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Top Ten Flowering Plants for Drought

Gardeners are increasingly aware of the need to be water wise even where rain is plentiful. In response plant breeders have developed some pretty amazing varieties that are drought tolerant.

A drought tolerant plant is one that will hang tough during dry spells and then recover when water is available again.  Even drought tolerant plants require some water, especially right after planting to give their roots a chance to fully develop.  Annuals and perennials will need about 2 weeks of consistent moisture and trees and shrubs should be given consistent moisture for the first year. 

Once established you can expect your drought tolerant plants to thrive on rainfall and occasionally, a few deep soakings.  If the weather is dry for extended periods the plants may produce may appear less vigorous and produce less flowers, but they will bounce right back when you water them or it rains.

Drought tolerant plants in containers require more frequent supplemental watering than those planted in ground because container soil dries out so quickly.

Combined with the use of mulch to retain moisture and a watering system to occasional deep soak, drought tolerant plants will help you create a garden that conserves water and requires less work.

Drought tolerant does not mean drab.  These days even colorful annuals are being developed with low water usage in mind.  Here is a list of dramatic flowering plants you can grow in your water wise garden. 

Flambe® Chrysocephalum – Small button-like blooms on attractive plants. Give Chrysocephalum full sun and good air circulation. Orange or yellow flowering varieties available.
Diamond Frost® Euphorbia – Lacy white flowers float over delicate gray-green foliage. This is a great filler plant. It can be grown in both full sun or partial shade.
Luscious™ Lantana – Clusters of brilliant hued flowers on aromatic plants. The hotter it gets, the more this plant blooms. Give it full sun. Even though it is considered an annual below zone 9, some have luck wintering it over in zone 7. Available varieties include Luscious™ Citrus Blend™ (orange & yellow), Luscious™ Grape (lavender & purple), Luscious™ Lemonade (yellow), and Luscious™ Tropical Fruit (pink & yellow).
Stratosphere™ Gaura - Slender stems tipped with butterfly-like flowers extend out from the plant like wands. This plant will add grace and movement to the garden. Perennial in zones 6 through 11.
Daredevil™ Zonal Geranium (Pelargonium zonale) – Globe-shaped clusters of color-rich flowers. For the best performance plant in full sun. Available in dark red, scarlet, magenta, orchid pink, dark rose pink, salmon or white flowering varieties.
Supertunia® Petunia – With 30 color choices there is guaranteed to be Supertunia® you like. Varieties include large flowering, double or minis, trailing or mounding habits, and bi-colored, solids and veined flowers. Plant in full sun and feed often with a liquid fertilizer.
Charmed® Oxalis – Foliage is king with this plant. Available varieties include Jade (green with a silver sheen and pale pink flowers), Velvet (deep purple with white flowers), or Wine (maroon with pale pink flowers). This plant is suited for shade or partial shade.
Intensia® Phlox – Mounds of single petal blooms that have the appearance of old fashioned garden phlox on a compact plant. Available in white, various shades of pink or a pink and white bi-color.
Senorita Rosalita® Cleome – Tall branches topped with sprays of lavender flowers. A very dramatic plant. Senorita Rosalita® is extremely heat tolerant and prefers full sun.
Superbena® Verbena – Clusters of small flowers on trailing stems. Excellent for spilling over the edges of containers. Plant in full sun. Heat tolerant as well as drought tolerant.