The heat of summer gives us loads of opportunity to find ways to stay cool and hydrated, and our gardens are seeking the same. We want our yards to be beautiful and healthy but it is important to recognize water conservation is key when creating landscapes. So, we’ve compiled a very short list of some favorite drought tolerant / drought resistant plants (and yes, tolerant and resistant are different things - check out our Ask Erica segment from 2021 for more info on this topic). These are great options to help your garden be both beautiful and water-wise.
There are many great Utah specific resources for guidance on water conservation for gardening:
Utah Department of Water Resources
Conservation Garden Park
USU Extension Services
Red Butte Conservation Garden
Commonly used for aromatherapy, Lavender is also an amazing plant for attracting pollinators. The flowers create a lovely compliment to their grayish-green leaves and stems. Lavender loves the full sun and, once they are established, can tolerate a great deal of heat and dry soil conditions.
Prickly Pear Cacti are a unique plant to feature in your garden. They have gorgeous big pink blooms with juicy purplish fruits that are known as “tunas” which can be eaten and are found in a number of Mexican dishes. They are low maintenance and relatively easy to cultivate. As Prickly Pear Cactus prefer dry soil, making them an ideal addition to Utah gardens.
Feather Reed Grass is large category of clumping grass that contains a variety of cultivars - all of which make great additions to a drought tolerant landscape. The most popular variety, we find, tends to be Karl Foerster which is pictured here (photo courtesy of Monrovia), though there are a number of Feather Reed Grasses that would be effective and beautiful additions to your landscape. Karl Foerster creates a stunning vertical effect with its columnar growth pattern and feathery stalks. This grass does need a bit more water while in the establishment phase, but once the roots have grown into the soil, they will easily handle dry conditions.
Nepeta, also known as Catmint, provides powerful pops of purple in your garden for most of the growing season, starting in mid-spring. They have spiked bursts of blue-purple blossoms that are wonderful for attracting pollinators. Like most plants, Catmint needs moderately wet soil as it becomes established but once established will have drought resistant qualities.
This water-wise flower is a classic. Echinacea (aka Coneflower) is frequently listed on top 5 perennial lists for a wide variety of reasons. These are easy to grow, available in all sorts of colors (we have a huge variety of Coneflower right here at Glover Nursery) and have a long blooming season. And, some varieties are well known for healing medicinal properties – an effective immune system booster, very welcome these days!
This is a tiny list of a few of our favorites, but there are plenty more to choose from. Check out this blog post for our complete list of drought tolerant plants here at Glover Nursery.