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Some Like It Hot!

In order to beat the heat of summer and have a colorful yard or patio all season long, you’ll need to have plants that are tolerant of the high day and night temperatures of summer as well as being somewhat drought tolerant.

Contributors: Dr. Rick Schoellhorn

In order to beat the heat of summer and have a colorful yard or patio all season long, you’ll need to have plants that are tolerant of the high day and night temperatures of summer as well as being somewhat drought tolerant. All that summer heat tends to pull the water right out of the plants and soil. Whatever your reasons for wanting to find plants that do well with less water--whether you are mandated with watering restrictions or simply desire to conserve water as part of your lifestyle—Proven Winners can help.

Drought tolerance is a very complicated issue because in plants it is based on a lot of different characteristics including how the plants are grown. In this article, we define the term drought tolerant as plants that can handle reduced watering once they are established in the garden. These are plants that love the heat and can keep your garden alive with color all through the summer’s dog days and into fall. Remember that many plants do better with regular fertilizing even as you reduce the watering. Especially under dry conditions, a little fertilizer can really help keep plants looking good.

Remember: Even drought tolerant plants need frequent watering when first planted. Depending on your climate, this could be about two times a week for at least 2-3 weeks in order for plants to become established in their new location. Then reduce watering frequency slowly, giving the plants about a month to adapt as you reduce watering a bit at a time.

Heat Lovers with Extreme Drought Tolerance

These are some of the toughest plants that tolerate or even prefer dry conditions. All are best grown in full sun.


Vermillionaire
Cuphea

Timeless
Geranium

Luscious®
Lantana

Boldly® 
Geranium

Flambé®
Chrysocephalum

Rock 'N Grow® 
Sedum

Blue My Mind®
Evolvulus

Decadence®
Baptisia
 
Low Scape®
Aronia
 
Stratosphere
Gaura
 
Prairie Winds® 
'Cheyenne Sky’ Grass
 
Mojave®
Portulaca

Lemon Coral® 
Sedum

Fairy Dust®
Cuphea

'Denim’ n Lace' 

Perovskia
 

 

Heat Lovers with Good Drought Tolerance

These plants all tolerate periodic dry spells or reduced watering frequency all season long once they are well-established in the garden.


Snow Princess®
Lobularia

‘Sweet Caroline’
Ipomoea

‘Sweet Caroline Sweetheart’
Ipomoea

Goldilocks Rocks®
Bidens

Karalee® Petite Pink
Gaura

Rockin'®
Playin' The
Blues®
 Salvia

Sunjoy®
Berberis

Señorita
Cleome

Color Spires®
Salvia

‘Cat’s Meow’
Nepeta

Intensia®
Phlox

Superbells®
Calibrachoa

Rockin’® Deep Purple
Salvia 

Summerific® 
Hibiscus

'Midnight Masquerade' Penstemon 

'Storm Cloud' 

Amsonia 

 

Heat Lovers with Some Drought Tolerance

These plants can take the heat and have some drought tolerance but will perform better with supplemental watering.


Graceful Grasses® 
'Sky Rocket'

Supertunia®
Petunia

Illusion®
Ipomoea

Whirlwind® Pink 
Scaevola
Tuscan
Heliopsis 

Hippo®
Hypoestes

Angelface®
Angelonia
A-Peel®
Thunbergia

Diamond Frost®
Euphorbia

Superbena®
Verbena

Sweet Romance®
Lavandula

Whirlwind® Blue 
Scaevola
Pugster®
Buddleia
   

 

Heat Lovers that Need Water

When water is not the issue, these plants can take the heat, but they like to be evenly moist through the season.


Toucan®
Canna

Endless®
Browallia

Bright Lights
Osteospermum

ColorBlaze® 
Solenostemom

 

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