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Survive the Summer Heat with Drought Tolerant Plants

Charleston has been hot and humid for weeks, but it is officially summer now! The start of the new season means school is out, vacation time is just around the corner, and your plants are probably struggling in this hot weather. One way to ensure your window baskets, containers, or plantings look good during the summer is by utilizing drought tolerant plants! Drought tolerance is the ability by which a plant maintains its biomass production during arid or drought conditions. Essentially, it's a plant's ability to survive during drought!


All plants require water to become established which can take one to many seasons depending on the plant and its size. A plant is considered established when its root system is integrated with the soil and new above ground growth is visible. The plants listed below are considered drought tolerant once they are established! 


Crape Myrtle

Yaupon holly

Juniper

Chaste Tree (Vitex)

Figs

Pineapple Guava

Aucuba

Bottlebrush

Nandina

Fatsia

Oleander

Pittosporum

Podocarpus

Buddleja (Butterfly Bush)

Forsythia

Cross Vine

Winter Jasmine

Lady Banks’ Rose

American Wisteria

Star Jasmine (Confederate Jasmine)

Muhly Grass

Liriope

Mondo Grass

Cast Iron Plant

Creeping Fig

Bear’s Breeches

Agapanthus

Worm Wood

Cone Flower

Gaura

Red Hot Poker

Lantana

Russian Sage

Mexican Petunia

Lamb’s Ear

Mexican Heather

Cigar Plant

Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)

Various drought tolerant sedum in white pots

Other plants that are more commonly considered drought tolerant are native to dry/ desert areas and have adapted to very little water. When people think of drought tolerant plants they are probably imagining these plants! These full sun loving plants are perfect for people with inconsistent watering habits whether that is due to a brown thumb, no irrigation, long vacations, or maybe Charleston is their second home. Whatever the reason, adding some of the plants listed below will ensure something in your pots looks beautiful all season!



Sedum (lemon ball / jade runner)

Stonecrop

Hens & Chicks

Agave (ovatifolia / ocahui)

Cacti (prickly pear / peruvianus / pencil)

Succulents

Mezoo

Jewels of opar

Purslane or Portulaca

Yucca (Magenta Magic / Color Guard)

Aloe



To learn more about drought tolerant plants, head to “Plants That Tolerate Drought” from Clemson. 

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