Suggestions for Foundation Plantings in Sunny, Dry Area?

CassandraSeptember 16, 2012

I need to redo the south-facing border at the back of my 100+ year old house. It is hot and dry in that area. Right now, there's a wine and roses weiglea in the center (which is generally doing well and I'd like to keep), and two very ugly, floppy salvias on either side. In between is a daylily and beebalm, neither of which has worked in the space.

So what would you do with this area, keeping the weiglea? I'd love something pretty, neat, but hearty and little-care. Some things I'm considering are dwarf conifers/spruce on either side to give some height and winter interest, or white peonies, or dwarf gold spirea, or little lime hydrangeas, or some type of non-flop purple salvia (are there non flop types), or non-flop sedums. I don't know if any of these would do well in this space nor do I know whether or not something larger on either end (like the conifer) would help "balance" the area. Really, I'm stymied in my decisions and any design help will be very much appreciated! I'm zone 4b, by the way--Twin Cities.

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The salvia and sedums might work if you're looking for xeric plants. The others you mentioned need more water. In Colorado, we get only about 15 inches of rain per year so our salvia doesn't get floppy. You might consider barberries or the nana burning bush if they grow well in your region.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 12:11PM
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It's such a small space with heat radiating off both the house and sidewalk. There's no space for dwarf conifers. Miniature conifers, perhaps, but they tend to be costly and they grow too; and that environment might be too harsh. Not being defeatist, but it seems to be be too small an area to get super creative

Keep the weigela if it does well, scrap the rest. I think sedums might be a good bet, tho I've never had one of the red stemmed varieties do anything other than get straggly; they never turn into a nice clump, but the green/blue green ones do much better at clumping and not flopping. There are so many varieties out there - Gertens or any of the other TC garden centers are bound to have dozens to choose from.

Maybe you could find the nice rounded Artemisia "Silver Mound" - that's a plant right at home in a dry location.

For a little summer color, I'd make the small investment in a market pack or two of simple old marigolds.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 1:02PM
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Thanks for your repsonses! I'm leaning toward sedums and the artemisia (with, as you suggest duluth, a few colorful annuals). A question about the silver mound artemisia: it sounds like it also can flop badly. Is the key just to keep it short--lop it off every so often? After my experience with the hideous flopping salvia, I want NO-FLOP!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 11:03AM
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Most seasons, Silver Mound doesn't flop up here. It does respond well to a mid-season haircut though, when and if necessary.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 11:16AM
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