Growing a lush garden in the drought is a combination of knowing what plants can withstand the hot, dry weather and how to care for those that just can’t.
I don’t know about your garden, but if it’s anything like mine, even the cactus are dying!
Everytime I turn on the radio, I hear about ozone warnings and the heat index.
Aren’t plants lucky not having to hear that!
They’d probably wilt from fear!
So, you ask, just what can I grow that can tolerate this heat, thrive and still be attractive?
Water And Part Shade Don’t Always Help
I water, water, and water a bit more…….but it isn’t helping as much as I had hoped it would.
The ground is dry and cracked – a sign I did not get enough organic matter on the soil to retain moisture.
The really bad thing about all of this is the fact that my garden is in part shade.
Even my Pineapple has decided to turn brown and shrivel up this year.
Daylilies Are A Great Choice
I don’t know about anyone else, but my daylilies seem to be enjoying this heat.
Although they aren’t a tropical flower, there are unique varieties including double varieties.
One such rarity is ‘Dublin Elaine.’
This is a rare rich pink, light pink and cream colored daylily with a small touch of yellow in the center.
The double flower boasts ruffled edges to give it an especially charming look, and if that isn’t enough for you, this variety reblooms.
Another interesting double Daylily is the ‘Tropical Delight.’
This one has Carnation-like flowers in a warm coral-rose shade, and is also a rebloomer.
Garden In The Drought With Rugosa Roses
Another success this year has been my Rugosa roses.
Not only do they seem to be outperforming all the other roses I have, but they seem to take this heat very well.
Even when I don’t water them, they are staying green and continuing to bloom.
Of course, to be fair, I did mix some compost into the soil when I planted them and top dressed the root area with shredded mulch to help hold moisture in the soil.
Plumeria And Heliconia Love Heat
My Plumeria seems to be loving this heat!
Not only are all the leaves covered in blooms, but it is very lush and green.
Now I do water it every day, in part because my rooster has made his night time home above the pot it is in.
I have to flush the pot daily to wash out his poo, so I simply fill the pot up to the top with water and let it drain.
I normally do this three times in a row each day.
I have a Heliconia planted in the same pot and it seems to be doing fine.
Not All Tropicals Love Extreme Heat
The fact that some tropical plants really don’t like the heat surprises me.
Some plants in my tropical collection are wilted something fierce and while watering perks some up, others are not so lucky.
Wilted plants aren’t enough to really upset me, but when I find new crispy plants on a daily basis, that just pushes me right over the edge.
I used a really good potting mix for my plants in pots, so that is not the problem.
The issue is that container plants dry out very quickly under these harsh conditions – and the smaller the container, the faster it dries out.
Try The Mexican Flamevine Or Allamanda In Your Drought Stricken Garden
This year, I also have a Mexican Flamevine and an Allamanda.
A good friend of mine also has a Mexican Flamevine that is outside in a pot and thriving.
The botanical name is Pseudogynoxys chenopodioides.
Although it currently has no flowers on it, the foliage is a lush green with a bit of water every couple of days.
Hers is flowering and doing just fine under similar conditions, so heat doesn’t seem to affect this plant.
It’s also a good one for drought conditions because the pots both plants are in are small and dry out quickly, but the plants don’t look any worse for it.
My Allamanda hangs directly above this plant and it too seems to be bursting with gorgeous yellow blooms with a daily watering that keeps the soil moist.
If You Really Want A Lush Garden In The Drought, Grow Greek Oregano
Another plant that is really thriving in this heat is my Greek Oregano.
Although this is thought of as a common garden herb, it is really a tropical herb.
Solenostemon Amboinicus, has many common names, Greek Oregano, Cuban Oregano, Indian Borage, Spanish Thyme, French Thyme, Allspice plant, Wild Oregano, and Three-In-One Spice plant.
The leaves are fleshy, hairy green with white edges, and look like a succulent.
The strong, spicy Oregano scent is a dead giveaway to what this plant is.
Although I grow a lot of herbs, not just Greek Oregano, there are herbs that don’t like these hot, dry conditions one bit.
Crispy sun fried herbs and vegetables just don’t do anything for me.
Daily Waterings Help But Are Not A Cure All
It has seemed really odd to me this year that I am having so much trouble with my tropical plants.
You would think that all of them would really thrive in this heat, but so many of them are just wilting so badly.
My Daturas and Brugmansias demand a daily watering as do my Shoo-Fly plants.
As for the plants in the greenhouse, well, they seem to be doing just as bad as the ones outside with a few exceptions.
I tell you what, I don’t know what’s up with this weather, but something sure needs to give.
As much as I hate rain, I’d love to see a good three or four days worth of solid rain.
I think that would really perk everything up.
I often wonder about this ozone stuff too.
When I was a kid, you never heard about it, and if its so bad for us, whats it doing to our precious plants?
So what can we do?
Water daily with rain water if possible – and if you just can’t find the time to water, use soaker hoses or a sprinkler to do the job for you.
I suggest watering as early in the morning as possible, before the sun comes up.
This way the water sinks into the ground and reaches the roots of the plants instead of evaporating into the air.
I do not suggest watering at night because moisture on the plants leaves and stems at night can lead to disease.
Reasearch Drought Tolerant Plants And Water, Water, Water
So, you see, with a little research on drought tolerant plants, a regular watering schedule, and some organic matter worked into the soil, you too can have a lush garden without spending every spare minute watering it.
If all else fails, there is always hydrophonic gardening you could try!
But I might add that even my pond plants aren’t doing real good this year.
Maybe the water is too hot for the plants to thrive in.
Until next week, take care and try to stay cool.