Drought-tolerant plants
Amateur Gardening|July 31, 2021
With the effects of global warming and growing concerns about water conservation, plants that need less water are becoming more popular
Tamsin Hope Thomson

HOT, dry conditions can be seen as a problem, but I like to see it as an opportunity to use drought-tolerant plants that will save you time and money.

There’s a huge range of striking plants that can cope with little rainfall. These low-maintenance plants will transform your sun-baked borders for the better. As well as giving your borders a boost, transforming your planting will help with climate change, save water and you’ll have a display that won’t wilt at the first sign of a heatwave.

So, what types of plants do you need? The plants that can cope with hot, dry conditions usually originate from hot, dry and rocky areas of the world with a Mediterranean climate. They have evolved to thrive in these conditions, which is why you’ll have more success with planting in dry conditions if you choose the right plants.

Whatever your taste, you’ll find a plant to suit your style, whether it’s a gravel garden of flowering plants from phlomis to nepeta, or an exotic look with dramatic foliage plants like agave and yuccas.

There are a few ways to spot drought-tolerant plants – look at their leaves, as they tend to have one or more of the following attributes: spiky, needles, silver-coloured foliage, tiny leaves or waxy leaves. All these characteristics help the plant deal with heat.

Silver foliage

Plants with silver foliage are able to reflect sun away from the plant, while plants with hairs can trap moisture and those with small or needle-like leaves lose less water through evaporation.

There are also ways to improve your soil conditions to help plants thrive. Many Mediterranean plants like free-draining soil and will not like sitting in waterlogged sites over winter, so it’s important to improve soil structure. Once established, you’ll have tough plants that won’t need much care.

Drought-tolerant planting is an exciting opportunity to transform problem areas of the garden into a fantastic display – and you won’t have to worry about asking your neighbour to do holiday watering.

Make your garden drought resistant

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