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Browse Plants

Narrowed By:Zone: 7+ Characteristics: Showy + Moisture: Dry
Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 listings   Sort By: Sort
Agastache aurantiaca 'Just Peachy' Agastache aurantiaca 'Just Peachy'
('Just Peachy' hummingbird mint, 'Just Peachy' hyssop)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

A cultivar discovered at High Country Gardens in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this aromatic, water-wise perennial grows to 30 inches tall and 18 inches wide and features fine, mint-scented, gray-green leaves and spikes of tubular flowers in shades of  soft pink and peach from summer to early fall. The plant is hugely attractive to hummingbirds, hence its common name. It is resistant to heat and drought, and can be used in both mixed borders and containers.

Agastache aurantiaca 'Shades of Orange' Agastache aurantiaca 'Shades of Orange'
('Shades of Orange' hummingbird mint, 'Shades of Orange' hyssop)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

A cultivar discovered at High Country Gardens in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this aromatic, water-wise perennial grows to 30 inches tall and 18 inches wide and features fine, mint-scented, gray-green leaves and spikes of tubular flowers in shade of orange from mid-summer to fall. The plant is hugely attractive to hummingbirds, hence the common name.

Asarum splendens Asarum splendens
(Chinese wild ginger)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

There are many species and varie­­ties of wild ginger, but this vigorous, fast-growing, and beau­tiful species tops my list. Elongated, heart-shaped, dark green leaves look and feel as if they were made out of Naugahyde and splashed with metallic paint. The foliage shimmers when hit by a beam of light. It is evergreen to 10°F but will quickly reappear in the spring if it freezes. If you want to see the unique, 2-inch-wide, dark purple flowers, get on your hands and knees and look at the base of the plants. Though not particularly showy, they are interestingly attractive.
Plants spread quickly by underground rhizomes, forming a thick mat of foliage that crowds out weeds. I recommend spacing them 10 to 12 inches apart and letting them fill in over the next few years. Plants are not picky about soil pH or type, but they do best in well-drained areas. -Jimmy Turner, Plants for dry shade, Fine Gardening issue #133

Bergenia cillata Bergenia cillata
(Hairy bergenia)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This is the most drought-tolerant bergenia I’ve found and the only one that does well in Texas heat. The large, hairy, critter-resistant leaves do not resemble other members of this genus; they look more like hairy plates or giant African violet leaves—hence, it’s common name. Mature plants will send up 10-inch-long stems of white to pale pink flowers from spring to early summer, but the real reason to grow this plant is its remarkable foliage.
In cooler regions, hairy bergenia grows not only in the shade but also in full sun. It isn’t particular about soil type or pH. Divide plants every three to five years to keep them vigorous. -Jimmy Turner, Perennials for dry shade, Fine Gardening issue #133

Cedrus atlantica f. glauca Cedrus atlantica f. glauca
(Blue Atlas cedar)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This stunning evergreen conifer can be a very large specimen tree (to over 100 feet) in the landscape. Its young, silvery foliage turns vivid glaucous blue as it ages; the sharply pointed leaves are arranged in whorls. Female cones are green and can be up to 4 inches long; they ripen slowly over 2 years to pale brown. This tree needs a lot of space to reach its majestic potential.

Cerastium tomentosum Cerastium tomentosum
(Snow-in-summer)
(2 user reviews)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Snow-in-summer is great for rock gardens and dry areas, and also works well as a container plant. Plant it on a stone wall for a cascading effect. Snow-in-summer needs room to perform. A single plant can carpet an area as wide as a yard across. After the flowers fade, the silver/grey foliage shines on in contrast to more predictable shades of green.

Chilopsis linearis Chilopsis linearis
(Desert Willow)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Desert willow is shrub native to the Southwest U.S. and Mexico. Its erect willowy foliage is joined by large, blowsy pink flowers from early summer to first frost. This tough plants performs well in xeriscapes and other dry, unforgiving locations. It grows to 10 to 14 feet tall and wide remains blemish-free all season long.

Cotoneaster 'Tom Thumb’ Cotoneaster 'Tom Thumb’
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This compact, low-growing, and self-rooting deciduous shrub is useful as an underplanting or ground cover. Its shiny dense foliage turns a brilliant red in the fall and requires little or no pruning.

Cynara cardunculus Cynara cardunculus
(Cardoon)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Cardoon is an architectural splendor with bold texture, thanks to its large, prickly, almost dagger-shaped gray-green arching leaves and a statuesque, vase-shaped frame. It is topped with round, purple, thistlelike flowers in midsummer. Cardoon can reach up to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide.

Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae
(Mrs. Robb's bonnet)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This variety has dark, glossy evergreen leaves arranged in tight rosettes, and it produces yellow-green bracts in mid-spring and early summer.

Festuca glauca 'Boulder Blue' Festuca glauca 'Boulder Blue'
(Blue fescue, Gray fescue)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Regarded by some as the bluest blue fescue, this plant forms compact, cascading mounds of foot-tall, intensely blue, narrow leaves that are attractive in all seasons. Blooms are generally secondary to the foliage, but this cultivar blooms more heavily than most, with spikelets in summer. This cultivar is long-lived and very hardy. Grow in groups in a border or rock garden, or as a groundcover. 

Heteromeles arbutifolia Heteromeles arbutifolia
(Toyon, Christmas berry, California holly)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This evergreen, California-native shrub grows to 20 feet tall and wide and produces abundant clusters of tiny white flowers in early summer, which attract beneficial insects that help control pests. This is followed by bright red berries that feed wildlife in fall and winter. The only species of its genus, Toyon is closely related to the genus Photinia.

Lavandula angustifolia Lavandula angustifolia
(English lavender)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

English lavender has silvery gray, aromatic foliage topped in summer with lavender-blue to dark purple flowers on long stems.

Limonium latifolium Limonium latifolium
(Sea lavender)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Sea lavender is a rosette-forming perennial with mid- to dark-green leaves to 12 inches long, occasionally to 24 inches. Deep lavender-blue flowers are borne in panicles made of spikelets on wiry stems.

Ruta graveolens Ruta graveolens
(Common rue)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Rue is an evergreen shrub with an upright, rounded form and cool, ferny blue-green foliage. Clusters of cup-shaped, four-petaled yellow flowers appear in summer.

Salvia koyamae Salvia koyamae
(Japanese yellow sage)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

At first glance, this Japanese woodland native does not look as if it belongs in a shade garden, but
I find its spreading foliage and light-colored flowers do wonderfully as a small ground cover in dry-shade areas. Creamy yellow flower spikes sporadically appear from summer to fall, but hand-size, hairy green leaves are another attraction of this plant. It contrasts well with so many other fine-textured shade perennials that the flowers can be considered just a bonus. Japanese yellow sage is not choosy about soil pH or type. The spreading stems root as they touch the ground, eventually forming large, wide clumps. You can easily transplant any piece of rooted stem to fill gaps in your shade garden. -Jimmy Turner, Perennials for dry shade, Fine Gardening issue #133

Sedum tetractinum Sedum tetractinum
(Fish-scale sedum)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Plant a succulent sedum in the shade? Yes. Ground-cover sedums do well in dry-shade areas, especially in places that have high summer heat. Shallow, dry soils are no problem for this plant, as it stores extra water in its foliage. Fish-scale sedum spreads by runners forming a mat of overlapping, rounded foliage, which resembles fish scales. Bright yellow flower spikes appear over the shiny foliage during summer, and the cooler weather of autumn transforms the evergreen foliage to reddish bronze. I tuck this plant between exposed roots of deciduous trees, where little else will grow. Make sure not to plant in moist or waterlogged soils as it will rot easily. Any piece of this plant will root to form a new colony, so it is easy to spread about the shade garden. -Jimmy Turner, Perennials for dry shade, Fine Gardening issue #133

x Heucherella 'Sweet Tea' x Heucherella 'Sweet Tea'
('Sweet Tea' heucherella)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Anyone who gardens in the shade is familiar with heucherella. ‘Sweet Tea’ was bred using Heuchera villosa, a native of the eastern United States, as one of its parents, which has added enough resistance to heat, drought, and humidity to make it able to handle even the extreme climate of Texas. ‘Sweet Tea’ has large, stained, orange-bronze leaves with dark burgundy veins and short spikes of small white flowers that appear in early spring. Its brightly colored foliage, however, is the main reason to have this plant. Give it well-drained soil, and lift and divide it every couple of years. -Jimmy Turner, Perennials for dry shade, Fine Gardening issue #133


Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 listings   Sort By: Sort