The Q&A Archives: Novice gardener needs help!

Question: Hello,
My gardening zone is the coastal and tropical southern area. This past spring I attempted to start a small flower garden in my fairly new yard(I had the home built Aug. 2007). I've had some success with some of the flowers that I've planted, but some of them just did not last. (The Hibiscus, Petunias,and Marigolds are beautiful)My yard is very, very sunny and there is full sunshine most of the day. Can you suggest some colorful but drought-tolerant flowers to plant for the fall? I've found a new love for gardening, but there is still so much for me to learn. Please Help!!!!

Answer: It sounds as though your yard could be considered hot, dry and sunny - from a plant's perspective. Luckily, there are many plants which thrive under those conditions. Here are a few:
Yarrow (Achillea spp.);
Iceplant (Delosperma cooperi);
Fountain Grass (Pennisetum spp.);
Mexican Petunia (Ruellia brittoniana);
Maiden Grass (Miscanthus spp.);
Stokes? Aster (Stokesia laevis);
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea);
Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri);
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.);
Showy Sedum (Sedum spectabile).

You might also have success with:
Iris (Iris spp.);
Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri);
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida ?Goldstrum?);
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea);
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma);
Stokes? Aster (Stokesia laevis);
Sages (Salvia spp.);
Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.);
Blanketflower (Gaillardia x grandiflora);
Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia uvaria);
Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis);
Heuchera (Heuchera sanguinea);
Autumn Joy Sedum (Sedum x ?Autumn Joy?);
Veronica (Veronica spicata).

To help your plants thrive, work some organic matter into the soil prior to planting. Organic matter such as aged-manure or compost will help the soil retain moisture, which will help the roots remain cool and well hydrated.

Best wishes with your new garden!

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