Want to know what to plant for areas with full sun and dry soil? These plants are lovely all year and require no work if you can give them what they like—-hot, dry, miserable places. Most of these plants even resent sprinklers and several refuse to put up with them at all. Just give them a nice well-drained spot in the sun and step back.
- Moonshine Yarrow: silver foliage, soft yellow blooms, and lovely all year. This yarrow grows in clumps and is very well behaved.
- Cheddar Pinks: silver-blue foliage, pink blossoms, a beautiful groundcover that will drape over walls or pot rims. It is a dianthus.
- Scaveola or Fan Flower: This is the only annual I am recommending here, but it is worth repeating every year. It takes full sun, dry soil, and unmitigated heat while constantly blooming. It is a lovely groundcover or cascading out of pots.
- Powis Castle Artemisia: silvery fern-like foliage all year. Just cut back to the base every Feb. to keep it in a nice round 2×3′ ball.
- Purple Coneflower: Beautiful with the silver foliaged plants. Keep it deadheaded for all summer bloom. It also attracts butterflies.
- Vitex: I prefer LeCompte (pronounced La Count) Blue. It can be trained as a tree or a shrub. Cut it back to the base every winter to grow it as a shrub. It is sometimes called Southern Lilac.
- Sedums: Any and all are interesting. I have found that they grow in a half day of shade just fine as well as full sun.
- Elijah Blue Fescue: A beautiful little tuft of grass to add a silvery blue touch to the garden. This little grass will also take part shade, too.
- Pink Crystal Ruby Grass: A beautiful small ornamental grass for hot dry areas. This grass will winter over in a bed that is really dry in winter—–perfect drainage a must.
- Salvia greggii: Comes in many colors, is evergreen, and takes the worst punishment. This little salvia will also take good treatment but it isn’t demanding. Just sun and good drainage is all it asks for.
A bed planted with the above mentioned plants would perform all year with little maintenance, little water (none if we get any rain), and give color and interest throughout the four seasons.
Dee Bishop, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service