Top 10 Drought Gardening Ideas

Beat the heat with these ten drought gardening tips.

Top 10 Tips for Beating The Heat

  1. Choose the right site. Even sun lovers need a little relief, especially at midday. So avoid growing them in a full sun, especially on south-facing exposures. Part-day shade minimizes stress and also preserves flower color longer.
  2. While you can’t turn down the heat, you can change the soil. Dig in plenty of organic matter prior to planting. This improves the soil’s texture, fertility and ability to retain any moisture. Plus, the soil stays cooler. This should be an annual task.
  3. An inch or two of mulch can make a world of difference. Organic mulch will hold moisture in the soil, keep plant roots cool and even improve the soil as it breaks down.
  4. Group plants with similar moisture needs in the same area. This cuts down on the special trips you’ll need to make to water just one or two plants.
  5. One of the best ways to prevent drought stress is proper watering. Instead of giving your plants frequent, shallow waterings, water less often and more deeply. Let a soaker hose give plants a good drink for several hours, or use a sprinkler at a low setting. Always water plants at ground level so that the moisture goes directly to the roots.
  6. Try desert and dry-meadow natives and plants that survive at high altitudes. These plants survive nicely in the wild, without human help, so they’re sure to survive in your backyard. Young plants purchased from native nurseries may start out as ugly ducklings but, once established, provide beauty with little care.
  7. Hot, dry weather is the worst possible time to fertilize your flower garden. This is because plant roots respond to the difficult conditions by slowing or shutting down. The nitrates in plant foods will only injure them in this dormant state.
  8. Experiment with plant placement if you live in the South. You may find that the light is intense enough for you to grow even sun-loving plants in the shade.
  9. Try spring bulbs! Many spring-flowering bulbs will survive in hot, dry locations, since the most extreme weather hits after they’ve already flowered and are resting. Mulch or cover them with other plants to keep them safe and cool.
  10. Many ornamental grasses are prairie natives, so they’re well suited to hot, dry conditions. Look for ones native to your area.

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