In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
March, 2012
Regional Report

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Drought-tolerant pelargoniums can have brilliantly colored blooms

Drought and Neglect: Some Plants Love Them!

Consider landscaping with plants that thrive under conditions of drought and neglect. Flowering annuals include alyssum, cosmos, gazania, geranium, helichrysum, marigold, morning glory, phlox, portulaca, thunbergia, verbena, vinca, and zinnia. Shrubs include Australian fuchsias, ceanothus, coffee berries, cotoneasters, pineapple guavas, manzanitas, and rockroses, and verbenas (an especially good ground cover).

Many beautiful flowering shrubs are naturally drought- resistant and can help birds and small animals survive next winter by providing food and habitat. Dwarf pomegranate, pyracantha, and barberry are excellent choices for fall and winter color.

Perennials with great tolerance for drought include achillea, anaphalis, artemisia, asclepias, coreopsis, daylily, dianthus, echinopsis, eryngium, gaillardia, lavandula, potentilla, salvia, santolina, sedum sempervivum, stachys, thyme, and veronica.

Divide and replant perennials that are crowded or that had sparse bloom last season. These include agapanthus, Japanese anemone, aster, coral bells, Michaelmas and Shasta daisies, daylily, fountain grass, iceplant, ivy, lantana, phlox, verbena, and yarrow.

Water the area the day before to ease digging up the entire root systems. When you separate the clumps, make sure each has a good portion or root system. Add humus to the new planting area, spread roots out, and water to settle them in.

Cut daffodils and irises exude a substance that shortens the life of other cut flowers. So, place them in their own container of water for about six hours after they're stems are cut. Then use another container with new water to make an arrangement with other types of flowers. Add a floral preservative or use one part lemon-lime soda (not diet) to two parts water. Keep the vase away from heaters or sunny windows to lengthen the bloom time.

Scented geraniums offer a variety of garden fragrances and delicately-shaped foliage. Scents include almond, apple, apricot, coconut, lemon, lime, nutmeg, peppermint, and rose. Shapes and textured foliage vary from plain green round leaves to those lacy, rippled, variegated ones.

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