Caring & Planning for Drought Conditions in Your Garden This Season
After the record summer of 2023 with temperatures at some of the highest on record, with weeks and months of dry hot weather and very little rain – we saw a massive impact on gardens we worked on across Derby & Nottingham. Once thriving lush green spaces were quickly turned into a desolate dustbowl with countless perennials and shrubs lost.
Caring for perennials and shrubs during drought conditions can be challenging, but there are several strategies you can use to help your plants survive and thrive. Here are some tips:
- Water deeply: When you do water your plants, make sure to water deeply rather than frequently. This will encourage deep root growth and help the plants better withstand drought conditions. Water early in the morning or late in the evening to reduce evaporation.
- Mulch: Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of your plants can help retain moisture in the soil and regulate soil temperature. This can help your plants better cope with drought conditions.
- Choose drought-tolerant varieties: When selecting perennials and shrubs, choose varieties that are known to be drought-tolerant. This will help ensure that your plants are better able to handle periods of drought.
- Prune judiciously: Prune away any dead or damaged wood to help reduce the plant’s water needs. Avoid pruning during periods of drought stress, as this can further stress the plant.
- Fertilize sparingly: Fertilizing your plants during drought conditions can actually do more harm than good. Instead, focus on providing the plants with adequate water and allowing them to rest and recover.
- Provide shade: Providing some shade to your plants during periods of intense heat can help reduce water loss and keep the plants cooler. This can be achieved through shade cloth, umbrellas, or by planting taller plants nearby to provide shade.
By following these tips, you can help your perennials and shrubs survive and thrive during drought conditions. Remember to pay attention to your plants’ specific needs and adjust your care accordingly to ensure their best chance of success.
There are several perennials that are well-suited for dry hot weather and drought conditions. Here are some options to consider:
- Lavender: Lavender is a hardy perennial that thrives in dry conditions. It prefers well-draining soil and plenty of sunshine, and its fragrant flowers can add a beautiful touch to any garden.
- Sedum: Sedum, also known as stonecrop, is a low-maintenance perennial that is highly drought-tolerant. It comes in a variety of colors and can be used as ground cover or in rock gardens.
- Coneflower: Coneflowers, also known as echinacea, are drought-tolerant perennials that produce beautiful daisy-like flowers. They come in a variety of colors and are easy to care for.
- Yarrow: Yarrow is a hardy perennial that can tolerate both heat and drought. It produces clusters of tiny flowers in a variety of colors, and its fern-like foliage can add texture to any garden.
- Russian Sage: Russian Sage is a hardy perennial that can tolerate drought and hot conditions. It produces aromatic grayish-green foliage and tall spires of lavender-blue flowers.
Remember to provide ample water for newly planted perennials until they are established, and then gradually reduce watering as the plants become more drought-tolerant. By choosing the right perennials and providing proper care, you can create a beautiful and thriving garden even in hot, dry conditions.