Plants - Perennials

Drought-resistant perennials

Plant these hardy picks that will survive the dry days of summer

The winner: Thread-leaf tickseed
Thread-leaf tickseed (Coreopsis verticillata) is a very reliable perennial with single, showy, daisy-like, yellow flowers that start to bloom in June and often don't stop until the first frost. Don't be fooled by its delicate-looking, threadlike foliage—this is one tough, drought-resistant plant. Tickseed (shown above) loves well-drained, sandy soil and full sun to light shade.

‘Moonbeam' is my favourite cultivar. Named Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association in 1992, it reaches 45 centimetres tall with a spread of 30 centimetres. Shape the plant with a light shearing after it flowers; this will also encourage re-bloom. Hardy to Zone 4.

Honourable mentions
‘Goldsturm' coneflower (black-eyed Susan) (Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii)

Height: 45 to 90 cm
Spread: 60 cm
Location: full sun to part shade, well drained, sandy to clay soil
Cultivation: easy to grow, no staking or deadheading; tolerates heat, drought and cold
Flowers: golden yellow petals with a black cone, July to frost
Foliage: medium green
Zone: 3

‘Matrona' sedum (Sedum ‘Matrona')
Height: 50 to 60 cm
Spread: 60 cm
Location: full sun, sandy, well-drained soil
Cultivation: easy to grow; pinch back when young
Flowers: pink clusters, late summer to fall Foliage: succulent, pinkish grey Zone: 2

‘Veitch's Blue' small globe thistle (Echinops ritro ‘Veitch's Blue')
Height: 100 to 115 cm
Spread: 45 to 60 cm
Location: full sun, sandy, well-drained soil
Cultivation: easy to grow, but avoid dividing or moving
Flowers: blue, golf ball-shaped blooms, July to September
Foliage: dark green, thistle-like
Zone: 3

A few more favourites

  • ‘Terracotta' yarrow (Achillea ‘Terracotta'), Zone 3 Height: 75 to 100 cm Spread: 60 to 75 cm
  • ‘Burgunder' blanket flower (Gaillarda ‘Burgunder' (a.k.a. Burgundy)), Zone 3 Height: 60 to 100 cm Spread: 30 to 60 cm
  • ‘Magnus' purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus'), Zone 3 Height: 1 m Spread: 45 to 60 cm
  • ‘Happy Returns' daylily (Hemerocallis ‘Happy Returns'), Zone 2 Height: 35 to 40 cm Spread: 45 to 60 cm
  • ‘Big Ears' lambs' ears (Stachys byzantina ‘Big Ears'), Zone 3 Height: 30 to 45 cm Spread: 40 to 60 cm.


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