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RE: what plants do you have in sandy soil? long post (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: nhbabs on 05.31.2013 at 08:57 am in Perennials Forum

Some plants that have done well for me in dry situations:
They aren't very formal, but rugosa roses have a strong, sweet scent, beautiful foliage, and large red hips. They only bloom once, but I like them quite a bit. Flowers are single or double in shades of pink, magenta and white. They sucker some and have wicked thorns, but will grow in beach sand.

Penstemon pinifolius is a relatively short plant with typical tubular penstemon flowers in early summer in shades of red, orange, and yellow and fine needle-like foliage.

If you typically have good snow cover, it is worth trying Caryopteris which I have found works for me, rather to my surprise: small tidy shrub, late summer violet-blue flowers, and either silver or gold foliage. In the coldest areas it works more like a perennial, dying back to the ground each year. 'Arthur Simmonds' has trialled as the hardiest selection, though I haven't grown it. (available at Lazy S's Nursery via mail order.) I have 'Sunshine Blue' with gold foliage which experiences some dieback but comes back every year and either 'First Choice' or 'Dark Knight' which has survived just fine for several seasons. This does better than lavender for me which survives, but takes too long to recover to look good most seasons. I do replant lavender (small inexpensive plants) most years and it grows well as an annual since the insects and humming birds like it.

The only western Agastache that has survived at least one winter for me has been A. rupestris. It is a short-lived perennial for me, lasting at most 4 or 5 years, but I really like the silvery foliage and August salmon and smoky lavender blooms, so I replace it when it hasn't survived a winter. You may find that some of the blue Agastaches work for you, but I haven't grown them since they have a reputation for self-seeding.

I have had Weigela grow well on a completely unwatered slope, so it should be fine. However, the Cornus kousa that is in an unwatered dry spot doesn't look nearly as nice as the one in a more average setting, and the serviceberry that I planted in a dry spot died the second season, despite my hauling water to it all of its first season.

Lonicera sempervirens 'Major Wheeler' is a long-blooming, bright red selection of a native vine that does fine without supplemental water in a well-drained bed. I have only had mine a couple of years, but I really like it. It should do fine being trimmed to its support, an iron trellis of 3/8" rod, if I decide it needs it.

Daffodils should be fine if you are looking for spring bulbs.

Plants that others have mentioned that have also done well for me in well-drained situations include bearded iris, flax, rose campion (though it self-seeds ferociously unless deadheaded), coreopsis (both lanceolata and verticillata), daylily, Baptisia, Liatris, Sedum, Semperivirens, Amsonia hubrichtii, Nepeta/catmint, Alyssum, and columbine.


clipped on: 06.14.2013 at 04:37 pm    last updated on: 06.14.2013 at 04:37 pm