What Plants are Good for a Dry Area?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
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If you have a dry spot in your yard, or you live in a dry climate, your gardening options are by no means limited. There are a number of plants which tolerate dry conditions, and some even enjoy them. By selecting plants suitable for a dry area, you will also reduce the amount of water you use in your garden, which will lower the strain on your electric bill and decrease your environmental footprint, if this is a concern for you.

Several traits are common to plants adapted for life in dry climates which can be useful to know about when you are looking for plants at the nursery and you don't have a list of recommendations handy. The first is that these plants tend to have deep taproots, adapted to grow deep into the soil in search of water. Many also have narrow, fleshy leaves which reduce loss of water through surface area, and they tend to be smaller than plants from lush, moist environments. Many nurseries helpfully identify plants well-suited to dry areas to make it easier for shoppers.


Some plants like succulents and cacti are commonly associated with dry areas, and they are indeed great choices for a dry garden. However, there are lots of flowering plants like African lilies, pinks, blanket flowers, false sunflowers, phlomis, speedwell, yarrow, seathrift, thistles, fleabane, carnations, verbena, goldenrod, verbena, flax, and spiderwort which also thrive in dry spots. Many scented plants like thyme, sage, and lavender also do well in dry heat, and most Mediterranean plants enjoy dry areas.

Trees like sumacs, elms, ash, gingko, Russian olives, and juniper also cope well with a dry climate. Although trees have a slower maturation rate than plants and shrubs, for people who are committed to staying for some time, planting trees is a great idea. In addition to adding texture and depth to the landscaping, they will also create shade, which is welcome in many climates.

Speaking of shade, if you have a dry shady spot in the garden, you can grow trees and shrubs such as buckthorn and yew, along with flowering plants like hostas, lily of the valley, lungwort, foxgloves, periwinkles, snowdrops, comfrey, and bishop's cap.

To help protect your plants from heat, if you live in a hot, dry climate, it can help to mulch them. Mulch will protect the roots for burning and help the plants conserve water, in addition to keeping down weeds and giving your garden a neater appearance. Mulch can be especially useful when plants are just getting established and there is a lot of blank space in the garden.


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Post 3


The answer to your question on mulch is yes for both. You can make your own mulch if you have leaves and tree branches to shred or buy wood chips and then spread around your garden. These natural composts will decay and they tend to attract pests something awful, so be prepared to replace often. In my garden I switched from natural to rubber mulch a couple years ago. We have way less insects and save time on gardening. Sorry your garden of potted plants isn’t doing so well, but there is hope yet. Today I saw a demonstration at our local hardware store on potting with mulch. The gardener showed how to make designs with different kinds of mulch and rocks in pots instead of just using soil. They looked pretty darned nice I’ll tell you what. She mentioned the mulch will help your plants retain water and live longer. I hope this information helps.

Post 2

I buy beautiful flowers that are supposed to thrive in direct sunlight; however they never live longer than three to four days after being repotted. I always use moisture rich soil for nutrients; this last attempt I even tossed in a little Miracle Grow into the mix with no success. The flowers I buy are already blooming and I follow the care instructions well, but I’m not sure those instructions apply to Arizona's extreme summers. The article says using mulch is good for warm climates and newer plants, so I am definitely going to give that a try. Do you buy mulch from a store or is there a way to make it at home?

Post 1

This kind of article is very helpful to care for the environment. Thanks a lot.

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