One of the best things you can do for your soil is protect it from the bare elements. Some spaces can prove challenging to start plants in if you do not plan to water regularly or your region experiences drought conditions.
Here are three particularly outstanding perennial performers in drought stricken climates. Perennials are ideal if you want low maintenance, don’t wish to deal with repeat annual plantings, or enjoy following permaculture principles. (Or maybe you just like perennials!)
1. Blue Mist Spirea a.k.a Blue Mist a.k.aCaryopteris x clandonensis This showy perennial reminds me of blue sage, but with more of a fan shape in the bloom. It’s a bit shrubby with leaves that are similar to the shape of Lemon Verbena or perhaps bay leaves. If you like the color blue or indigo in your garden, this is a great choice, especially if you want it to really pop against other evergreen shrubs. It’s hardy from Zones 5 through 9 and likes full sun to partial shade. Bees and Hummingbirds are quite attracted to Blue Mist!
2. Hollyhock a.k.a Alcea rosea It’s a well known and well loved showy cottage extravaganza, but Hollyhocks also do more than just look good. They can grow to over 9 feet in height, provide edible flowers (albeit rather neutral in flavor) and can be a vital ground conditioning mulch. What better way to pretty up a destitute patch of crusty dirt than to toss some of these seeds during your wettest months and let them do their magic. Once established, they’re incredibly low maintenance. Hollyhocks form a deep taproot which is ideal for extracting nutrients from far down in the soil. Mulch them when they’re spent, and start improving your soil!
3. Mountain Sandwort a.k.a Arenaria montana This bright and beautiful white flowering rocky terrain lover is a brilliant solution for filling in crevices. This low lying evergreen’s roots will slowly spread in sandy soils, filling out your rock compositions in your landscape. Quite a sturdy plant, being hardy from Zone 2 through Zone 9. If you want big beautiful flowers, good ground cover and very low maintenance, Mountain Sandwort will make a great addition to your landscape and/or garden.
Image credit: Photography-S. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.