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all day hot sun; sandy/rocky soil; weeds

Posted by tenacre Zone5 SW Mich (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 18, 14 at 10:28



I live in a rural area. I have an area (approx 400 sq ft) at the end of my driveway that has clay hardpan with sandy/rocky soil beneath and is sloped so it is facing south, so it gets full sun all day long and the soil is often very dry. I do not weed or water this area.

I am seeking suggestions for perennials that:

a) can stand the heat, full sun, and poor soil

b) can compete with the weeds

c) I can easily tranport and plant by myself

d) don't require any pampering once established, and

e) preferably have flowers or interesting foliage

I have $400 in vouchers from the power company for trees they cut down in my yard; I am looking to spend these vouchers at the local nursery for potted perennials.

Here is a partial list of plants that are presently there and thriving: Rose of Sharon, Burning Bush, Honeysuckle, CrabApple, Black Cherry, Maple, Phlox, orange Butterfly Milkweed, Peppermint.

Here's a partial list of transplant attempts which have failed: Yucca, Iris, Hosta, Sedum.

This post was edited by tenacre on Fri, Jul 18, 14 at 10:50

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: all day hot sun; sandy/rocky soil; weeds

Hmm, I was going to suggest sedum, but it seemed like you wanted something bigger. And then I see that you tried it! I'm surprised this did not work for you, as i have a similar situation to yours and sedum is working for me. My soil is not clay, though, so perhaps that is the difference. Hopefully someone will make a good recommendation for you.

Good luck!

RE: all day hot sun; sandy/rocky soil; weeds

I haven't checked hardiness for your zone, but how about nepeta Walkers Low? It's growing on my west-facing hillside on poor soil in desert heat. I watered it every few days after I put it in, but many in my area don't supplement once the plant is established.

Other suggestions - achilleas are very tough, drought-tolerant plants. Moonshine is a popular cultivar. I have Moonshine, Paprika and plain white a. millefolium on my hill.

Ornamental grasses can take a lot of abuse. I'm not sure about hardiness, but look at pennisetum cultivars. I have Hameln and Karley Rose and p. orientale species.

Other plants which grow under harsh conditions here probably aren't hardy enough for your area - agastaches, penstemons, desert salvias (s. greggii, s. pachyphylla, s.trident, s. darcyi). If any are cold hardy, they should do well in heat and poor soil.


RE: all day hot sun; sandy/rocky soil; weeds

Perovskia, Russian Sage is what I grow in my driest, sandy area. I'm not familiar with clay hardpan and how that impacts this suggestion, but they like sandy, rocky soil just fine. Nice, silvery foliage once it gets going and then purple flowers when it's hot and dry out there. Bees love it, too.

RE: all day hot sun; sandy/rocky soil; weeds

In my garden, blue salvia grows like a weed,( though my climate is very different;I'm here in Tuscany...) I'd also think that stuff like gypsophilia (baby's breath),aquileigia (colombine)...any of those tap-rooted things would do well.Also, the aromatics, but there again, not sure about cold-hardiness...bart

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