Drought requires sturdy plants [UPDATED]Published 5:33am Monday, January 21, 2013 Updated 7:35am Monday, January 21, 2013
If we continue to have drought, you might look to some of our sturdy native plants to replace the “pansy” water suckers you have now.corn
You know the plants. The temperatures reach 80 and they lean over and pant, crying for water.
Remember the “golden glow” your gramma had next to the house. It was three feet tall and topped with bright yellow flowers that looked like mums. Now there is a new cultivar, Sunshine Dream, helianthus X multiflorus. Described as a butterfly magnet, four feet tall and mildew resistant, a great cut flower.
If you are a grass lover, try standing Ovation, a cultivar of our native little bluestem grass.
It will tolerate poor, dry soil. The foliage is blue-green turning red, orange and purple in the fall.
Then there are the native sedges; they look much like grass. Most are evergreen or semi-evergreen. They will grow in the dry area under a mature tree. Another use of sedges is for erosion control on a steep bank.
They are tolerant of both full sun to full shade.
If you need a tough ground cover, try Early Bird, a catmint. It has blue flowers for about six weeks starting in April.
Once you get her established, she is drought and heat tolerant.
She will do well in dry, sunny spots that make other ground cover wilt and yell for cooler weather.
For a ground cover for that moist but well drained area, there is a native sedum — Larinem Park, sedum trernatum.
It will grow in both sun and shade and has white star shaped flowers in the spring.
If you have given up on phlox because of their nasty habit of getting powdery mildew, try Jeana —phlox paniculata.
While her blooms may not measure up to the bigger girls, butterflies think she is great as do many other pollinators.
She gets three to four feet tall with pale pink flowers.
A new and improved selection of native hydrangea, not a plant for dry areas, is Hass Halo, hydrangea arborescens. The huge leaves are deep bluish green and the white lacecap flowers are 14 inches across on sturdy stems.
It will grow and prosper in both sun and shade and average soil. The flowers stay on the plant making the artistic among us ecstatic.
Not all of these plants will love a hot dry summer, but they are particularly hardy here in our difficult planting zone.
Get out of the gardening rut. Try something new this spring.
Bev Johnson is a master gardener for Otter Tail County.