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Planting hardy, resilient perennials reduces landscape water demands during dry years

Utah State University Extension

Some perennials must be pampered and regularly tended. Other perennials can survive rough, negligent conditions.

With Carbon County facing another low-water year upon, perennials that can survive harsh conditions are the top choices for most local gardeners.

Carbon County residents may want to consider planting several easy to grow perennials this summer.

•Iris - Some people think of the iris as a weed, since it is not particularly attractive when the plant finishes blooming.

When the iris flowers, however, it is spectacular.

Residents should plant the iris with other perennials so it can hide behind showier flowers when blooming time has ended.

•Sedum - Sedum prefers hot, dry, full-sun conditions and is noted for its thick, attractive foliage.

Some varieties such as autumn joy have colorful flowers that are quite attractive in the fall.

Sedum is a succulent plant and is often used as a ground cover.

Most sedum is not aggressive, and combining several varieties creates a nice planting.

•Hosta - The shade-loving plant has large, attractive leaves.

Hosta also flowers, but is mostly planted for its foliage. There are hundreds of varieties with many leaf sizes and colors.

Hosta is a good choice for somewhat shady locations.

One problem with hosta is that snails love the leaves.

Residents should use a snail trap or bait at night to reduce the damage.

•Echinacea - Also known as coneflower, the native plant does well in Utah's climate.

New varieties include pink, purple, orange and yellow colors.

Echinacea has few problems and is versatile.

Though the plant is very drought resistant, echinacea can still tolerate heavy, somewhat wet soils.

•Daylily - The perennial is a true survivor and the plant grows almost anywhere.

New varieties with different blossom hues are developed every year.

Daylilies should be divided every few years and can grow in full-sun to part-shade locations.

Daylilies are a nice summer bloomer for most yards.

•Gaura - The plant is an often-overlooked perennial.

The plant's tall, wispy pink, red or white blossoms sway in the breeze, making a wonderful backdrop for most perennial beds, especially when planted in groups.

Gaura starts blooming in late May and continues through the fall.

•Scabiosa - The scaboisa is often referred to as the pincushion flower because of the plant's uniquely shaped purple, pink or blue flowers.

The scabiosa adapts easily to most growing conditions.

•Spiderwort - The perennial has a unique blue, purple or pink flower that opens in the morning and fades by the afternoon.

Spiderwort can be planted in full sun or part shade. It blooms throughout the early summer and is very drought tolerant.

•Solidago - Also known as goldenrod, the native Utah plant is classified as a weed in some people's gardens.

Through recent breeding programs, however, many new attractive varieties such as fireworks and golden baby are available.

The plants bloom in the late summer and are very drought tolerant.

•Blue salvia - The plant produces blossoms on tall spikes in the early summer.

Deadheading encourages re-blooming, though the plant is not as showy later in the summer.

Blue salvia adds vertical shape to any perennial bed and is virtually pest and problem free.

The suggested perennials should not run up Carbon County residents' water bills and can be planted together to provide color in the landscapes throughout the season.

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