Looking for a way to cut back on your water use? Consider adding drought-tolerant plants to your landscape. You’ll find a great selection of these water-wise plants – as well as thousands of others – at the Friends of Manito spring plant sale on June 1.
If the words “drought-tolerant” make you think of a yard full of cactus, think again. There are plenty of stunning plants worth considering:
Hyssop (Agastache) makes an excellent choice for many reasons: the attractive flower spikes are hummingbird magnets and attract pollinators, the foliage has a pleasant fragrance and they’re deer-resistant. Look for Kudos Mandarin, and anise hyssop Apache and Rosie Posie. They range from 16 to 24 inches in height, are all hardy to USDA zone 5 and perform best in full sun.
While columbines (Aquilegia) are known for their ornate blossoms and appealing foliage, they also attract pollinators and hummingbirds. Both Winky Double Dark Blue and White (14 inches tall) and Cardinal (up to 28 inches tall) have showstopper flowers that you’ll admire from late spring to early summer. They are hardy down to zone 3 and grow in full sun to part shade.
For something a bit more petite, check out the selection of pinks (Dianthus). Appleblossom Burst will earn its keep by producing large, fragrant pink flowers with burgundy centers. While Sweetie Pie is prized for its semi-double pink blossoms, Razzlepop has watermelon-colored flowers that contrast beautifully with the silver foliage. Pinks are deer-resistant and attract butterflies. All three cultivars have a long blooming season, are hardy down to zone 4, grow 8 to 10 inches tall and prefer full sun.
Daylilies (Hemerocallis) are hugely popular in this region because they’re very easy to grow and have gorgeous blossoms. Most are hardy down to zone 3 and will grow in full sun to part shade. Three to watch for are Ruby Spider (intensely red with yellow throats), Lavender Blue Baby (rosy-pink petals with a lavender eye) and Handwriting on the Wall (light pink with a lavender eye and golden ruffled edges).
Some of the toughest yet eye-catching perennials are stonecrops (Sedum). They feature succulent leaves and showy flower heads that attract pollinators and provide winter interest. Frosted Fire has variegated leaves while Marina (S. telephium) stands out with blue-gray foliage and rosy-pink flowers. Both are 12 inches tall and hardy down to zones 3 and 4, respectively.
If you’re in the market for some drought-tolerant shrubs, consider goji berries. In addition to getting a nice-looking shrub, they will also provide you with nutritious red berries. Sweet Treat (Lycium barbarum) is hardy to zone 5, can grow up to 12 feet tall and prefers full sun. Even though gojis are self-pollinating, their productivity will increase when cross-pollinated by a second goji berry.
Plant sale co-coordinator Gabi Tilley is looking forward to the sale, which will also feature perennials, ornamental grasses, succulents, edibles, shrubs and vines that are well-suited for our region.
“This year, we will have a larger variety of plants but fewer quantities of each so be sure to come early for the best selection.”
Members of the Friends of Manito will receive a 10 percent discount on their plant purchases. All proceeds from the sale will benefit Manito Park.
Susan Mulvihill is co-author, with Pat Munts, of “Northwest Gardener’s Handbook.” Contact her at Susan@susansinthegarden.com. Watch this week’s “Everyone Can Grow a Garden” video on youtube.com/c/susansinthegarden.
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