Top 5 Drought Resistant Native Perennials

Top 5 Drought Resistant Native Perennials

The Big Focus On Drought Resistant Perennials

As drought affects many regions in the United States, there has been a big push for homeowners and gardeners to make the switch to drought-tolerant landscapes. The focal point of this switch is native plants, specifically drought-resistant native perennials.

Native plants started gaining in popularity a few decades ago, when it was discovered that many ornamental and invasive species took up valuable habitat for local insects, birds and mammals. This started the movement to reintroduce native plants into their rightful landscapes.

(Featured Image: Summer Flowers by R. Larue)

What Makes Native Perennials Drought Resistant?

Native perennials have adapted to live in the region they’re in, making them naturally more drought-tolerant than other non-native species. Native plants in general tend to require less upkeep and monitoring than other plants, since they’ve already adapted to the region’s average rainfall, sunlight, climate, and soil conditions.

As some areas start to experience less rainfall, native perennials have stood out as being the most resistant plants to this change in climate. The root systems of native plants generally grow deep underground, allowing them to search farther for moisture than non-native species can.

Top 5 Drought Resistant Native Perennials

1. Black-Eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta

This plant produces yellow or orange daisy-like flowers with dark centers. It grows up to 3 feet tall and blooms from midsummer to fall. Black-eyed Susan is tolerant of drought and heat, making it a great choice for dry gardens. These flowers can easily spread year after year, creating a thick, meadow-like appearance that is very attractive to humans and insects alike!

Black Eyed Susan_Up Close

2. Coneflower Echinacea purpurea

This plant produces large pink or purple flowers with spiky centers. It grows up to 4 feet tall and blooms from midsummer to fall. Coneflower is tolerant of drought and attracts butterflies and bees to the garden. This flower is a popular choice in the midwest, primarily for its hardiness and attractiveness to a wide variety of pollinators.

Bumblebee on a coneflower in a sustainable garden.

Bee On Coneflower

3. Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberosa

This plant produces bright orange or yellow flowers and grows up to 2 feet tall. It blooms from midsummer to fall and is a great source of food for monarch butterflies. Butterfly weed is also tolerant of drought and heat. Butterfly weed produces easily saved seeds for future planting as well.

Butterfly Weed by Shenandoah National Park

4. Little Bluestem Grass Schizachyrium scoparium

This grass produces fine green-blue foliage and grows up to 2 feet tall. It is a slow-growing plant that is tolerant of drought and heat. Little bluestem grass clumps remain upright in the winter, providing beautiful year-round interest. The upright sections of this grass that remain in the winter also provide essential habitat for insects, birds, and other small mammals during the colder months.

Little bluestem grass surrounded by snow in Northern Michigan

5. Blue Wild Indigo Baptisia australis

This plant produces tall spires of blue or purple flowers and grows up to 4 feet tall. It blooms in early summer and is tolerant of drought and heat. Blue wild indigo is also attractive to pollinators and can be used as a cut flower. This flower is a popular choice for adding depth and height to your garden with large, showy blooms.

A blooming blue wild indigo plant in an open field that is drought resistant.

Blue Wild Indigo

The Importance Of Native Plants

These native perennials are not only drought-resistant, but they are also low-maintenance and a part of the sustainable gardening movement. As native plants, they are adapted to local conditions and provide habitat and food for native wildlife. Additionally, they do not require fertilizers or pesticides, reducing the environmental impact of gardening.

Many native wildflowers and shrubs are already adapted to grow in various conditions such as poor soil or full sun. These plants are often long blooming to encourage maximum pollination during their growing season. Because of these adaptations, native plants are naturally eco friendly and beneficial to their surrounding environments.

Design Your Garden To Conserve Water

In addition to adding drought tolerant plants to your yard, you can also create a garden design that can naturally retain moisture. Including organic matter such as grass clippings or well-placed rock gardens can help your garden beds naturally retain moisture.

You can also design your flower or vegetable garden to include water conservation engineering. Some ideas include installing a drip irrigation system to ensure consistently moist, but well-drained soil. A rain barrel is another good method for catching and saving any rainfall or precipitation that might fall during the growing season.

Grow Your Own Drought Resistant Perennials

To plan your native perennial garden, start by doing research on plants that are native to your local region. It is helpful if you can find a native plant nursery near you that is well-versed on native species in your area.

Then determine the amount of sunlight and water your plot typically receives, use a moisture and sunlight meter. Choose your plants based on what will thrive in that area, and not just what the plant looks like. If you’re planting for insects, ask your local plant nursery what plants tend to attract pollinators and birds.

Plant in the spring, after the risk of frost has ended. In the first year, monitor your plants every few days to ensure they’re well-watered and growing at a reasonable pace. Once your native perennials are established, you will be able to enjoy the return of these plants for years to come.

Shop Locally For Native Perennials

Located in northern Michigan just 20 minutes west of Traverse City, Bright Lane Gardens is your go-to spot for locally native plants. We specialize in carrying some of the most popular native species, especially those used in pollinator and drought resistant gardens.

We have dedicated a majority of our perennial inventory to native plants and believe in the importance of repopulating our local communities with native species. Stop by today to learn more about native plants and shop some of our most popular sellers!

The Greenhouse at Bright Lane Gardens