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Sunday, August 7, 2016 PerennialsSummer

Low Water Perennials

Drought! It’s one of the most dreaded words in a gardener’s vocabulary.

Over the years, I’ve watched many of my prized plants wither and shrivel when rainfall was scarce. Even when I thought I was keeping tabs on things, I’ve still had plants that died of thirst when I was away on a quick trip or at the office for a few hours.

So, over the years I’ve developed a list of perennials that kept on blooming in my garden, even when water was limited. Turns out, most of these plants have ancestors that developed on the American prairie so they are naturally resistant to anything Mother Nature throws their way, especially heat and drought.

Don't forget that one of the best ways to keep your garden soil moist during dry spells is with a thick mulch of compost, rotted manure, pine straw, or shredded bark. Mulch does a couple of different things that keep soil moist. First, it helps prevent rain from draining away after a heavy downpour allowing the moisture to sink into the soil. Second, mulch acts like an insulating blanket, slowing evaporation and keeping the soil cool. And, it smothers weeds that would otherwise be competing with your plants for valuable moisture.

Adding a drip irrigation system or a soaker hose is another great way to insure your prized plants won’t shrivel and die. These watering systems don’t use much water because they deliver liquid in small doses directly to the plant’s roots. Place your drip system or soaker hose under the mulch as an additional way to eliminate evaporation and make every drop count.

If you live in a moisture-challenged region try growing these perennials in your garden.
Coneflower
Coreopsis
Aster
Butterfly weed
Yarrow
Joe pye weed
Black-eyed Susan
Baptisia
Bee balm
Artemisia
Sedum
Daylily
Penstemon
Red Hot Poker
Perennial salvia
Blanket flower
Gaura
Russian sage

Written by:
Doug Jimerson

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