North Carolina is known for its hot and humid summers, with temperatures regularly reaching the high 80s and 90s. While these conditions can make it challenging to maintain a lush and vibrant garden, it’s not impossible. One solution to combat the sweltering heat is to plant heat-tolerant plant varieties that can withstand extreme temperatures and dry spells.
Our Raleigh landscaping experts at Redwood Land Design are here to help North Carolina homeowners explore some of the best heat-tolerant plants that can thrive in the state’s climate. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, incorporating these plants into your landscape can help ensure that your garden stays beautiful all summer long.
Factors to Consider when Choosing Heat-Tolerant Plants
Our Raleigh landscaping experts understand the challenges that come along with plant, tree, and shrub installation when the summers get extra hot and humid. When selecting heat-tolerant plants for your North Carolina garden, several essential factors should be considered to ensure their successful growth and survival.
North Carolina’s soil type varies from region to region, and some plants thrive better in specific soils. The state has a range of soil types, including loamy, clay, sandy, and silt. Soil type influences the nutrients and water available to the plants, so it’s essential to select plants that are well-suited to the soil type in your garden.
Sunlight is another critical factor to consider when selecting heat-tolerant plants. Some plants prefer full sunlight, while others prefer partial or full shade. It’s essential to consider the amount of sun exposure your garden receives throughout the day and choose plants that can thrive in those conditions. For example, plants that require full sun should be planted in areas with at least six hours of direct sunlight, while shade-loving plants should be planted in areas with filtered or dappled sunlight.
North Carolina’s hot and humid summers can cause soil to dry out quickly, making it necessary to select plants with low to moderate watering needs. Choosing plants well-suited to the region’s climate can help ensure their survival and minimize the amount of water required. Drought-resistant plants such as succulents, cacti, and ornamental grasses can thrive in North Carolina’s hot and dry conditions.
Native Plants vs. Non-Native Plants
Another factor to consider when selecting heat-tolerant plants is whether to choose native or non-native plants. Native plants are those that occur naturally in North Carolina and are well-suited to the region’s climate, soil, and other conditions. Non-native plants are those that are introduced from other parts of the world and may not be as well-adapted to the local environment. Choosing native plants can provide several benefits, including being easier to maintain, requiring less water, and providing a habitat for local wildlife.
Types of Heat-Tolerant Plants
When it comes to heat-tolerant plants, there are various types that can add color, texture, and interest to your garden. It’s important to avoid landscape design mistakes during the summer, for instance, planting plants and shrubs that will not thrive in the hot summer climate would be a waste of resources, time, and money. It’s best to have a reputable plant installation company help determine the best heat-tolerant plants for your property.
Ornamental grasses are hardy and easy-to-care-for plants that can tolerate North Carolina’s heat and humidity. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors and can add texture and movement to your garden. Ornamental grasses require little water and maintenance and can survive in poor soil conditions.
Here are three examples of heat-tolerant ornamental grasses that are well-suited to North Carolina’s climate:
Maiden Grass is a beautiful, clumping grass that can grow up to six feet tall. It’s a great option for providing privacy or as a backdrop for other plants. Maiden Grass has narrow, arching leaves with silvery plumes that emerge in the fall. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil and requires little water once established.
Fountain Grass is a beautiful, low-maintenance plant that can add color and texture to your garden. It has a mound-like shape and can grow up to four feet tall. Fountain Grass has long, narrow leaves that arch over in a fountain-like shape. It produces fluffy, pink, or white flowers that bloom from late summer to fall. Fountain Grass prefers full sun and well-drained soil and is drought-resistant once established.
Pampas Grass is a dramatic and showy grass that can grow up to eight feet tall. It has long, narrow leaves and produces large, feathery plumes in the fall. Pampas Grass prefers full sun and well-drained soil and is drought-resistant once established. It’s important to note that Pampas Grass can spread quickly and should be planted in a location with enough space to accommodate its growth.
Annuals are an excellent option for adding color and interest to your North Carolina garden, and many varieties are heat-tolerant and can thrive in the state’s hot and humid climate. Annuals are plants that complete their life cycle in one year and typically bloom from spring to fall. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors and are a popular choice for adding seasonal interest to gardens.
Here are some heat-tolerant options for annual plant species that are well-suited to North Carolina’s climate:
You need a flower that can take the heat during hot Raleigh summers. Fortunately, lantanas thrive in full-sun environments. These pollinator-friendly flowers come in a variety of colors, from blushing pinks to bright yellows. Lantanas are easy to care for, too. You’ll just need to fertilize them each spring and water them once a week once they’re established. And for maximum blooming potential, you’ll also want to prune them in the spring.
Zinnias can also tolerate both hot summer weather and drought conditions. These full-sun plants produce blooms in an array of colors, such as orange, red, pink, yellow, and white. Zinnias don’t require a lot of upkeep, either. Water the plants at their base in the morning, and remove dead flowers — a process referred to as “deadheading” — as needed.
Moss rose is available in varieties with magenta, white, yellow, and hybrid-color blooms. It’s great for dry conditions and requires hardly any maintenance. It’s best to plant these flowers after the rainy season, as they can be hard to grow in moist environments. Best of all, moss rose plants don’t need deadheading and rarely need to be watered.
Vinca, or Madagascar periwinkle, adds a lot of color to landscapes while being virtually maintenance-free. Its flowers range in color, from white to purple, complementing your other landscape plantings. While Vinca likes full sun, it can also tolerate part shade. No deadheading is required, and you’ll only need to water the plant if the top layer of soil feels dry.
Perennials are another type of heat-tolerant plant that can add color and interest to your garden year after year. Perennials are plants that come back every year, unlike annuals, which need to be replanted each year.
Here are some heat-tolerant perennial options that are well-suited to North Carolina’s climate:
Coneflowers, also known as Echinacea, are a popular and low-maintenance perennial that can add color and beauty to your garden. They come in a range of colors, from pink to white, and are drought-tolerant once established. Coneflowers prefer full sun and well-drained soil and bloom from early summer to fall.
Black-eyed Susans are a cheerful and easy-to-grow perennial that can add a pop of bright yellow to your garden. They have daisy-like flowers and prefer full sun and well-drained soil. Black-eyed Susans bloom from mid-summer to fall and are drought-resistant once established.
Sedum, also known as stonecrop, is a drought-tolerant and easy-to-grow perennial that can add texture and interest to your garden. It comes in a range of colors, from green to red, and has fleshy, succulent leaves. Sedum prefers full sun and well-drained soil and blooms from late summer to fall. Sedum is an excellent option for rock gardens or as a ground cover.
Shrubs are an excellent choice for adding structure and interest to your North Carolina garden. They come in various shapes and sizes and can add color and texture to your landscape.
Here are some heat-tolerant shrub options that are well-suited to North Carolina’s climate:
Crape Myrtle is a popular and showy shrub that can add vibrant color to your garden. It produces clusters of pink, red, white, or purple flowers from mid-summer to fall. Crape Myrtle prefers full sun and well-drained soil and is drought-resistant once established. It’s important to note that Crape Myrtle can grow up to 20 feet tall, so it’s essential to choose a suitable location for planting.
Rose of Sharon
Rose of Sharon is a hardy and low-maintenance shrub that can add beauty and interest to your garden. It produces showy, funnel-shaped flowers in shades of pink, blue, and white from mid-summer to fall. Rose of Sharon prefers full sun and well-drained soil and is drought-resistant once established. It’s an excellent option for borders or as a focal point in your garden.
Butterfly Bush, also known as Buddleia, is a fragrant and showy shrub that can attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. It produces cone-shaped clusters of pink, purple, or white flowers from mid-summer to fall. Butterfly Bush prefers full sun and well-drained soil and is drought-resistant once established. It’s an excellent option for a wildlife garden or as a border plant.
Plant Care Tips for Heat-Tolerant Plants
Summer lawn care tips for healthy grass and plants are important to building a thriving summer landscape. To keep your heat-tolerant plants healthy and thriving throughout the summer in North Carolina, proper care is essential, and we’ve got some tips to help you achieve your NC summer garden goals.
Before planting your heat-tolerant plants, it’s important to prepare the soil properly. North Carolina has a range of soil types, so it’s essential to amend the soil to ensure it’s well-draining and nutrient-rich. Adding organic matter such as compost or peat moss can improve soil texture and structure, allowing plants to establish strong root systems. It’s also a good idea to test your soil’s pH level and adjust it accordingly to ensure your plants receive the nutrients they need to thrive.
Proper watering is crucial for the health and survival of heat-tolerant plants in North Carolina’s hot and dry climate. Watering deeply and infrequently is generally recommended to encourage deep root growth and prevent water loss through evaporation. It’s important to water early in the morning or late in the evening to minimize water loss through evaporation and avoid burning plant leaves. Drip irrigation or soaker hoses are an excellent option for watering heat-tolerant plants as they deliver water directly to the roots and minimize water loss.
Fertilizing heat-tolerant plants can help promote healthy growth and blooming throughout the growing season. Applying a slow-release fertilizer once or twice a year can provide the necessary nutrients for healthy plant growth. It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates and timing, as over-fertilizing can damage or burn plants.
Get Landscape Design Services that Will Beat the NC Heat!
Looking to spruce up your outdoor space with some beautiful heat-tolerant plants and greenery? Look no further than our expert landscape design services in Raleigh!
At Redwood Land Design, we specialize in designing and installing stunning heat-tolerant plant arrangements that are tailored to survive the hot NC summers. From selecting the perfect plants to designing the layout and providing ongoing maintenance, we take care of everything so that you can sit back and enjoy your new outdoor oasis.
Contact us today by calling (919) 817-0087 or filling out our online contact form below.