Landscape professionals looking for stylish, drought tolerant plants to include in their designs and projects have a variety of hardy options. Once established, the following selections stand up to stress from high heat, low moisture and poor soils while contributing unique color, functionality and texture. Here are some of our team’s favorites.
Dark Knight Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Dark Knight’)
Dark Knight Bluebeard
Fragrant, deep-purple floral clusters dot sturdy stems rising above sage green foliage. Dark Knight Bluebeard is a compact deciduous shrub with a mounding habit. It blooms from late summer to fall, providing rich color during the waning growing season. This water-wise caryopteris reaches 3 to 4 feet tall and wide and requires very little care.
Pollinator friendly, it tolerates poor soils and, once established, needs only occasional watering. More moisture may be needed during extreme heat or when planted in containers. Plant in full sun, en masse along borders and walkways or solo as a specimen in an urban setting. Select blue fescue, coneflower and blanket flower as companion plants. Plant in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 9.
‘Denim ‘n Lace’ Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
‘Denim ‘n Lace’ Russian Sage
Grace under pressure – that is ‘Denim ‘n Lace’ Russian Sage! With sturdy stems and lacy-blue fragrant flowers, this perennial thrives in hot, dry climates. It blooms in mid-summer and continues through mid-fall. While it requires good drainage, Russian sage is drought and salt tolerant. It performs well in all soil types when planted in full sun. Deer resistant, hummingbirds love it.
‘Denim ‘n Lace’ Russian Sage has an upright habit. It reaches a height and width of about 3 feet at maturity. It requires very little maintenance once established. Use Russian sage as a border plant in the landscape, on its own as filler in perennial beds and en masse as a statement or utility screen. Plant in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9.
Lo & Behold® ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ Butterfly Bush (Buddleia x)
Lo & Behold® ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ Butterfly Bush
At 2.5 feet tall and 2 feet wide, this junior version of the Lo & Behold® ‘Blue Chip’ butterfly bush is smaller than the larger variety but packed with the same amount of color. Fragrant purple-blue flowers bloom continuously all summer long on a mounded habit with silver-green foliage.
Lo & Behold® ‘Blue Chip’ Jr. blooms on new wood. It is deer resistant and prefers full sun. This butterfly bush needs no deadheading and little maintenance. It has minimal needs for water and is drought tolerant. It attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators. Use it in spaces where a smaller version of ‘Blue Chip’ is required. Plant in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 9.
Blackhawks Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)
Blackhawks Big Bluestem
The sky’s the limit with Blackhawks Big Bluestem. Drought tolerant, it is native to North America. This ornamental grass thrives in poor soil conditions and requires very little water. Leaves bloom dark green in late summer, then transition to purple and black in fall.
Designing projects for drought tolerance and height? Blackhawks Big Bluestem delivers. Columnar, it matures to about 5 feet tall and has a 24-inch spread. Use this ornamental grass as a border plant, garden accent or utility screen. Plant in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 9.
Prairie Blues Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Prairie Blues’)
Prairie Blues Little Bluestem
There is a lot of strength packed into this little bluestem. Prairie Blues is fast-growing to 3 feet tall and 1.5 feet wide at maturity. It is drought tolerant once established and grows well in a range of soils and environmental conditions. Water this little bluestem regularly during the first season to support root development and give it all-purpose plant food.
Prairie Blues Little Bluestem has silver-blue foliage that turns russet in fall. Showy white flowers bloom in late summer and continue through autumn. This fast grower is bird friendly and prefers full sun. It works well in landscape designs that call for accent grasses or front-of-the-border mass plantings. Plant in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 10.
Hot Rod Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum ‘Hot Rod’)
Hot Rod Switch Grass
Hot Rod Switch Grass has it all – drought and salt tolerance, a compact vertical form and four-season interest. Blue-green foliage during the growing season takes on a rich burgundy color in late summer through fall. Purple panicles produce lace-like seed heads that provide winter interest and forage for songbirds. At maturity, this switchgrass is about 4 feet tall by 2 feet wide.
Hot Rod Switch Grass is hardy in very cold temperatures. Water weekly and more often during periods of extreme heat. This is a good ornamental grass for erosion control because it is able to tolerate wet areas in the landscape. Companion plants include tickseed, coneflower and barberry. Plant in full or partial sun, in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9.
Learn More About Plants from Loma Vista Nursery!
Loma Vista Nursery’s staff members are experts in the field. We love helping people learn and understand more about healthy plants that perform well in Midwest landscapes. For more information, visit our plant catalog. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (785) 229-7200 to get answers to your plant-related questions.
Connect With Us!
Stay up-to-date on our plant recommendations, growing tips and more by following us on social media.