One of the challenges of planning and cultivating an outdoor garden is finding the right plants that’ll thrive in your garden’s soil and climate. It’s understandably frustrating if your yard didn’t have the correct elements to grow some of your favorite plants because the soil had too much sand, it needed more sun, or the ground was bone-dry.
Thanks to the expertise of garden professionals, numerous plants have been found to grow and thrive in climates believed to be hopelessly barren. So whether your yard is drought-prone, shady, or has sandy soil, these hardy flowers and plants make a gorgeous addition to any garden.
Nicknamed purple rain, lilac sage attracts butterflies because of the many shades of copious purple blooms on display from July through September. Growing approximately 20 inches in height, lilac sage thrives in sandy, well-drained soil exposed to full sunlight but can survive in alkaline soil. Lilac sage is typically used in mixed borders and grown in containers.
The Zagreb Tickseed is a perennial with bright green leaves and golden yellow flowers that bloom from late June until late August. It is low maintenance, extremely tolerant to heat, drought, and humidity, and thrives most in sunny climates.
The Zagreb Tickseed can grow in clay soil but prefers moist and adequately drained soil. This fast-growing compact plant is used in area planting, borders, and flower beds.
If your garden is beachside, finding plants that can survive and thrive in light or sandy soil can be difficult. An evergreen perennial like Armeria is an excellent option for sandy soil environments. Growing between six and ten inches in height, this compact plant produces white, pink, and red flowers in spring.
This perennial plant has shiny green leaves and grows to a height of one to two feet. The butterfly weed’s bright orange-yellow flowers take up to three years to bloom. As the name implies, butterfly weed attracts butterflies, specifically monarchs.
A category of milkweed, it is the host plant for monarch butterflies to lay their eggs on since the leaves are the sole source of nutrition for monarch caterpillars. In addition to thriving in light or sandy soil, butterfly weeds can withstand all weather conditions.
Finding plants that flourish in dry, sunny areas can be as challenging as plants that blossom in highly shaded spaces. The agave is one option for yards that tend to run dry.
These slow-growing succulents have large leaves with spiky endpoints and come in various sizes and colors. While the agave plant may take years or decades to mature, it blooms long-lasting flowers in green, white, and yellow shades.
The desert rose is a versatile plant that grows outside as an ornamental plant and indoors in colder climates, flowering in purple, pink, and white. The thick trunk of the desert rose gives it a resemblance to Japanese bonsai trees.
This succulent retains significant amounts of water, so it can go for extended periods without being watered and thrive in even the highest temperatures. One caveat: The desert rose contains toxins potentially lethal to humans, cats, dogs, and horses.
A hardy perennial that can thrive in shallow soil, sedum can go for long periods without water. Sedums are low-maintenance plants with versatility: they can be grown in containers or used for ground cover, edges, and planting over a large area. They must be produced in a space with plenty of sunlight and in soil with adequate drainage.
Ajuga is a small, low-maintenance evergreen perennial with blue-purple, green, and colorful leaves. Ajuga is usually a shade plant, but some varieties can grow in sunny areas depending on the color of the leaves. While it tolerates drought-prone and dry soil easily, ajuga should be planted in moist soil with excellent drainage to avoid crown rot.
Distinguished by their bright foliage shaped like arrows and hearts, caladium light up any shady outdoor space in white, red, and pink. A tropical perennial that can tolerate some direct sunlight, this easy-to-grow plant is an excellent starter plant for inexperienced gardeners. However, be aware that all parts of the caladium plant are toxic if ingested.
Carex pensylvanica, also called Pennsylvania Sedge, is an acceptable substitute in partially to fully shaded areas of lawn where grass has difficulty growing.
Once this grass-like vegetation is planted in drier soil with ample drainage, it fills vacant spaces without harming existing plants. When in full bloom, Pennsylvania Sedge grows to eight inches in height that don’t require mowing.
This originally appeared on Planet Natural.
Melissa Pino is a biologist, master gardener, and regular contributor for Planet Natural. Melissa's work focuses on promoting environmentally-friendly practices, helping people create healthy gardens and finding ways to achieve overall health and wellness.