Drought tolerant containers for summer

Credit: David Tarrant

Drought-tolerant container ideas for summer gardening

A few weeks back I was taken to an amazing container garden. The owner had a good eye for grouping pots. And of course being in Mexico the plants chosen have to cope with long periods of heat and drought.

Lavandula dentate, which can be seen in the background of the first shot, is extremely happy in a pot and may be trimmed after flowering to maintain a manageable size. However, I was most impressed by the grouping of pots which contained individual plantings of Phormium tenax (New Zealand flax) and others filled with Santolina chamaecyparissus. The contrast of leaf shape and textures really worked well, especially the grayish/white leaves of the santolina echoing the blue/green undersides of the bold phormium foliage.

Santolina is hardy to zone 6 while phormiums are zone 8. But being in large pots, they can easily be wheeled into a garage or shed for the cold months to protect against frost damage.

Above: My back steps with mixed pots of Tradescantia sillamontana and Sedum morgnianum, the latter more commonly known as burro’s tail, planted in containers of well-drained potting medium.

Basically I added some coarse sand to a regular nursery potting mix: one part coarse sand to three parts potting mix. They get watered twice a week and fed about once a month. Both plants are not winter hardy in B.C., but would love to be outside for the summer and in a cool greenhouse for the winter.