Water conservation in the home landscape is of vital and increasing importance. A special report issued by Kansan State University’ Water Conservation Series, highlights the selection and use of trees, shrubs ground covers and perennials with minimal water requirements. Trees and ground covers tend to shade and cool the soil, while there are many perennial plants that are colorful and still modest in their water requirements.
These perennials have stood the test of time, and have been recommended not only because they are hardy and easy to grow, but because they can withstand hot, dry summers better than most others. They are included in Heat Zone 7.
The first name given is the botanical name, followed by the common name. The botanical name is given because it does not vary, whereas the common names may not be universally applied and may lead to confusion.
Gaillardia (Indian Blanket), Rudbeckia (Brown-eyed Susan), Asclepias (Butterfly Weed), Coreopsis (Tickweed), Hemerocallis (Daylily), Hibiscus moscheutos (Hardy Hibiscus), Iris, Liatris (Kansas Gay Feather), Stachys byzantina (Lambs’ Ear), Papaver orientale (Oriental Poppy), Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), Kniphofia (Red-hot Poker), Armeria maretima (Sea Thrift), Sedum spectabile (Live-forever), Achillea (Yarrow), Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox), Shasta Daisy and Hardy Chrysanthemum.
All of these plants are available locally and are easy to grow. You can give them an extra boost by adding organic matter like composted cow manure to the soil before planting. This enhances the soil’s water-holding capacity, and feeds the plants. Mulches cover and cool the soil, minimize evaporation, reduce weed growth and slow erosion. Weeding, pruning, and pest control also help the plants grow more efficiently.