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Five easy-care perennials that sip water

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Gardeners everywhere should be concerned with water usage, and at no time of year are those concerns more to the fore than they are in the summer. The good news is that many garden standards are quite drought-tolerant once established. (Remember that every plant needs regular watering until it gets acclimated to a new home.) Here are five that prove you need not sacrifice color or bloom to be water-wise.
Yarrow (Achillea species) loves lean soils and full sun, and blooms for most of the summer. Yellow is perhaps the most common color, but it also comes in varying shades of red, orange, pink and white. Hardy in zones 3 to 9.
Garden pinks (Dianthus species) range from low groundcovers to plants of two feet or more. Grass-like glaucous foliage sets off red, pink or white blooms. They bloom over a long season, including the middle of winter in the southern parts of their range. Hardy in zones 3-10.
Perennial geranium (Geranium sanguineum) should not be confused with the annual geranium (really a pelargonium) that is a staple of summer in much of the country. Perennial geranium is one of the longest-blooming perennials around, especially if it is cut back after the first wave of bloom. It is less drouth-tolerant in the southern parts of its range, where it appreciates some afternoon shade. Zones 4 to 8.
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia species) is a highly adaptable garden plant. The flowers are an important nectar source for butterflies, and birds love the seedheads. Blooms over a long season from summer through fall depending on the species. Zones 3 to 10.
Salvia (Salvia species) exists in annual, biennial and perennial forms, in sizes from diminutive to towering. Most are excellent for attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. Zones 4 to 11 depending on species.

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  • Glad to see I'm on the right track for my hot, sunny spot with the dianthus, geraniums and rudbeckia. I'll have to get some yarrow and salvia (although I haven't had too much luck with salvia - overwatering?)

    • Douglas Hunt
      Douglas Hunt New Smyrna Beach, FL
      on Jun 5, 2014

      @Heather (New House New Home) Overwatering will definitely do in salvia. Some of them melt in Florida come summer during the rainy season. I

  • Liliana Wells
    Liliana Wells Jackson, GA
    on Jun 5, 2014

    These are all wonderful choices! Thanks for the ideas.

    • Douglas Hunt
      Douglas Hunt New Smyrna Beach, FL
      on Jun 5, 2014

      @Liliana Wells They're all "tried and true." Thanks for stopping by.

  • Donna Shipley
    Donna Shipley Placerville, CA
    on Jun 5, 2014

    These are great and most of them are growing in my yard :)

    • Donna Shipley
      Donna Shipley Placerville, CA
      on Jun 5, 2014

      @Douglas Hunt We in the northern-most part of CA are less aware as there is no drought here (Humboldt County coast), but for me these are just wonderful additions that require minimal fuss & water. Even if there is no drought here, I am a firm believer in conserving all our resources :)

  • Beverly Rivenbark
    Beverly Rivenbark Willard, NC
    on Jun 5, 2014

    Thank u for the good information. It gets pretty hot here in Willard, NC. Will try using some in my garden. Have a lovely day.

    • Douglas Hunt
      Douglas Hunt New Smyrna Beach, FL
      on Jun 5, 2014

      @Beverly Rivenbark All those plants love hot and would make great additions to your garden.

  • Ellen
    Ellen Fenton, MO
    on Jun 5, 2014

    You have to watch out for perennials that take over a garden and become obnoxious. Yarrow took over my garden and even in the grass.

    • Lynn5280
      Lynn5280 Bushnell, FL
      on Jun 8, 2014

      @Ellen Black eyed susans took over my garden and yard but I can't bare to pull them up!

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