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July and August in Kansas City can remind one of the Sahara. Yet, while some plants seem to be fainting away, there are others that sail merrily along through the mid-summer heat. Consider these annuals if you wish to conserve water or have little time for watering.
Besides selecting drought-tolerant plants, consider the soil. Conditioning the soil with organic matter helps to retain moisture. Purchase healthy plants. Plants already stressed are less likely to withstand the heat.
Good annuals for hot, dry conditions include:
- Dahlberg daisy (Dyssodia tennuiloba) Dahlberg daisies have dainty yellow flowers and thrive in hot conditions. They grow to approximately six-eight inches.
- Dusty miller (Senecio cineraria) Dusty miller makes an attractive foliage plant that works well in the foreground, and its grey makes it a good plant for bringing other plants together. It comes in many varieties.
- Gaillardia (annual), blanket flower (Gaillardia pulchella) Annual gaillardia is a low-growing, colorful plant in warm colors that appears fringed.
- Gazania (Gazania regens) This bright annual comes in a host of colors. Gazanias are tender perennials grown in the Midwest as an annual. The flowers close at night.
- Globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa) The flowers of the globe amaranth look like brilliant purple clover, though it may come in other colors. As well as being a tough survivor in the heat, globe amaranth makes a good plant for drying.
- Melampodium (Melampodium paludosum) Melampodium has small yellow daisy-like flowers and retains its abundant flowers throughout the summer.
- Rose moss (Portulaca grandiflora) Rose moss is very tolerant of summer heat. It is a low growing, succulent plant that comes in an array of bright and intermediate shades.
- Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) The familiar yellow giant, the sunflower, can grow to ten feet and makes a striking backdrop, providing seeds for the birds. Some varieties come in orange and reddish hues.
Other drought-tolerant annuals to consider include ageratum, cleome, cosmos, four o’clock, geranium, lantana, marigold, nasturtium, periwinkle, and zinnia.
Author: Pat Lawson
Wyandotte County Extension Master Gardener
Lynn Loughary, LLoughar@oznet.ksu.edu
County Extension Agent, Horticulture
Wyandotte County, Kansas
Kansas State University Research and Extension