Sunday, January 13, 2013

Winter is the time to PLAN your perennial garden - then you're ready to PLANT in Spring!

Drought-tolerant perennials for YOUR space!

A successful plant-driven garden design requires planning before planting, and winter is the perfect time of year to consider which plants might succeed if Southeast Wisconsin is stricken with another drought like the summer of 2012.   Some perennials thrive in hot, dry conditions while others struggle, but survive.

Advance planning may help to avoid costly mistakes when selecting plants for your garden space, and plant knowledge is key to your success… which perennials can handle drought and still remain attractive throughout the growing season?  My “short list” appears below… perennials which add color and charm to your garden, even when rainfall and irrigation are limited.  NOTE: New plantings need additional water to become well established and fully drought tolerant.
(genus Achillea) commonly available in shades of yellow and some pastels

Tickseed (genus Coreopsis) a daisy-like yellow flower on tall, slender stems

Coneflower (genus Echinacea) now available in several pastel and bold colors

Catmint (genus Nepeta) an aggressive plant with a striking aroma; cultivar ‘Walker’s Low’ is utilized in landscape designs and provides silvery blue foliage

Lavender (genus Lavandula) several cultivars available, each with its own charm, but all offer the intensely scented foliage and flowers we know and love!

Stonecrop/sedum (genus Sedum) nearly 400 species of flowering ground covers and tall flowering varieties available 

Russian Sage (genus Perovskia) silvery grey foliage with bluish purple blossoms

Peony (genus Paeonia) several cultivars and colors available; can handle drought conditions and may bloom earlier when moisture is lacking, but plant can survive

I suggest you Google® on the genus names provided above to help you become acquainted with each drought lover listed. When it’s time to buy, choose wisely!

M. Lynn Schmid,   Certified Master Gardener
A.A.S. Landscape/Horticulture/Arboriculture