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Heat tolerant plants, some like it hot


Giant sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

There are many awesome plants that love hot and dry conditions, suited for dry gardens. With water shortage, everywhere, I thought it a good idea, to discuss plants that are drought tolerant that can exist with no supplement water once established. Here, are a number of such excellent plants that have low water requirement and thrive in hot, arid climate, even deserts.

These annuals thrive in hot, sunny locations and are prolific bloomers. Being annuals (flowering one season), you can change your garden bedding design more frequently if you so desire. Examples are:

ZINNA: native to Mexico, Zinnas are easy to grow from seed. Sow them directly in the garden, they thrive in heat and when the weather is coal, they don’t grow or flower very well. This pretty plan grows from dwarf 10 inches to cutting types of 3 feet. They come in colors’ from white, red, yellow to orange, pink and plum. Blooms can be single or double and they don’t need to be pinched back or pruned, they prefer hot, dry weather once they are established and make perfect cut flowers and another great thing, the more you cut, the more the plants produce.


INTERESTING TIDBIT: Zinnas were once called everybody’s flower and poor house flower because they were so easily grown and common looking. The common name, garden Cinderella, alludes to the transformation that the Zinnas underwent. In 1886, a French botanist produced the first double Zinna in bright colors and in 1920, Luther Burbank produced the first Dahlia-like Zinna.


Native to Africa and also known as Vinca, this is one of the most heat tolerant of all animals. Growing in full sun, it blooms prolifically. It is useful as ground cover because eit grows equally very well in sun or shade. Though blooming is much better in the sun. the plant grows, 10 to 20 inches tall and they spread almost two feet across. Periwinkle comes in colours of rose, white, red, orchid, pink, apricot, and, and often with a contrasting center. It ha s a waxy, lush foliage that grows rapidly in full sun.

CUTTING: either burn ends or dip in boiling. Place in a cool place overnight before planting.

INTERESTING TIDBIT: Rosy Periwinkle, a tropical species, contains an alkaloid necessary to make the drug vincristine, which is used to treat many forms of cancer.

MOSS ROSE moss rose, needs little water when established. It is heat and drought tolerant and thrives during long, hot dry season. Sow seeds in full sun in garden. Thin the plant to 10 to 12 inches apart. Blooms should appear 8 weeks after sowing. Do not water plant too frequently; it blooms better when kept dry. Flower colors are yellow, orange, cream, white, red, scarlet, pink and fuchsia. The tissue paper-like petals close at night when the sun is down and open when ther is full sun which explains and gifts common names ‘eleven o’clock glower’. It creates colorful ground covers and are also a great plant hanging baskets.

The cosmos is an airy and delicate flowers that adds nice texture as well as color to the hot dry garden. The leaves are finely dissected, the blooms, diary-like. Once, the seedlings are established, they can withstand long periods of heat and drought. Planting from seed is easy, just sow the seeds directly in your garden. In 8 to 10 weeks, the blooms will appear. Cosmos needs full or half-day sun and thrive in good rich garden soil. But, if need be, they will adapt to less fertile conditions. They will seed themselves, so, you can often find seedlings, both later in the season and in the next year. There is a wide variety of colors like yellow, white, scarlet, pink, rose and red. And these plants range from a dwarf form up to 12 inches in height to a bushy 6 feet tall.

Bed of colorful cosmos in a varieties of colors and heights

CUTTING: cut blooms when almost open, leave them in cool water overnight.
INTERESTING TIDBIT: the word cosmos is Greek, meaning ordered universe and the name was given to this plant because of the simple balance of the blossoms. Spanish priest were said to have grown them in their gardens as a symbol of harmony.

Petunias are heat and drought tolerant and are a favorite bedding plant, all over the globe, relatively easy to grow from seed. The colors are a complete rainbow, including white, pink, lavender, yellow, red, blue, purple and with the choice of being solid and some variegated. As well, you have a choice of flower types with single or double blooms and large or small blooms. These beautiful flowers have a habit of becoming lanky as the season progresses and do well when trimmed back. Even the ones in your hanging baskets will benefit, looking neater and putting out new shoots, if you prune some of the stems back.
Interesting tidbit: Spanish explorers, first found petunias growing near the cost of Argentina in the early sixteen century. The first specie was low growing, trailing plant with a fragrant white flower and was not of any particular beauty. The Indians called it ‘petun’, or ‘worthless tobacco’ and the plant was not thought to be worth sending it back to Spain. It took until breeders in the United States began extensive hybridization, resulting in the miraculous variety of plant types and colors that we see today, for them to become popular as a garden flower.

Sun flowers most sunflowers can easily exist under condition unsuitable for growing many other garden flowers. They are also popular as a cut flower. Sow seeds directly in the garden where you want them and you can watch in amazement as they shoot for the sky. Watch this bright beautiful flower grow as it is exciting when the flower seeds mature and can be eaten as a special treat. This cheerful flower sometimes seems to sprout in the most unexpected places in the year after they are planted. They can grow from 1 foot to as high as 10 feet tall and the flowers come in white, bronze, cream, and the traditional yellow. Dwarf strains can handle poorer soil but the taller varieties need moderately rich soil and regular watering, as well as stacking

INTERESTING TIDBIT: these towering plants, beacon of light and warmth, have been loved and worshipped for may centuries. The inca Indians of peru considered this flower as a symbol of the sun and worshipped. Priestess of the temple wore sunflowers medallion made of gold.

Salvia is heat and drought tolerant and blooms prolifically in full sun gardens. The three petals of salvia blossoms are gently scalloped and beautifully colored. Hybrids that were developed from two species have resulted in flowers the shade of blue, pink, white and red. The beautiful red spikes of S. cochineal or ‘lady in red’ attracts butterflies and make wonderful fresh or dried flowers. Sow from seeds, and are given sufficient moisture through the growing season, these plants can reach a height of 30 inches. Both annuals and perennial forms of salvia needs full sun and well drained soil. But if your area is especially a hot one, these plants might do a little better with some afternoon shade. A tender perennial, this flower is treated as an annual in regions with cold freezing winters, but it reseeds itself so you will always have a supply. One things about the plant, Is that it is not invasive. Another thing is that it has long a long blossom period, generally. Blossoms, close by midday but new flowers appear early next, morning.

INTERESTING TIDBIT: the salvia plant, also known as spiderwort is extremely sensitive to varying levels of pollution and will quickly undergo mutations that change the color of the stamens. Recently, it has been discovered that, not only is it useful in indicating, pollution, from pesticides, herbicides, auto exhaust and sulphur dioxide, but it is also extremely sensitive to low level of sensation.


CELOSIA (Cockscomb)
This plant do not like cold damp weather. The feathery plumes of C. plumose and the very full cocks comb-like blossoms of C. cristata range in color from cream to pink and red and crimson. Children are often attracted to this plant, because the flowers don’t look like ordinary flowers. The normally large, velvety blooms of crested celosia feel fake even when fresh and they dry beautifully. To dry them, simply cut them when they are fully open and hung them upside down in a dark, dry place for a couple of weeks. This plant also makes an outstanding fresh cut flower.

INTERESTING TIDBIT: in Elizabethan England, this member of the Amaranth family was called ‘flaramor or gentle flower’ presumably because it was considered tender and often was only grown in a green house.

MELAMPODIUM covers the soil with lush green growth dotted with small yellow daisy-like flower. Plants tolerate heat and humidity.

CLEOME: or spider plant, grows 5 to 6 feet tall and reseeds with abandon. Flowers are violent, rose, white and bi-color flowers.

CANNA INDICA: this is one of the toughest cannas around and it is suitable for full sun to part shade positions. Very heat tolerant looks best with regular watering but it is very drought tolerant also.


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