Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ten Perennials that You Might Be Able to Grow in Hell (Part 1)

They've survived one of the hottest summers on record despite my complete and total neglect.  In fact, they're even thriving!  Here is my list of perennials that can take the glaring sun and the scorching heat we get in the Southeast - and live to tell about it.

1.  Rudbeckia - common name: Black-eyed Susans
Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'
I have several different types of Rudbeckia, and there are usually some blooming at any given point from early summer until fall.  Nothing seems to stop them, not even this summer's record week of 105°F (40°C) temperatures. In fact, I still have a lot blooming (yes, it's mid-November).  They even politely seed a few babies around.  And the bees and butterflies love them.  And magic fairies sprout from them ready to grant wishes.

Okay, I might have been lying about the last part.  On to number 2...

2.  Gaillardia - common name: Blanket Flower
Gaillardia x grandiflora
Pretty much ditto everything from #1, including the magic sprouting fairies.  Gaillardia is a rather short-lived perennial often described as 'tough-as-nails.'

3. Salvia
Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'
I've heard rumors of a few Salvias that like shade, but I'll bet you'd have to go looking for them.  I have Salvia by my mailbox, among other places, if that tells you anything.  Salvias come in many different colors and heights, which begets quite the dilemma - which one of the hundreds of heat-loving varieties do you like the best?  

4. Gaura lindheimeri - common names: Wand Flower, Beeblossom
Gaura lindheimeri 'Gaudwwhi'
With it's graceful, airy wands of darling little white or pink flowers, Gaura looks dainty and delicate.  Don't be fooled - it's anything but.  

5. Stachys - common name: Lamb's Ear
Stachys byzantina 'Helen Von Stein'
Whatever you do, just don't water this plant!  Apparently water is the Kryptonite of Lamb's Ear.  (I found that out the hard way.)  I've actually seen this plant growing on the side of a cliff.  By the way, if you do have this plant in your garden, congratulations - I'm sure you're the parent of several new Lamb's Ear plants by now!

What other plants made my Hell list of drought-tolerant, heat-loving plants?  Well, the next post will be coming soon!  Now if anyone needs me, I'll be busy petting my Lamb's Ears...

19 comments:

  1. I concur! Verbena bonariensis is another one that is unfazed by the summers here, and rewards you (or curses you) with offspring.

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    1. Ha, I agree! It definitely needs it dry - with the rain we got towards the end of the summer, all my Verbena bonariensis got a terrible case of powdery mildew. Too much water for it!

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  2. Oddly enough, most of those grow well in the Pacific NW (not lambs ears) so they must be all around hardy types. I haven't noticed any wish granting fairies, but possibly that is because I haven't been looking. Maybe now you could do the post "Ten Perennials that You Might Be Able to Grow when Hell freezes over"!

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    1. Those are called Annuals, right? ;)

      You would have way more experience with cold-proof plants up there, since here the oven is barely turned off enough for a short winter. If you or any other Northerner wants to write the post, I'll link to it!

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  3. You will be shocked to know that I think I killed both of my black-and-blue salvias! I have no idea how. But, I just love the look of them, so I'm sure I'll try again. Great list!

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    1. Oh how sad, those ones are so pretty! Do you leave the stems all winter? I've heard if you cut them too soon, water can get in the hollow stems over winter and freeze the root.

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  4. I have trouble keeping those salvias also, between the weeds and neglect. I do agree Verbena bonariensis is another good one in our garden.

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    1. That's too bad! Mine seem to coexist with the weeds fairly well. I love the Verbena as well - it seems to go with everything!

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  5. Good series! I've found similar results with some of these. I didn't realize Gaura was so sturdy, though. Thanks for the recommendations!

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    1. I love Gaura. It's so pretty, yet does really well on my hot, very sunny slope in my back yard!

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  6. More plants to add to my list, of maybe they will do well here.

    Thanks,

    Jen

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    1. Some of them, like the rudbeckia, are pretty hardy anywhere!

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  7. Yellow, orange and blue flowers beautifully present in the garden.
    Regards

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  8. I couldn't agree more...I have some blanket flower still blooming.

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    1. Mine are still blooming as well. They just don't want to stop!

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  9. Totally enjoyed the humor in this post.

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  10. I think maybe you have more humidity over summer than we do, because some of these are not drought-hardy here. Rudbeckias and Gaillardias can dry up and so can Salvia guaranitica in full sun (although the roots don't die, just the tops). It does better in light shade for me. I agree with you about Gaura and Lambs Ears, though.

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