The Q&A Archives: Wild Flowers in Hot Drought Conditions

Question: What type of wild flowers do well in drought conditions? We have a summer home in Greece surrounded by a lot of dry soil that we would like to sprinkle with wildflower seeds to cover. (It looks awful as it is). Hardly any rain in the summer and it gets real hot! Soil conditions are probably not the greatest.

Answer: Sounds like what you need are native prairie wildflowers. Plants that grew in the Midwest prairies had to survive long droughts and tough conditions, although granted, the soil conditions were not too bad. Plants such as black-eyed Susan, butterflyweed, monarda, ironweed, purple coneflower, and liatris should establish nicely. Many of the new varieties of goldenrods and asters should do well also. Prairies are usually established with prairie grasses as well, and these mix well with prairie plants: little bluestem, prairie dropseed, swithchgrass, side-oats gramma. The real trick will be the first year establishing the plantings. If you were to plant seeds, you would need to water probably every other day the first month especially, and weekly throughout the first summer. If you were to use transplants, you would still need to watch the soil conditions all summer until the plants are well established, watering each plant deeply on a weekly basis. The second year and beyond, the plants sould do well with less attention. This type of wildflower area is not the cottage garden look, it is much more 'untamed,' a beautiful, but definitely a natural look.

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