rd Ascot VIC 3364 - phone (03) 53434303
Specialising in beautiful perennials & bulbs including new releases from Europe & USA. Many hardy, rare & difficult to find ‘drought hardy’ plants, quality vegetable & flower seeds.
Native grasses, sedges, rushes, lilies, wetland plants, ornamental grasses and grass trees. Contract growing. Cells, tubes and pots. Contemporary water wise garden solutions and revegetation specialists. Unique garden decor, pots and original sculptures. Delivery available. www.plantsandlandscapes.com.au