TOP 10 Drought resistant plants.
With temperature records being smashed every few years, maybe it’s time to have a look at plants that enjoy a more arid climate. Below is our top 10 drought defying flora for UK gardens.
№ 1. AGAPANTHUS
Agapanthus are a perennial that are indigenous to South Africa and the deciduous species and cultivars are very drought resistant. In fact they positively love being baked in summer. What is more, they are very happy planted out in the UK and are perfectly hardy.
Our current favourites are Agapanthus ‘Navy Blue’ (Sometimes called 'Midnight Star' and A. ‘Indigo Dreams’ . There are lots of sizes and colours to choose from and they are very Bee friendly, making these stunning perennials a must for any hot garden.
№ 2 . Perovskia atriplicifolia.
A very tough member of the Salvia (Lamiaceae) family, sometimes called ‘Russian Sage’, but actually endemic Central Asia -Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tibet. Tall spires of silvery grey aromatic foliage are tipped with sapphire blue flowers. It likes a hot sunny position in relatively poor soils. It will die back in winter, but reemerges in late spring. Easy to grow, loved by Bees and very fragrant.
№ 3. Ficus carica.
This large shrub or small tree has been in cultivation for over 5,000 years, making it one of the oldest cultivated plants. Originally believed to be from Western Asia it was brought to the Mediterranean by humans, where it has been used for it’s fruit ever since. Plant in the ground in a very sunny spot and restrict the roots with a box made from loose stone slabs. The large lobed leaves are very exotic and some cultivars will produce edible fruits. Very drought tolerant and easy to grow.
№ 4. Ginkgo biloba.
Known as the maidenhair tree, this is a very tough customer. Resistant to drought, pollution and honey fungus. Ginkgo belong to a group of plants that date back almost unchanged from the Jurassic and their fishtail shaped leaves definitely have a very ancient appearance.
№ 5. Campsis radicans.
Also know as the trumpet vine. This is a fast growing climber from the south eastern areas of United States. Its pinnate leaves and clusters of tubular-funnel-shaped flowers in Orange give it a very tropical look, however this vine is very drought tolerant and thrives in the dry. This big and beautiful climber does need to be sited carefully due to its strong aerial roots, but very worth growing for a touch of the exotic.
№ 6. Agave Montana.
This is a fantastic large architectural succulent. Extremely drought tolerant, hardy to RHS rating H4 and easy in cultivation. Needs a sunny site in extremely well drained soil, preferably on a slope or raised bed. Agave Montana, is just one of a growing list of the Agave genus that are worth considering for UK cultivation. You can find our latest Agave on offer, including Agave Montana, in our web shop here: https://www.bluenurseries.com/product-page/agave-montana
№ 7. Yucca rostrata.
Yucca are all very drought resistant, but Yucca rostrata is not just drought tolerant, it is also very hardy and very architectural. This central american yucca develops a thick truck with a tight rosette of glaucous - blue /grey stiff leaves on top. In a hot summer Yucca rostrata will flower with a tall stem of creamy white bell shaped flowers.
Easy and rewarding.
№ 8. Aloe Polyphylla.
The Spiral Aloe is an absolute winner. This large succulent from South Africa has become an iconic image thanks to Apple computers, who have used it’s mesmerising spiral form in Apple’s adverts. Drought tolerant and hardy once established to -7℃ however this fantastic succulent needs a very well drained site in full sun and may need some protection in it’s early years during winter.
We grow this fabulous Aloe on the nursery from seed and it is availble when ready here: https://www.bluenurseries.com/product-page/aloe-polyphylla
№ 9. Allium.
For some early colour and structure in the garden, Allium are a great addition and they are fairly drought tolerant as well - My personal favourites are A. ‘Globemaster’ and A. ‘Purple Sensation’.
These ornimental members of the Onion family are best planted in late Autumn for flowering the following spring.
№ 10. Pelargonium.
Sometimes wrongly called Geranium. This South African native needs little introduction. They are great in pots, they are drought tolerant and come in a wide range of colours, forms and sizes. They are easy to grow in a sandy loam based compost and love being baked in the sun. Sadly not hardy but, like cactus and succulents can withstand very low temperatures if kept on the dry side, with plenty of ventilation. Overwintering in a green house is definitely best.