ShadyGardens Blog

October 27, 2007

Native Plants for Dry Soil

Filed under: agave, drought tolerant, dry garden, Golden Sword, native plant, plants, yucca — shadygardens @ 6:13 pm

There are some interesting plants that not only tolerant dry conditions but actually enjoy dry soil! This is an exciting topic to me, since we are forced to endure dry soil here in Georgia. Although we’ve received some good rainfall recently, we can’t be sure it will continue. Native plants are the best way to responsibly landscape and garden without the extra effort of watering when it doesn’t rain. Yucca might not be your favorite plant, since it is famous for those spines at the tips that bring blood when an unsuspecting person bumps into it, but there are some less common varieties that are eye-catchers in the garden! Golden Sword has leaves striped with yellow, giving the garden a spiky focal point even in winter. This variety does not have the sharp spines at the tip of the leaves, but does send up the beautiful and quite showy fragrant white bloom spike in summer. Another beautiful variety that is sometimes available is Red Yucca, not a true yucca, but a very drought-tolerant Texas native that is virtually maintenance free! Red flower stalks extremely attractive to hummingbirds are sent up several times during the season, beginning in spring. Fruits will develop that provide food for the birds, so don’t remove the flower stalks. Yes, Red Yucca is hardy here, tolerating temperatures down to 10° F. Agave, usually referred to as Century Plant, comes in several different varieties including variegated ones and blue-tinted ones. All prefer dry soil, but make sure it’s hardy in our winters before planting it outdoors. Yucca and Agave both like dry soil so much that they can be planted even in the middle of a drought! They prefer full sun but grow well in partial shade too. Be careful with the agave though—I’m told the sap will cause a reaction far worse than poison ivy! Another good quality possessed by these plants—deer don’t eat it! So get out there and plant some drought-tolerant plants, but first thank God for the rain!

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