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Drought-Tolerant Perennials


With the New England summer underway, you can expect the weather to get hot and dry. While this can be cumbersome for plants that rely heavily on a frequent watering schedule, there are a number of perennials—many of which we grow right here at Nunan’s—that are grown and bred to be drought-tolerant. When rain from neither the sky nor the sprinkler are in the cards, you don’t have to worry about this list of perennials that can take it dry and hot:

  • Butterfly Bush
  • Lavender
  • Rudbeckia
  • Sedum
  • Agastache
  • Yarrow
  • Allium
  • Artemesia
  • Asclepias
  • Baptisia
  • Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)
  • Delosperma (Ice Plant)
  • Coreopsis
  • Dianthus
  • Echinacea
  • Liriope
  • Nepeta
  • Peonies
  • Penstemon
  • Russian Sage

These are but a few of a long list of drought-tolerant perennials. Now, the million-dollar question is: what makes these perennials, over others, so drought-tolerant? There are a number of factors that determine how tolerant a plant is going to be towards a dry season.

Tiny Hairs

Some plants, like rudbeckia, use tiny hairs, called trichomes, on their leaves to help reduce air flow across the surface of the leaves. Less air flow means less evaporation. Less evaporation means longer time between watering (for you).

Waxy Surfaces

Plants like succulents and cacti have extra waxy surfaces on their foliage to help retain moisture from the hot sun. In the desert, the waxy cuticle also helps to insulate the plant.


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