Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ten Perennials that You Might Be Able to Grow in Hell (Part 2)

My last post featured five plants that have survived the hottest, sunniest, driest part of my garden without a care (and certainly without my care).  Here are five more tough, drought tolerant plants for the Southern garden:

6. Sedum - common name: Stonecrop

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'
I think some of the Sedums in my yard live practically on air - I certainly don't water them!  I have some Sedum thriving on top of a green-roofed birdhouse.  I have some growing in the cracks of my driveway.  (I'm guessing it grew from a piece of Sedum that fell off the birdhouse when I tipped it over once.)  The only Sedums I have that don't flower well are the ones growing in my swampy side yard. 

7.  Agastache - common names:  Anise Hyssop, Hummingbird Mint

Agastache 'Grape Nectar'
I resisted planting Agastache for a long time, despite all the wonderful things I had heard about it.  The reason?  The leaves are said to smell like licorice, which I hate.  But I finally planted some, and the plants lived up to all the hype - they are tough, hardy plants, and the hummingbirds love them.  And I was thrilled to find that the leaves didn't smell exactly like licorice either.  Instead the scent is so pleasing that occasionally you may find me out in the garden petting and smelling my Agastaches. 

8.  Aclepias tuberosa - common name:  Butterfly Weed

Asclepias tuberosa
"Here you go.  Plant this in your garden.  It's a butterfly weed." Another gardener pulled what looked like a dried-up carrot out of her garden and handed it to me.  "Uh, okay," I said and later stuck it in my garden at the top of a hill and promptly forgot about it - until summertime, that is, when I was stopped in my tracks at the bright orange flowers.  Now it's a must-have in my garden.  This plant likes it sunny and dry, and, of course, the added attraction is that you will likely end up with some baby Monarchs if you plant them.

9.  Nepeta - common names:  Catmint, Catnip

Nepeta 'Limelight'
As I am writing this, I am shocked that I haven't brought any of my Nepeta inside to see what my cats' reactions will be to it.  Known for having a smell that is attractive to cats, Nepeta is also known for prospering in those sunny, dry spots that are a death knell to so many other plants.  Note: some of them may even prosper a little too much.  They are in the mint family, after all!

10.  Coreopsis - common name:  Tickseed

Coreopsis 'Full Moon'
This tough native is one of the flowers in which the Latin name is usually used instead of the common name (well, would you want to be called 'Tickseed'?)  Perennial Coreopsis are prolific bloomers, and they are often included in highway beautification programs.  Hey, if it will grow in a highway median, it will probably grow anywhere, right?

This concludes my list of 10 plants that have thrived in those scorching hot, dry spots in my North Carolina garden, even if they might not truly grow in Hell (I suspect Hell is full of crabgrass).

What plants would you pick to add to the list?

28 comments:

  1. thanks you ...Im really gonna try this sedum if I can find it....

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    1. There are a bunch of different types of sedum as well with different colored flowers. I have some that bloom pink, some that bloom white, and some that bloom yellow.

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  2. I have all the plants you highlighted in both posts. These are all great plants! Not only do they survive extreme conditions but they are great for all the pollinators. I will admit thought that I have a hard time growing Rudbeckia. I know, that is weird but I can't get them to mass, they just grow in a mound. Who knows, maybe the birds just eat all the seeds.

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    1. The Rudbeckia that seed the most for me are the ones near more moist areas (so the little babies have a better chance.) The ones in the dry spots still get really massive for me though, enough to divide quite a bit. Maybe it's the cultivar?

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  3. I'm impressed that you can get agastache to survive here. Humidity and heavy soil have always meant death for it in my garden. What's your secret?

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    1. These are plants that like it hot and dry (i.e. not in heavy clay or at least on top of a hill). My Agastaches are in places that have great drainage. The humidity doesn't seem to bother mine at all. They definitely don't like wet feet, though!

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  4. Hmmm, if I were to add anything to the list it would be ditch lilies, daffodils, hostas, and vinca minor. Those are the plants that survived the 20 years of neglect at my great grandmother's house and still grace me with flowers. :)

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    1. I have quite a few daffodils as well. Those things will survive anywhere! They do pretty well in the parts of my garden with heavy clay as well.

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  5. Hilarious title. But you are right on in how easily these plants are to keep alive. Even completely flattened by cat, the catmint is barely bothered. Each one has pollinators galore too.

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    1. I transplanted one of my Nepeta's in the middle of summer, and I don't think I hardly watered it. Of course, it's doing just fine. I still have yet to see if it's going to be a spreader or if it will behave itself!

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  6. How pretty. I love Coreopsis just for the reason for your posting. It is such a tough plant and some like Mesa Yellow bloom all season until the freeze takes them here. Great posting Indie.

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    1. They really have a long bloom season. Mine are still hanging on here, though looking rather ratty!

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  7. I've just planted Agastache for the first time, so it was interesting to see it here. Mine is apricot coloured. I do have heavy soil, but it's in a raised bed and I dug in compost, so we'll see how it goes. Catmint is everywhere here and thrives in every spot. I would add Erigeron mucronatus (seaside daisy) and Salvia microphylla, which both seem to take any amount of heat and dryness and keep flowering.

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    1. I love daisies in all forms. I'll have to try those seaside daisies sometime! I hope your Agastache does well for you!

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    1. They are very pretty, though in my 'Limelight' Nepeta, it's the foliage that really makes an impression!

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  9. What a great idea for a post! I reckon the world could end and catmint would live on. What I love about this post is that it reminds us that tough plants can be desirable and beautiful. Well done Indie!

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    1. There really are so many tough plants that have quite a few blooms. They might not be as 'cultured' and 'refined' as some of the fussier plants, but they are just as pretty!

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  10. Good choices! I guess I would add to that Queen Anne's Lace (Wild Carrot) and Chicory. They were thriving all over the place here this summer in the middle of the drought when everything else was dying. I'm not sure they're desirable in a garden because they're not native and they can be invasive. But they were pretty when everything around them was brown.

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    1. I love Queen Anne's Lace, even if it isn't native. It is so pretty!

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  11. All these plants would be good recommendations for new gardeners who haven't yet learned that death is part of gardening. Inevitably you move on to less foolproof plants and that's when you discover how easy the original 10 are.

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    1. Very true! My fussier plants get the prime spots in the garden, so these plants get the leftovers!

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  12. Again fabulous plants for a wonderful garden whether a beginner or not or in hell or not :)

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    1. Thanks :) I love tough plants, as I'm not so great at watering and such!

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  13. Haha...that's so funny about Agastache...I avoided planting them for years for the same reason...I HATE the smell/taste of black licorice. Luckily, I agree, the scent isn't bad at all...and often times, I love weeding around them, as the scent makes it so much more pleasant :-)

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    1. That's funny - I'm glad I'm not the only one! :)

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  14. Great choices, Indie; this past summer was indeed the summer from hell, and I learned a lot, too, about what plants were tough survivors. One that I would add to the list is the purple coneflower, one of my favorites and a plant that seems to thrive--and multiply--in my garden regardless of the conditions.

    By the way, I happen to like licorice, but I haven't noticed this scent from the agastache too much either. Even if they smelled like dog doo, I'd still plant these gorgeous bloomers:)

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    1. I've heard so many great things about purple coneflowers. I've grown some hybrids, and they had a hard time for me. I think some of the hybrids are much more fussy. The purple one is on my list of plants to grow at some point, though - I need tough plants in my garden that can withstand my neglect!

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