Heat and Drought Tolerant Plants for Summer

Posted August 2011

I’ve got a few interesting blog posts I’m holding on the back burner for now, but I thought I’d keep them there until the heat wave subsides and instead write about something more timely. Actually, as hot and dry as it is, the plants I’ll mention here may indeed not be at their best, however, the most important thing I’ve observed about them is their amazing ability to remain green and survive these 100 degree temps over the past 5 weeks.

The plants I’ll mention here are not in pots, they are planted in the ground. Those you’d like to save that are in pots and baskets should be moved to full shade or indoors, as I mentioned last week.

While the below plants are not at their optimum, it is good to make note of them for when you consider next summer’s plantings. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that we will not repeat this year’s 100 degree temperature streak for a long, long time. Nonetheless, it is always good to invest in landscape plants that haven proven to be tough and will have the best chance of survival.

  • One of my former blog posts speaks about annuals that will bloom all summer, and indeed Moss Rose and Purslane are doing quite well compared to most ornamentals these days.
  • Dwarf Mexican Petunia (perennial) is holding up extremely well in my back yard. It receives part shade, however.
  • To my surprise, Caladiums (annual, but bulbs can be overwintered) are doing well, too! Again, they are receiving part shade, but if you look closely at my pic below, you’ll see the Shasta Daisies behind them are not blooming and are quite cripsy comparatively.
  • Turk’s Cap (perennial) is hanging in there and still blooming.

Dwarf Mexican Petunia, Caladiums, Shasta Daisies, Turk’s Cap

  • As you can see from the photo at the top of this post, Tropicanna Cannas (perennial) are also hanging in there and blooming.
  • Lantana (tender perennial) is doing well in full sun, but blooming much more infrequently. It will step up as the temps decrease, however.
  • I do not have Pentas (tender perennial – annual in climates cooler than zone 9) in my landscape personally, but I saw a mass planting the other day at a nearby shopping center. Their foliage looked good and about half of the plants were blooming. It is the best shopping center planting I’ve seen in a while. Most shopping center beds are very stark due to their proximity to a lot of hot, hot asphalt.
  • As far as vines go, unfortunately my Moonflowers aren’t doing well at all and even my old time Hall’s Honeysuckle is struggling. The Honeysuckle will return next year in better condition. I would like to mention that Wisteria (perennial) is currently not showing signs of heat or drought stress. It s green and still sending out feelers.
  • Crape Myrtles (blooming trees) are incredible this year. Their vibrant red, pink and purple hues are the saving grace of North Texas landscapes when most everything else is brown and yellow in the midst of summer.
Crape Myrtle

Well, I want to keep today’s post short and sweet. I simply wish to bring to your attention my observations regarding landscape plants that are holding up to the drought and extreme heat in my area. As I point out, most of the above are planted in part shade conditions, so do keep this in mind. However, also keep in mind these plants – especially the perennials – may be well worth a second look when you decide to invest in your summer landscapes next year. Perhaps there is a slightly positive reason for this season – to give us faith there are indeed a few wonderfully resilient plants.

Until next time – stay cool!


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