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Drought-Tolerant Plants for Hudson Valley Gardens

As July fades to August and the sun continues to bake your backyard, you might be feeling a little lackluster about your garden. But don’t despair! We’ve put together a shortlist of some our favorite full-sun, drought-tolerant shrubs and perennials. Adding a couple of these low-maintenance summer gem will ensure your garden stays colorful all year long.

Perennials

  • Coreopsis
    Bright flowers float on mounds of lacey green foliage and bloom well into the hot summer months. Their flowers range from golden yellow to bright red, with a couple of showy variegated varieties too! These make a perfect border planting along a fence or foundation.
  • Salvia
    Like it’s cousin, Lavender, Salvia are happiest in full sun and well-drained soil. They offer some more vibrant colors – deep purples and pinks – and denser foliage and also have a pleasant fragance to their leaves. 
  • Coneflower
    These native perennials are from the sunflower family, and they totally live up to their heritage. Echinacea comes in tons of bright colors and a couple of show-stopping ornamental forms that will keep your garden vibrant through July and well into September. 
  • Yarrow
    Clusters of tiny bright flowers on lacey green foliage make yarrow a perfect way to add a pop of color to a washed-out summer planting space. These flowers are so renowned for their heat tolerance, you can even find them thriving in the southwest!

Shrubs

  • Caryopteris
    Sometimes called “blue spirea”, this misty alternative to the landscape staple is sort of a shrub/perennial hybrid. Its stems turn woody and it has a shrub-like growth tendency, so we included it here. Similar to lavender and Russian sage (another drought-tolerant fave), it features silvery foliage and blue-purple flowers. We suggest a mass-planting as a hedge!
  • Hibiscus
    With flowers that will whisk you away to a tropical beach, hibiscus shrubs are a no brainer as a summer garden staple. Bright pink blooms provide color from July through September, and their upright growth tendency and dense foliage make them a great screen too.
  • Oakleaf Hydrangea
    The most drought-hardy hydrangea! Like its name suggests, this perennial features long oak-shaped leaves. Their flowers grow in spiked clusters, a striking departure from the usual hydrangea mounds. They bloom from mid-summer through the fall, when their flowers turn a deep, dusty pink.
  • Butterfly Bush
    As its name implies, these are favorites with pollinators like butterflies! They’re also a wonderful shrub come late July when they’ll be in bloom long after your spirea and lilacs are spent. In bright purple shades and a couple of white varieties, they’re a perfect pop of color in the hot months. Plus, they keep your local pollinator population fed during the hard, hot summer!