Xeriscaping-Drought Tolerant Plants

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Farhan Ahmed
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Xeriscaping-Drought Tolerant Plants

Post by Farhan Ahmed » May 19th, 2013, 1:55 pm

Our summers are real tough, average highs of 45 Celsius, soaring upto 50 Deg and almost no rainfall during the months of May, June and July. Does this mean we abandon our gardens for this period? I think accepting defeat in these months at least for “active gardening” is acceptable, otherwise extra-ordinary efforts are required to ensure survival of summer plants.

However, if you are not willing to give up and still want to see some colors in scorching sun, one need to look for plants which tolerate drought…..Xeriscaping plants. Beside high UV index/heat which directly burns the foliage, another issue is moisture. Any amount of moisture is evaporated within minutes; thereby we should be looking for plants which can survive in total dry conditions. Below is list of some plants which I have observed to be quite resilient in this regard and can last without watering for weeks.

Absolute Drought Tolerance (watering spaced apart weeks)

Shrubs
Bougainvillea
Lagerstroemia/Crape Myrtle
Nerium Oleander
Hibiscus
Lantana
Jasmine
Hypericum

Vines
Trumpet vine
Ipomoea Cairica (Railway Creeper)

Border Plants
Vinca Perennial
Sedum
Delosperma
Euphorbia Millii

Gaillardia(Not weeks but quite a few days)
Sunflowers (Not weeks but quite a few days)

Moderate drought tolerance (watering requirement like alternate days)
Zinnias
Portulaca
Cone Flower
Marigold
Helichrysum
Gazania
Cosmos
Tithonia ( Mexican Sunflower)
Mirabilis Jalapa

Some other steps to enhance drought tolerance of plants
Mulching (atleast 3 inches)
Exceptionally good moisture retaining Medium
Partial Sun exposure or Use of shades

These plants are my opinion. Input of other members is requested for a more elaborate & accurate list.

irfan.siddique
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Re: Xeriscaping-Drought Tolerant Plants

Post by irfan.siddique » July 22nd, 2013, 5:48 pm

Farhan Bhai,

Can you plz guide about mulching how can we make it? Which material is required to make mulching?

Thanks,

Irfan Siddique

Farhan Ahmed
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Re: Xeriscaping-Drought Tolerant Plants

Post by Farhan Ahmed » July 22nd, 2013, 7:04 pm

@Irfan. Read this thread if still any problem let me know
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1793&p=15635&hilit=mulching#p15635

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Re: Xeriscaping-Drought Tolerant Plants

Post by KBW » July 23rd, 2013, 1:08 am

Thanks for initiating an interesting topic Farhan bhai. This summer, I regularly monitored the performance of various plants (mostly roses) during hot weather in Okara and it was a great learning. IMHO, more than drought tolerant plants, we need heat tolerant plants in areas south of Lahore . As per my understanding, in home gardens, we normally do not encounter drought like conditions as we can water the plants everyday or every second day. However, excessive heat is a serious issue. In temperatures in the range of 45* C (which is a very high temperature for most plants), dehydration is quick and a plant can suffer ir-repairable loss in a matter of few hours, if neglected. Succulents / cacti are more drought tolerant as they have the ability to store water in their roots / stems / branches.

Almost all the plants mentioned above can tolerate excessive heat if they are watered properly, however, drought tolerance is a different matter. A lot would depend on the location of a particular plant. A plant planted in dappled shade would have better chances of survival as compared to the same plant in full sun. Health of the plant also makes a lot of difference during survival conditions. Healthier the plant, more the chances of survival. Tall and lanky plants need more water and suffer more in excessive heat as compared to short and stocky plants. Mulching, as rightly pointed out, allows the soil to retain moisture for a longer period of times. I use all the fallen tree leaves in my plant beds for mulching. Nothing goes out in the dustbin. Adding gypsum to the soil (specially in alkaline soils) helps in strengthening the stem walls and helps the plant to survive better. If there are heat reflectors nearby (a naked cemented wall which gets direct sun etc), effect of heat would multiply. For more expensive foliage plants, misting during hot days helps avoiding dehydration. etc etc

What I am trying to say is that understanding plant requirements (of every plant that we intend growing) is a pre-requisite for gardening in hostile conditions. Another aspect that I would like to mention here..... during my personal interaction with many gardening friends in USA, UK and Canada etc, I realised that term "hot weather" has very different meanings for different people living in different parts of the world. In most cases, their hot weather is something around 35* whereas in our country, 35* is considered a pleasant weather. And when I talked to them about survival in 45* C, most of them came out with theoretical replies as they had never seen such a temperature in their countries. Therefore, many of the advises / recommendations given on internet do not apply fully in Pakistan and we need to be cognizant of this fact. Local knowledge is essential.

regards

Farhan Ahmed
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Re: Xeriscaping-Drought Tolerant Plants

Post by Farhan Ahmed » July 23rd, 2013, 3:36 am

Thankyou Sir for guidance.

Some other plants :-
Lantana
Celosia
Melapodium

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Re: Xeriscaping-Drought Tolerant Plants

Post by Syed Adnan » July 23rd, 2013, 5:51 pm

It is to be noted that these can survive in ground but in pots they struggle a lot , pots gets heated quickly and because of escessive heat roots gets over dried and plant wilted, for me Cactus, succlents and surprisingly croton is performing well.

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Re: Xeriscaping-Drought Tolerant Plants

Post by KBW » July 23rd, 2013, 7:48 pm

Syed Adnan wrote:It is to be noted that these can survive in ground but in pots they struggle a lot , pots gets heated quickly and because of escessive heat roots gets over dried and plant wilted, for me Cactus, succlents and surprisingly croton is performing well.
Sir you are right. But again location of the plant is critical in severe climate, whether in a pot or in ground. In pots one has the flexibility to shift the plants as per season and one can create artificial environment for a few plants. In ground this flexibility is not there but there are many other advantages of planting in ground. My take on this is that delicate plants which can not survive severe weather (both summer and winter) may be kept in pots. They wont flourish as well as the plants in ground but will be able to survive excessive heat / cold, when shifted to appropriate locations. Delicate plants should better not be planted in ground, specially if the location is exposed.

Another aspect to consider is the toughness of new cultivars vs old / established cultivars and specie plants within the same specie. New cultivars / hybrids, though more attractive and appealing, are mostly more sensitive to adverse weather conditions and do not tolerate neglect. Established cultivars are tougher (that is why they get established). For example, a latest Hibiscus cultivar, which might be very attractive being new, may not be half as tough as an old cultivar which is well established in our environment.

regards

Syed Adnan
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Re: Xeriscaping-Drought Tolerant Plants

Post by Syed Adnan » July 24th, 2013, 12:51 pm

@ KBW : yes i agree 100%.

Farhan Ahmed
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Re: Xeriscaping-Drought Tolerant Plants

Post by Farhan Ahmed » July 24th, 2013, 2:06 pm

KBW wrote: location of the plant is critical in severe climate,
Above mentioned plants render tolerance for all locations in all temperatures in our climates especially the shrubs,Vines and succulents "till the time they are in ground".
For pots yes this tolerance will be reduced depending upon moisture retention ability of the pot....
Drought tolerance infact is a phenomenon that is based on "in ground planting". Pots are not a consideration as there are lot of variables involved.

It is also pertinent to note that drought tolerance is a major consideration for heat tolerant plant. It includes functions such as rate of transpiration. If a plant transpire less it will take heat because water loss is less. This is adaptability trait. For instance needle like leaf plants will have least water loss.

Now considering high UV index burning foliage. Even in this case if a plant is kept moist somehow it will tolerate any kind of heat stress...this holds good for native plants of that environment and not delicate plants.

irfan.siddique
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Re: Xeriscaping-Drought Tolerant Plants

Post by irfan.siddique » July 24th, 2013, 4:14 pm

Farhan Ahmed wrote:@Irfan. Read this thread if still any problem let me know
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1793&p=15635&hilit=mulching#p15635
Thanks Farhan Bhai. Now I can make it.

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