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Drought Tolerant Plants

Looking forward to a hot summer? All the plants listed below should fare well in hot, dry weather provided they are established correctly.

Drought tolerant plants are Ideal if you are likely to forget to water them, spend alot of time away during the summer or have no water source nearby to water them during times of low rainfall.

How to establish plants

- Give plants a good soaking before planting.  If the rootball is dry, soak in a bucket.
- Apply a mulch around the plant but keep away from the centre of the plant as this will encourage rotting.  Applying a mulch reduces surface evaporation, keeps the soil cool and keeps weeds down.
- If possible, create sheltered areas by planting drought tolerant trees and shrubs. 
- On heavy soils, add a mixture of organic matter and grit or sharp sand.
- On free-draining soils, mix in organic matter.

Key to plants
***  Very drought tolerant once established
**  Drought tolerant once established
*  Moderately drought tolerant once established
+  Needs well drained soil

Drought Tolerant Alpines

Achillea tomentosa aurea - **+
Androsace - ***
Antennaria dioica rubra - ***+
Armeria maritima splendens - ***+
Calceolaria biflora - *+
Erinus alpinus - **+
Geranium - 'Ballerina' - ***+
Helianthum - Rock rose - ***+
Lewisia cotyledon - ***+
Leontopodium alpinum - **+
Phlox douglasii - **
Sedum - 'Capo Blanco' - ***+
Sempervivum - ***

Drought Tolerant Annuals

Cosmos - **
Escholzia - Californian poppy - **
Gaillardia - **
Gazania - ***+
Helichrysum - ***
Ipomoea - Morning glory - ***
Mesembryanthemum - ***+
Papaver somniferum - Opium poppy - ***

Drought Tolerant Bedding & Patio plants

Alonsoa - ***+
Artotis - ***+
Argyranthemum - ***+
Begonia fuchsioides - ***
Bidens - ***
Diascia - **
Helichrysum petiolare - ***
Lantana - **
Nicotiana - Tobacco plant - **
Osteospermum - ***+
Pelargonium - ***
Petunia - **
Plectranthus - ***
Portulaca - ***+
Zinnia - ***+

Drought Tolerant Climbers

Clematis montana - **
Fallopia baldschuanicum - Russian Vine - ***
Hedera - Ivy - **
Parthenocissus - Virginia creeper - **
Rosa - 'Sander's White' - *
Rosa - 'Mermaid' - *
Trachelospermum asciaticum - **
Vitus coignetiae - **
Vitis viniferia - 'Purperea' - **

Drought Tolerant Perennials

Acaena - ***
Acanthus - Bears breeches - *
Achillea - **
Aconitum - Monkswood - **
Agapanthus - **
Alcea - Hollyhock - **
Alchemilla mollis - **
Anthemis - **+
Armeria - Thrift - ***+
Artemisia - 'Powis Castle' - ***+
Arum italicum - **
Aster ericoides - **
Aquilegia - *
Bergenia - **
Brunnera macrophylla - *
Calamintha nepeta - ***+
Campanula carpatica - **
Campanula poscharskyana - ***
Catananche caerulea - *
Cerastium tomentosum - ***
Cirsium rivulare atropurpureum - ***
Coreopsis grandiflora - **
Coreopsis verticillata - **
Crambe cordifolia - **
Crocosmia - *
Cynara cardunculus - Cardoon - **
Cynara scolymus group - **
Dictamnus albus - Burning bush - **
Digitalis purpurea - Foxglove - *
Echinacea purpurea - Coneflower - ***
Echinops ritro - Globe thistle - ***
Eremurus - Foxtail lily - *
Erodium - Storks bill - **
Eryngium maritimum - Sea holly - ***+
Erysimum - Perennial wallflower - *
Euphorbia - **
Festuca glauca - **
Foeniculum vulgare - Fennel - ***
Gaillardia - ***
Geranium renardii - ***
Geranium sanguineum - ***
Geranium - Spinners - ***
Geranium - 'Wargrave Pink' - ***
Geum - *
Helictotrichon sempervivens - Blue oat grass - ***
Heliopsis helianthoides - *
Hemerocallis - Day lily - *
Heuchera macrantha - 'Palace Purple' - *
Heuchera sanguinea - *
Hosta (small leaved) - **
Iris foetidissima - ***
Knautia - **+
Kniphofia - Red hot poker - **
Leucanthemum superba - Shasta daisy - *
Lovage - **
Limonium latifolium - Sea Holly - ***
Linaria - Toadflax - ***
Linum narbonense - ***
Linum perenne - Flax - ***
Liriope - ***
Macleaya cordata - Plume poppy - **
Malva moschata - Musk mallow - **+
Nepeta - Catmint - **+
Oenothera missouriensis - **+
Oopordum acanthium - ***
Ophiopogon jab. vittatus - **
Ophiopogon plan. nigrescens - **
Papaver orientale - *
Penstemon pinofolius - ***+
Pulmonaria - **
Rudbeckia ful. goldsturm - **
Saxifraga urbium - 'London's Pride' - ***
Sedum spectabile - ***
Sedum telephium atropurpureum - ***
Sisyrinchium striatum - **
Stachys byzantina - ***
Symphytum grandiflorum - **
Thalictrum aquilegiifolium - *
Viola - 'Freckles' - *
Waldsteinia ternata - ***

Drought Tolerant Trees & Shrubs

Arbutus unedo - Strawberry tree - **
Berberis - **
Betula - Birch - **
Buddleia davidii - Butterfly bush - ***
Buxus - Box - ***
Caragana arborescens - Pea tree - ***
Caryopteris x clandonensis - **
Chaenomeles - Flowering quince - **
Ceanothus - Californian lilac - *
Choisya - *
Cistus - Sun Rose - ***+
Convolvulus cneorum - ***
Cordyline australis - Torbay palm - **
Cotoneaster - **
Cytisus - Broom - ***+
Danae - **
Daphne mezereum - **+
Elaegnus - ***
Euonymus europaeus - Spindle tree - *
Euonymus fortunei - *+
Fagus sylvatica - Beech - ***
Genista - **+
Gleditsia triacanthos - Sunburst - ***+
Griselinia littoralis - **
Halimiocistus - ***+
Hebe (small leaved) - *+
Helianthum - Rock rose - ***+
Hibiscus syriacus - *
Indigofera - **+
Ilex - Holly - ***
Jasminum nudiflorum - Winter jasmine - *+
Juniperus - **
Kerria japonica - **
Lavandula - Lavender - **
Lavatera - Tree mallow - **
Ligustrum - Privet - ***
Lithodora - **
Olearia - ***+
Perovskia - Russian sage - ***+
Philadelphus - *
Phlomis fruticosa - ***+
Phormium - *
Physocarpus - *
Picea pungens glauca - **
Pinus mugo - Dwarf pine - ***+
Pittosporum tenuifolium - **+
Potentilla fruticosa - *
Prunus lauracerasus - 'Otto Luyken' & 'Zabeliana' - ***
Prunus subhirtella autumnalis - *
Rhus typhina - Stags horn sumach - **+
Ribes sanguineum - Flowering currant - *
Robinia - **
Rosa glauca - **
Rosa rugosa - **
Rosmarinus officinalis - Rosemary - **+
Ruscus aculeatus - Butchers broom - ***
Ruta - Rue - ***+
Salvia officinalis - Sage - **+
Santolina - Cotton lavender - **+
Senecio - Sunshine - ***+
Spartium junceum - Spanish Broom - ***
Symphoricarpos - Snowberry - ***
Tamarix - ***
Taxus baccata - Yew - ***
Ulex europaeus - Gorse - ***
Viburnum - *
Vinca - Periwinkle - ***

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