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27 DROUGHT-TOLERANT NATIVE PLANTS FOR THE PRAIRIES

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Gardening in a drought is no fun. Sure, if you have access to some city or well water, you can keep your plants alive, but nothing will really thrive in a drought. Enter native plants!

As gardeners, we like to be conscious of our footprint on the environment and save water where we can. One of the best ways to do this is to plant native plants. Once established, these perennial flowers and bushes will help beautify your yard and be able to withstand a drought year. Plus, they are generally very low-maintenance. It’s a win-win!

Be Responsible, Don’t Remove Native Plants From Their Habitat

When I say native plants, I am going to be talking about mostly domesticated varieties that are available in garden centres. Please DO NOT scour countryside ditches and transplant native plants to your home. It may seem like you’re helping an endangered species by giving it a controlled environment, but you’re actually hurting it.

Native plants need the specific ecosystem they are in to thrive. Your garden is not that ecosystem. Plus, you’ve just taken away a future source of seeds for that plant from the area.

Finally, removing native plants is illegal and there are steep fines. Lady Slippers and Prairie Lilies are gorgeous but are really best enjoyed in their native prairie habitat.

RELATED: 5 Benefits to Landscaping with Low Maintenance Native Plants

Where Do I Buy Native Plants?

The varieties I’m suggesting today should be available for purchase at most local greenhouses, or online. However, if you’d like to go further into the world of native plants, your local Native Plant Society will likely have a list of places you can responsibly order seeds from.

Here are links to the native plant groups in the three Prairie Provinces:

Do Drought Tolerant Plants Need To Be Watered?

In short, yes. Like any other bush or perennial, your plants need to be watered every day the first year until they are more established unless it’s raining or the ground is saturated. I personally would water them in the second year as well, especially if the weather is abnormally dry or hot. After the third year, your native plants should require very little care.

Easy to Grow, Low Maintenance Native Plants for the Prairies

This list is intended for beginner gardeners in the Prairie Provinces or the Mid-West of the United States. I garden in Zone 3 near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and my list is best suited to this area. I’ve strived to pick plants that are readily available and drought-tolerant for this list. This means they may not be the exact native variety, but a naturalized one.

I hope you find this list with pictures helpful! If you would like to go further in your native plant journey, I urge you to see the sites I’ve suggested above.

Edible Fruit Trees

1. Saskatoon Berry

2. Chokecherry

3. Buffalo Berry

4. Sand Cherry

5. Highbush Cranberry

6. Hazlenut

RELATED: 28 HARDY FRUITS YOU CAN GROW IN ZONE 2 AND 3

Shrubs & trees

7. Dogwood

8. Prickly Rose

9. SHowy Mountain Ash

Flowering Perennials

10. WILD Sage

11. BLANKETFLOWER

12. Wild Blue Flax

13. Coneflower

14. Crocus

RELATED: The Best Secret Spots to Find Crocuses in Saskatchewan

15. Wild Columbine

16. Aster

17. Goldenrod

18. Yarrow

19. Hyssop

20. Liatris

21. Black-Eyed Susan

22. Scarlet ROSE Mallow

RELATED: 20+ BEAUTIFUL SPRING BLOOMING PERENNIAL FLOWERS, TREES, AND SHRUBS

Grasses

There are many beautiful types of grass you can grow to add winter interest and movement to your garden. It is suggested that you grow at least one cool-season and one warm-season variety.

23. Blue grama

This warm-season grass blooms in summer and has uniquely shaped seedheads.

24. sheep fescue

A cool-season grass that gets a slightly red hue in late June.

25. JUNE GRASS

June Grass is a cool-season grass with beautiful, white flower-like seedheads that grows well with wildflowers and other grasses!

Vines

26. Wild Hops

27. Virginia Creeper

Which one of these resilient plants will you plant? Or will you create a whole perennial garden with all of them? Find me on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for more cold-climate, short-season gardening tips!


WANT TO CREATE A PERENNIAL GARDEN THAT CONSTANTLY BLOOMS FROM SPRING TO FALL, WITHOUT CONSTANT WORK? HERE’S HOW!

Everything you need to easily create your own perennial garden with constant blooms. You’ll get an easy-to-follow system, along with 5 templates and 5 done-for-you plans, plus fun bonuses.

LEARN MORE HERE!



Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Kristen

Welcome!

Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

P.S. First time gardener? You'll want to download the quick start gardening guide below!