Plant the right flowers for beautiful colors in dry conditions
Beautiful flowers need lots of water, right? Some do, but many others don't. Flower species
that have lived for thousands of years in extreme weather conditions have developed survival
skills for drought. Better yet, they look lovely. Choose the ones that are right for your area,
and you could save lots of water in a growing season.
Know Your Soil
Your soil can be your friend or foe when it comes to dealing with the dry. The ideal soil
has the right mix of sand, clay, and organic material for its climate. You want air and water
to be able to circulate in your garden soil. Desert soils are different from, say, Midwestern
soils, and support a different family of plants. That's why you want to amend your soil with
products such as
Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil for Flowers & Vegetables or
Miracle-Gro® Organic Choice® Garden Soil to make it optimal for the plants that thrive in
Plant Ornamental Grasses
Many ornamental grasses are ideal for dry gardens. As beautiful as they are, they come from
tough environments. They make great accents in the garden, and often provide birds with a
little extra dinner. Switchgrass makes a thick stand that reaches five feet tall. You'll often
see tiny purple flowers on the stems. Little bluestem grows about four feet tall, and turns
gold in the fall. Prairie dropseed forms a round shape and loves the sunniest part of your
garden. There are many other grasses that do well in dry places. Mix in the right ones in your
garden plans, and you'll save lots of water throughout the year.
Plant Flowers that Thrive in Dry Spells
Some flowers have adapted to wide extremes in temperature and moisture. For the best
results, plan on using drought-tolerant flowers that are natural to your area. Every region of
the country has some. A few examples are purple coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, and bearded
Stretch Your Water Resources
There are lots of ways to use water wisely. It just takes a little observation, planning,
and elbow grease. Mulching your garden helps soil retain moisture (and fight weeds, too by blocking growth and sunlight). You can build a dry stream bed leading from your driveway down to your flower garden to catch
runoff. Try using a moisture meter to figure out when your garden really does need a drink.
Another water-savvy idea is to install rain barrels under your downspouts. That will give you
gallons of free water to use when the rain stays away.
Find out more about water-saving mulches
Don't Let Dry Spells Ruin Your Gardening
Your garden can look fresh and beautiful even when rain is scarce with just a little
planning. Your garden can make saving water fun. Native plants from your area can handle local conditions best, and do wonders feeding hummingbirds, butterflies, and more. You can do a little research online for nurseries that specialize in native plants for your area. You'll be surprised how many there are. To get some ideas, explore the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.