Drought Tolerant Plants for Shade

Colorful leaves of Scutellaria ovata  - Heart Leaved Skull Cap

Colorful leaves of Scutellaria ovata – Heart Leaved Skull Cap

Summer is officially here and those dog days probably aren’t very far behind. It is this time of the year when we figure out which of the plants can handle the heat. Heat is one thing, drought is another. Of course we are interested in water conservation so we decided to highlight some of our drought tolerant plants. In this post we feature some of our dry shade loving plants.

No new plant is drought tolerant until it is established. This means you will have to nurture the new plants through the first growing season ensuring adequate water for root development in the spring, watering through the summer and enough moisture in fall to ensure  successful wintering over. The amount you water will depend on weather, soil type and plant type.

After you get your new perennials through the first year, these are just some that shouldn’t need much additional water in those dry days of summer and autumn. Of course, these are not all of the drought tolerant plants we have to offer. If you are looking for more variety be sure to check out our “Search by Characteristic” feature where you can search by categories important to you. For more information about each of the plants below be sure to click on the link which will take you to a detailed plant description.

SEDGES

As we have mentioned many times here before, there is a Carex for that. Carex, or sedges, are quite diverse. From sunny wet locations to shady dry locations, yes, there is a Carex for that.

Some Carex to try in those tough dry shady spots (think under thirsty surface rooted trees) are:

Carex appalachica (Appalachian Sedge)

Carex flaccosperma (Blue Wood Sedge)

C. flaccosperma

Carex pennsylvanica (Pennsylvania Sedge)

Carex pensylvanica - Pennsylvania sedge

Carex pensylvanica – Pennsylvania sedge

Carex platyphylla (Silver Sedge)

The distinct wide leaves  of Carex platyphylla  - Silver Sedge

The distinct wide leaves of Carex platyphylla – Silver Sedge

Carex texensis (Catlin Sedge)

carextexensis (2)

GRASSES

Danthonia spicata (Poverty Oat Grass)

Danthonia spicata - Poverty Oat Grass

Danthonia spicata – Poverty Oat Grass

Deschampsia flexuosa (Crinkled Hairgrass)

Deschampsia flexuosa - Crinkled Hairgrass

Deschampsia flexuosa – Crinkled Hairgrass

RUSHES

Juncus tenuis (Path Rush)

Juncus Tenuis - Path Rush

Juncus Tenuis – Path Rush

FERNS

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

HERBACEOUS FLOWERING PERENNIALS

Eurybia – Formerly known as Asters, these hardy plants are a must for any challenging site. Those listed below are essential for those shady challenging sites.

Eurybia macrophyllus - Big Leaf Aster

Eurybia macrophyllus – Big Leaf Aster

Symphyotrichum cordifolius  (Blue Wood Aster)

Symphiotrichum cordifolius - Blue Wood Aster

Symphiotrichum cordifolius – Blue Wood Aster

Chrysogonum virginianum ‘Superstar’  (Golden Star)

Chrysogonum Superstar

Chrysogonum Superstar

Ageratina altissima (Eupatorium rugosum) (Snake Root)

White Snake Root

White Snake Root

Parthenium integrifolium (Wild Quinine)

Scutellaria ovata (Heart Leaved Skull Cap)

Solidago caesia (Blue Stem Goldenrod) 

Solidago Caesia - Blue-stem Goldenrod

Solidago caesia – Blue-stem Goldenrod

Solidago flexicaulis (Zig-zag Goldenrod)

Including these drought-toerant shade-loving plants in your landscape will brighten up your shady areas, making sure you can enjoy your summer vacations away from the garden, not having to worry about watering these tough perennials. Including a selection of these will ensure you have flowers in your shady nooks from spring until fall.

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