Today’s Solutions: December 01, 2021

With springtime in the air and the days getting longer, you may well be daydreaming about your garden or flower bed and the quiet weekend hours you hope to spend there in the weeks to come. But knowing what to plant as temperatures climb and precipitation patterns change around the world can be a challenge—especially after the planet experienced the hottest decade on record, according to NOAA. To make sure your plants thrive this spring, here are some useful tips from EcoWatch.

Drought-tolerant plants: If the region you live in is already a fairly dry one — like, say, the American West, the Middle East and North Africa, and much of Australia — you’re likely to experience even drier conditions and occasional drought as the world continues to warm. So, which plants are less thirsty and more resilient during periods of drought? Lavender is a particularly popular — and wonderfully fragrant — a common plant that “has evolved to subsist on little water.” Cushion spurge (Euphorbia), with its pale green leaves and yellow bracts, is an especially good drought-tolerant plant for gardens in cooler climes. And ornamental grasses tend to be both aesthetically pleasing and drought tolerant, more generally. 

Heat-tolerant plants: A few of the plants mentioned above as being drought-tolerant can also deal pretty well with higher temperatures, including butterfly weed and purple coneflower. Celosia, with its bright, feathery orange, purple, yellow, red, and white plumes, is a favorite for many American gardeners — and is well-known to “remain upright and strong even in the sizzling heat.” When it comes to perennials and other shrubs, consider adding viburnum to your landscape. Its fragrant clusters of delicate white blossoms arrive fairly early in the season, often in May and June, and it does a famously good job of standing up to late-summer heat.

Rain gardens: When it comes to our changing climate, it’s fairly safe to “expect the wet to get wetter, and the dry, drier.” If you are in a region experiencing more and more precipitation and are looking for a great way to soak up some of the extra rain while keeping your landscape looking great, consider a “rain garden.” According to Groundwater.org, a “rain garden is a garden of native shrubs, perennials, and flowers planted in a small depression, which is generally formed on a natural slope. It is designed to temporarily hold and soak in rainwater runoff that flows from roofs, driveways, patios or lawns.”

Some shrubs that are tolerant to flood-like conditions include elderberry, silky dogwood, winterberry, and swamp azalea. American beautyberry, red-osier dogwood, and Virginia Sweetspire can handle pretty wet conditions too, but don’t love it when standing water hangs around quite as long.

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