Areas with hot, dry climates need some creative landscaping. You can have flowers that thrive year after year if you choose hardy perennials to set the foundation plantings for your garden. Start with these plants, which are easy to grow, propagate readily and prefer less-than-ideal conditions.
1. Butterfly Weed
The medium-sized butterfly weed grows to between two and three feet tall and blooms in July and August. The clustered orange flowers provide pops of color in the garden, and true to its name, butterfly weed attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Collect seeds in the fall before the pods split open and plant them where you choose to expand your garden.
2. Purple Coneflower
While the purple-blooming variety is iconic of the Echinacea species, there are many colors now available to attract pollinators and butterflies all summer, from June to August. Plants grow from two to four feet tall and are tidy, especially if you avoid overfeeding them. When flowers fade, deadhead to encourage further blooming, but leave seed heads at the end of the growing season to attract birds.
3. Blanket Flower
Blanket flowers are extremely hardy. These small plants grow from zones 2 to 10, thrive in full sun, and prefer dry soils where most other plants wither and die. The multicolored red, orange and yellow blooms appear in June and keep going through October. If you have sandy soil, plant masses of blanket flowers to reduce erosion. Deadhead these plants as the flowers fade to encourage a longer bloom time.
The spiked flower heads of veronica species are a familiar sight in ditches, pastures and fields. Growing from one to three feet tall, these hardy perennials love full sun but prefer more moisture than most of the other flowers on this perennial list. From June to August, white, purple and pink flowers nod gracefully on compact, fine-leaved plants. Divide all the veronica species frequently (at least every other year) to keep them vigorous and to expand your garden landscape.
Otherwise known as yarrow, Achillea species bloom in red, orange, pink and yellow varieties. Growing only one to two feet in height, these compact plants love dry conditions with full sun, but they’ll truly shine if they’re planted in fertile soil with moderate moisture. They bloom from June to September. While the seeds are tiny, they’re worth saving in the fall. Simply wait for the seed head to dry on the stem, cut carefully and turn upside down on a piece of newspaper. Scatter the seeds where you want them in your garden and let nature do the work.
Even in cooler, wetter growing zones, your yard’s microclimate might tend to be sunny and hot. Establish foundation plantings with these perennials and fill in the spaces with complimentary drought tolerant annuals each spring, keeping height and flower color in mind to create gorgeous landscapes. You can have a beautiful yard, no matter your growing conditions, if you start with the right plants.