Beat Out the Drought

Beat Out the Drought

Homeowners are facing stringent water restrictions and failing landscapes with much of the country in the clutches of one of the worst droughts on record. Through conservation and drought-friendly modifications to the yard and garden—such as adding adaptable plantings and using water-preserving products—many are finding success without the help of much-needed rainfall.

For example, you can use drought-resistant plantings in a xeriscaping design plan.

A xeriscape design creates a landscape using native and resilient plants to lessen watering maintenance, making it easier to comply with any
local water restriction guidelines.

Installing drought-tolerant plants, such as the three examples noted in the boxes below, will help create a garden of adaptable and prosperous plant material that will combat lack of precipitation and avoid dehydration:

Coreopsis ‘Autumn Blush’
The stunning, butter-yellow flowers of ‘Autumn Blush’ are highlighted with a reddish-brown center and bloom consistently from June through September. This plant is easy to grow and excellent for hot, dry garden spots.

• Exposure: Full sun
• Average height: 22 to 24 inches
• Water: Well-drained
• Cold hardiness: Zones 6 to 9

Musseanda ‘White Wings’
The small, soft-yellow, tubular flowers of ‘White Wings’ are produced in clusters. A non-stop performer, this plant does well in full sun on patios or in the landscape in warmer regions and thrives in hot, dry areas. It’s a wonderful planting that adds a tropical feel to the garden.

• Exposure: Full sun
• Average height: 3 feet
• Water: Dry, well-drained soils
• Cold hardiness: Zones 10 to 11

Salvia ‘Sensation Rose’
‘Sensation Rose’ is a compact, neatly branched meadow sage with soft, lilac-pink flowers. Flowering in early summer and blooming through fall, it shows dense, non-stop spikes of color. Drought-tolerant and reliable once established, this is a plant that performs beautifully in the sun garden.

• Exposure: Full sun
• Average Height: 10 to 12 inches
• Water: Well-drained soils
• Cold hardiness: Zones 4 to 8

Plants that work in nooks & crannies
More than 200 small-stature plants have been bred for multiple landscape uses and small-scale applications in an array of garden environments, including drought conditions. Plants that work in nooks & crannies includes multiple plant varieties, such as sedums and other groundcover plantings, for sun and shade locations of the landscape. Nooks & crannies plants are great additions to pathways, mixed containers, rock gardens, water ponds, terraces, green roofs, rock walls and patios.

Plants that work by color
For beds, borders and containers, plants that work by color offers home gardeners new, unique and drought-adaptable options for year-round annual color. With more than 150 varieties from which to choose, this new plant program of reliable annual color plantings will be available at independent garden centers nationwide in the spring.

Organic soil amendments

Adding amendments to your garden beds and containers can increase their water-retaining properties. Here are a few examples of organic amendments which increase water retention in the soil:

Sunshine Pro’s Just Coir: Made from coir (coconut fibers), this all-natural soil amendment is ideal for retaining water in existing landscapes, flowerbeds or vegetable gardens. Just Coir has been certified by the Mulch & Soil Council, which signifies it has been made with the finest quality ingredients for water retention. It is available in individually packaged bags that supply up to 2 cubic feet of amendment to the soil.

Sun Gro’s Black Gold Waterhold Cocoblend Potting Soil: A water-retaining soil which combines coconut fibers (coir) and Canadian sphagnum peat moss, Black Gold gives outdoor container plants an advantage against constant exposure to the elements. This growing media is usable for potted containers and all gardening applications. “It’s OMRI-listed, meaning it is approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute and makes it a green option for container gardeners,” says Blair Busenbark with Sun Gro Horticulture.

Don Eberly is president of Eberly Public Relations, an Atlanta-based firm dedicated to home, garden, design and agribusiness industries. His clients include garden centers, growers, home and garden product companies, landscape architects and designers, and others. Don also serves as the chairperson of the Home & Garden Marketing Association.

Sally Credille is an account manager and writer for Eberly Public Relations. She contributes to numerous home and garden publications, and maintains an blog,, dedicated to home, landscape design and horticulture topics.
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