Monday, June 21, 2010

Ten Plants that Beat the Heat

Welcome to summer! The Florida heat makes both people and plants wilt at this time of year. Are you looking for some plant options that do well in this weather? Here is a list of ten tough plants that that thrive in Florida's summer. These plants are all drought-tolerant and require no supplemental irrigation after establishment. They will look great in your landscape, even if other plants do not! Look for these plants at your local nursery and install them following the Florida-Friendly Landscaping principle Right Plant, Right Place .

1. Yucca

Yucca is a very drought-tolerant, tough plant that will grow well in full sun. Plant Yucca in well-drained soil and combine it with evergreen shrubs and flowering perennials such as Fleabane and Beach Sunflower. There are many species and cultivars of Yucca on the market, so there are a lot of choices for the landscape.

2. Perennial Peanut

Perennial Peanut 'Ecoturf' does well during the hot summer months. It is drought-tolerant and flowers profusely all summer long. Grow Perennial Peanut in full sun locations. It is a low growing groundcover that makes a great lawn.

3. Bulbine

Bulbine is a tough flowering perennial. It grows in full sun and will flower all summer long. This drought-tolerant perennial can be combined with ornamental grasses and other perennials for a low-maintenance landscape.

4. Coontie Cycad

Coontie Cycads are drought-tolerant evergreen shrubs that will grow in sun or shade. Their glossy green foliage looks attractive combined with variegated plants and flowering perennials. This plant can be seen growing in highway medians, so you know that it is tough!

5. Blanket Flower

For colorful flowers all summer long, look no further than the Blanket Flower. Blanket Flower will grow in hot, dry, sunny, and sandy locations and will bloom with minimal care. This flowering perennial is a great addition to any low-maintenance landscape.

6. Beach Sunflower

Beach Sunflower is a tough, drought-tolerant, low-growing perennial. This plant will cover an area of six feet wide and flower all summer long with minimal care. Use Beach Sunflower in full sun locations where it is difficult to grow other plants.

7. Firecracker Plant

Firecracker Plant is a sprawling evergreen shrub that produces red flowers year-round. This tough plant grows in full sun and looks attractive combined with ornamental grasses, Beach Sunflower and Blanket Flower. It is drought-tolerant and can handle sandy, sunny locations.

8. Fakahatchee Grass

There are some great Florida native ornamental grasses that are very drought-tolerant, and Fakahatchee grass is one of those. It will grow up to six feet tall and does well in full sun. For a smaller grass, try the Dwarf Fakahatchee grass. It grows to only two feet tall. They are low-maintenance and will require minimal to no irrigation after establishment.

9. Bromeliads

Bromeliads are evergreen, shade-loving plants that are very drought-tolerant. They come in a variety of colors and sizes and require almost no maintenance once they are installed.

10. Agave
Agave, like the Yucca, prefers hot, dry, sandy soils. Perfect for many of our Central Florida yards. There are many cultivars of Agave that grow to different sizes. Plant in full sun with any of the other plants on this list.
For more questions on drought-tolerant plants for Central Florida, contact the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service. The Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program can provide you with a list of low-maintenance plants. Contact us at (863) 519-8677 or go to our website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We are new to Florida (from WI) so had no idea what to plant. Your page was very helpful to me and loved the photo's as well. Because we are not yet year rounders the drought tolerant plants are vital.