The best ‘drought-tolerant’ plants to prepare your garden for lack of water – plant now

Horticulture expert Chris Bonnet from has said last year’s unprecedented weather with high temperatures could be seen again this year if current rainfall levels are anything to go by. Last summer temperatures reached 40C in areas of the UK, a heat that many plants and shrubs could not handle.

The expert said: “Last year was unlike any heat wave I’ve ever seen and these intense periods of heat and lack of rainfall are likely to be more prevalent.

“Growers need to adapt and think about what they can grow that is tolerant of these difficult conditions.

“There are so many options from favorites like lavender to more unusual plants like passion flower. There are also other things that gardeners can now do such as installing water butts to collect rainwater to irrigate their gardens.

Back in December 2022, the Met Office predicted that 2023 could be one of the warmest on record.

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Drought-tolerant plants have been developed to thrive in dry soil with little rainwater, perfect for growing in a sunny border or on a patio that gets plenty of sunlight.

The expert recommended planting lavender, a staple in UK gardens, with beautiful flowers and a distinctive scent.

Chris added: “It is also a good drought tolerant plant. Try planting the plant near a path or in a garden border to enjoy the fragrance to the fullest.

“Lavender also works well in planters on a patio or deck. And an added bonus? Beneficial insects like bees and butterflies love them.

“Plant passion flowers too. This exotic climber tolerates a lack of rain well and thrives during hot summers. It is a showstopper in the garden.

“White flowers with central rings of purple, blue and white pointed filaments are in full bloom from July to September, followed by egg-shaped, orange-yellow fruit.”

According to the proponents, these are perfect for tropical gardens but look stunning whatever the theme of your garden.

Gardeners can also grow Cordyline australis, commonly known as the cabbage tree, which can be seen in countries such as Australia.

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They can make a statement in the garden with their upright, palm-like appearance with green sword-like leaves. They are hardy and will thrive in full sun, surviving periods of drought.

Chris said: “Mature plants have fragrant, white flowers in clusters that appear during late spring.

“Give up Hebe too. Drought tolerant hebes are the ultimate foliage plants to provide year-round interest.

“These evergreen shrubs will add color and texture to your outdoor space. The low growing domes of densely packed leaves can be planted almost everywhere.

“They are virtually maintenance-free, frost-resistant, drought tolerant, and tolerant of shade, sun, and poor soil.”

Gardeners looking for a small shrub that is drought-tolerant should opt for perovskia, also known as Russian sage.

They have highly scented leaves that hold compact flowers from late summer, flowering from late July to September.

Horticulturists recommend planting them along a path to fully enjoy the fragrance from their leaves.

He continued: “Try applying Artemisia Powis Castle. This is a wonderful plant that serves as the perfect foil for more showy flowers. Its finely cut leaves are what allow this plant to survive in drought conditions.

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