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Create Your Water-wise Landscape

Keeping our plants sufficiently watered can sometimes seem overwhelming. Does your dry, sandy soil present a challenge? Do you feel like you can never find the time to water your garden? Or, when you do water, it’s never enough for your thirsty plants? And let’s not forget about vacations! Incorporating drought-tolerant plants into your low-maintenance garden might be just the right answer! It’s easy to do! With proper plant choices, your garden will thrive, rewarding you with lush foliage and blooms – and a little less watering time.

When we think of drought-tolerant plants, most of us often automatically think of something in the succulent or cactus family. While these favorites certainly qualify, there are so many other beautiful perennial, tree and shrub options to consider!

Drought-tolerant plants are often used when a gardener is trying to conserve water and create a sustainable garden or when there is limited access to water in the selected area. These dry-loving beauties have natural features that help them minimize water loss and maximize water uptake. All while looking fabulous in the landscape, making them well suited to long, hot, dry summers.

Some of those features include:

  • Fine hairs on the plant’s leaves to trap moisture on the leaf’s surface
  • Deep, expansive roots, allowing the plant to pull moisture from deep below the soil’s surface
  • Waxy “coating” on the leaves to help limit desiccation
  • Smaller leaves or deep indentations to reduce the plant’s leaf area

As a general rule: drought-tolerant plants are low maintenance.

Drought-tolerant plants are pretty low maintenance as a rule and typically do well in sunny locations with dry, well-drained, often sandy soil. Once they are established (after a full season), they can handle longer breaks between watering. That being said, providing an occasional drink of water during long stretches is always a good idea.

Maybe you’re thinking about adding some drought-tolerant plants to your yard. Our friends at the MSU Extension have compiled a LIST OF PLANTS including native varieties that don’t require much water. 

Drought-tolerant plants, the hardy addition to the garden.

Whether it’s a small or large area, drought-tolerant plants are a hardy addition to your garden. With so many varieties to choose from, you’re certain to find just the right one!

Perennials & Wildflowers
Blue False Indigo Baptisia
Butterfly Weed
Sand Coreopsis
Rough Blazing Star
Wild Lupine
Wild Bergamot
Hairy Beardtongue
Black-eyed Susan
Prairie Dock
Showy Goldenrod
Smooth Aster
Common Spiderwort

Grasses & Sedges
Feather Reed Grass
Big Bluestem
Pennsylvania Sedge
Bottlebrush Grass
Switch Grass
Little Bluestem

Trees & Shrubs
Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)
Potentilla fruticosa
White Fir
Smooth Serviceberry
New Jersey Tea
Red-osier Dogwood
Wild Black Cherry
White Oak
Bur Oak


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