Award-Winning Flowers That Are Drought Friendly

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By Jill Brooke

It’s a good thing that the All-American Selection Winners have been tested throughout North America in all kinds of weather conditions; from extreme summer heat to high humidity to long hot days.

After all, the summer of 2022 has seen significant sustained drought across the globe, from Europe to China to Africa, and the ripple effect impacts agriculture and our beloved gardens. 

Although places like California have suffered from water shortages – and statewide restrictions have been in place – more places are now requiring using less water which also impacts gardens. 

This is why having recipes for drought-tolerant plants should be in your future since this problem isn’t going away.

As Diane Blazek, the executive director of All-American Selections and National Garden Bureau says, there are many choices that fit under this requirement. 

“Among the flowers are Zinnias, Sunflowers, Celosia, Echinacea, Salvias, Rudbeckia,  Verbena and Marigolds,” says Blazek, noting how the All-American Selections continues to be the oldest independent testing organization in North America – founded in 1932 – and flowers are tested rigorously based on their garden performance

So here are some of the AAS winners in these categories that you may want to ask your nursery for this fall. 

Furthermore, please note as Natalie Carmolli from Spring Meadow Nursery counsels, “Many plants are drought tolerant once established.”

“This means you will have to supply regular watering for the first season that the plants put in the ground,” she says, noting how a non-invasive cultivar like ‘Miss Molly’ or the dwarf Lo & Behold® Blue Chip Buddleia for sunny garden spots where you want to attract plenty of pollinators, are good performers.

It really is about raising awareness and being adaptive to our environment that produces success. As we’ve reported, scientists are finding that plants are adapting to these conditions and we as gardeners and good citizens can also make subtle changes that help our world and bring beauty and joy through flowers.

Here are some of the AAS selections to consider as well.

1)Zinnia Queeny Lime Orange

2)  Celosia Flamma Orange 

3) Tithonia Fiesta Del Sol/Dwarf Sunflower

4) Marigold Big Duck Orange F1

5)Echinacea Sombrero® Baja Burgundy

6)Salvia Summer Jewel Lavender

7)Verbena Beats Purple+White

These are all great selections for you to try in the upcoming year. So happy planting flower lovers.

Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD,  floral editor for Aspire Design and Home magazine and contributor to Florists Review magazine.