by Crystal Jones
(Bridge City, TX, USA)
I live in Southeast Texas. It is hot, humid and full sun most of the day. I would like to plant some hardy, indigenous plants that will look nice in front of my home but not break the bank and take little maintenance. We are in the middle of a serious drought and then there will be a deluge of water come during the hurricane season. Any helpful tips?
Drought Smart Plants reply:
Hi Crystal, I'm sure this is a question on everyone's mind in these times of very erratic climate change. To my way of thinking, a combination of some locally adapted wildflowers mixed with some hardy succulents that don't require any moisture during even a severe drought are your best bet. If you go to your local extension office (a division of the Agriculture Ministry) they will be able to supply you with a list of some drought tolerant native plants. I'm not familiar with the flora in your area, so can't give you anything other than some guidelines:
Choose some shrub type plants, to provide some shade for lower growing perennial plants; use ground covers that will cover the bare earth, as this holds moisture in place when it's dry, but also prevents soil erosion during torrential rains.
Many perennials can be found on Craigslist and other classified ad sites. The best kind to get would be those that your research tells you are not invasive or need excessive care.
Look for locally grown plants - avoid bringing in plants that have been grown in areas with a different climate, as these will require a lot of coddling and extra (wasteful) watering until they're established.
A good method of getting a cheap supply of plants if you need a lot is to buy Sedum cuttings, available at many mail order green roof suppliers. Depending on what selection they have, your garden will be almost maintenance free, and beautiful with many textures and colours. These plants will adapt to higher humidity best if they are not watered as much even when it's dry.
Once you've decided on the plants, spend a little extra money and use a pebble or lava rock mulch - not only will this suppress weeds, but will also hold a little moisture that will be available for your plants during the dry spells.
I'd love to see where you take this - be sure to visit the page for you to brag up your xeric garden project.
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