This is not an exhaustive list of drought
tolerant annuals, but it represents those that seem most likely
to succeed and be most appropriate for your cemetery plantings:
Angelonia (Angelonia angustifolia) Native to Mexico and
Central America, angelonia is a tough, durable performer with an
upright growth habit. Depending on the cultivar, it grows 18-36
inches tall with a similar spread. The foliage is a lush, glossy
green and the orchid-like flowers bloom until frost. Available
in purple, white, pink and a purple-and-white bicolor.
Bidens (Bidens ferulifolia) Native to Arizona and Mexico, Bidens blooms from planting until frost with star-shaped gold
flowers. The fine-textured, delicate foliage remains fresh and
attractive in heat and drought, when other plants look worse for
wear. It has a mounding growth habit, 10-15 inches tall with a
Strawflower (Xerochrysum bracteatum) Native to eastern
Australia, strawflowers are popular garden flowers grown for use
in dried arrangements. Strawflowers have an upright to mounding
growth habit, depending on the cultivar. The can grow 18-24
inches tall with a similar spread, although some varieties get
larger. Available in shades of red, yellow, orange, white,
purple, pink and bronze.
Ornamental Pepper (Capsicum annuum) Grown for their colorful
fruits and foliage, ornamental peppers are very heat and drought
tolerant. Plants range in size from eight to thirty-six inches.
The fact that the fruits are often very hot can discourage
wildlife from browsing the plants.
Annual Vinca (Catharanthus roseus) Native to Madagascar,
annual vinca has handsome glossy green foliage that looks as
fresh and lush in heat and drought as it does in better growing
conditions. It grows 6-15 inches tall with a comparable spread
and has a neat mounding habit. Annual vinca blooms until frost,
and is available in white, pink, red, purple, and salmon.
Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella) Native to much of the
United States, blanket flower blooms in cheerful shades of red,
yellow, orange, and copper. It has a mounding growth habit,
reaching 14-24 inches tall and 12-14 inches wide. Long blooming
and heat and drought tolerant.
Lantana (Lantana camara) Lantana grows as a shrub in its
native Caribbean, and has become an invasive weed in the
southern United States. Fortunately for us, it is very frost
sensitive and does not produce viable seed. Depending on the
cultivar, lantana has an upright or mounding growth habit,
reaching 6-36 inches tall. The foliage has a spicy fragrance,
which often deters wildlife browsing. Flower colors include
white, yellow, orange, red and pink, and most varieties are bicolored, ranging from the softest pastels to the shockingly
Gold Medallion Flower (Melampodium paludosum) Melampodium is
native from the southwestern United States to Mexico and Central
America. It has a neat, mounding habit, growing 24-36 inches
tall with a similar spread. Melampodium blooms until frost with
gold or yellow flowers, depending on the cultivar, and is very
heat and drought tolerant.
Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum Rubrum) Pennisetum setaceum is native to Africa, Southeast Asia and the
Middle East. Rubrum has burgundy-red leaves and an upright,
arching growth habit. The soft spikes of the purplish-pink
flower heads add another foot the 36-inch tall foliage. Rubrum
is very heat and drought tolerant, and ornamental grasses are
very rarely damaged by wildlife.
Mealy-cup Sage (Salvia farinacea) Native to the southwestern
United States, mealycup sage grows 12-40 inches tall with a
slightly smaller spread, depending on the cultivar. Flower color
ranges from white to soft blue to bright blue, and the foliage
is gray-green. Most varieties of Salvia exhibit resistance to
wildlife browsing because the foliage is scented and sometimes
Verbena (Verbena spp.) there are many species and garden
hybrids of verbena, with growth habits that range from ground
hugging to very upright. As a result, height ranges from several
inches to four feet. Flower colors include red, blue, pink,
white, purple, peach and many bicolor combinations.
Zinnia (Zinnia spp.) Zinnia angustifolia, also known as
creeping zinnia, is native to the southwestern United States and
Mexico. It grows 9-15 inches tall with a similar spread.
Creeping zinnia is very heat and drought tolerant, as well as
disease resistant. It comes in white, yellow and orange. Zinnia
elegans is the familiar, showy garden zinnia. There are many
cultivars that range in size from 8-48 inches tall, and come a
wide range of colors lime green, white, yellow, red, pink,
orange, lavender and rose. Garden zinnias are susceptible to
powdery mildew and leaf spot diseases that can detract from the
their appearance. A cross between Zinnia elegans and Z.
angustifolia resulted in the Profusion Series zinnias. These
hybrids are very disease resistant and have a wider range of
colors and larger flowers than the creeping zinnia parent.
Colors include white, orange, cherry, apricot and fire.
2011 Flower Garden Trial
Moving a Holly
Norfolk Island Pine culture and