Drought tolerant gardening

Jul 09, 2018

Whether you’re conscientious about your water usage or just tired of watering your garden in the dog days of summer, drought-tolerant gardening is a great way to cut back the amount of water your garden needs to look great.

Some of the first plants that come to mind when thinking of dry spaces in the garden are succulents. Succulents are plants that store water in their leaves and stems. As such, they can go for periods of time relying only on that water. Sedums are often used in Northern Virginia landscapes and come in many varieties. A couple of our favorites are Autumn Joy sedum and Dazzleberry sedum. Delosperma are also great succulent perennials, and if you’re ok with spines, the Virginia-native Eastern Prickly-pear cactus is also a great choice.

Drought-tolerant gardening however, needn’t be limited to plants that look like they belong in a desert. Several plants can thrive in dryer conditions while giving you a more traditional garden look. Coreopsis, coneflower, Russian sage, lamb’s ear, salvia and most ornamental grasses are all perennials that can tolerate periods of drought once established. Also, many herbs such as rosemary, lavender and sage are drought-tolerant too.

Another great way to limit the amount of water used to maintain your landscape is to reduce lawn space. Traditional lawns need frequent watering to look their best, but groundcovers such as liriope, ajuga or creeping thyme are all drought tolerant.

One thing to keep in mind when planning a drought-tolerant garden is that all newly installed plants will need a little extra attention the first year. While some of these plants can go extended periods without water once established, it is best to keep an eye on all recently planted plants and water frequently until the plant has become adjusted and roots established.