Drought tolerant plants: types that can survive low water

Advertisement

Great Britain is preparing for this second heat wave in just a few weeks, with growing fears that an official drought could be declared.

More hose bans are being declared across the country as people prepare to sunbathe or hide from themselves in temperatures expected to peak at around 35C.

Advertisement

All of this has left people wondering how to hold theirs garden look healthy.

One of the best ways to ensure this is to choose drought tolerant plants.

Advertisement

But which plants survive best with little water, and will there be a drought in the UK?

Here’s what you need to know.

Advertisement
21 plant species that are drought tolerant and can survive with little water in the UK, including lavender.

Are there drought tolerant plants in the UK?

Yes, there are a number of plants that have some good drought tolerant traits.

Advertisement

Many drought-tolerant plants have silver or grey-green leaves, and their light leaf color reflects the harsh rays of the sun.

Some have a coating of fine hairs on their leaves or stems that help trap moisture around plant tissue.

Advertisement

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has helpfully listed the best plants with these traits.

Here are some of the most common, but you can see the full list on the page RHS website.

Advertisement
  • Judas tree
  • Golden Rain Tree
  • hop tree
  • lavender
  • blue tower
  • silver anniversary
  • Sacred Bamboo
  • marigold
  • California poppy
  • sunflower
  • Constance Elliott
  • night phlox
  • rock rose
  • Spanish broom
  • silver baby
  • Gems
  • Hardy geraniums
  • bearded iris
  • Nepeta
  • water lilies
  • sedum

What does a drought mean?

Persistent dry weather status is the first of four drought categories.

Advertisement

The second “drought” phase depends on when the rain returns and whether it is more or less than usual.

If areas did enter the second “drought” phase, water utilities could limit non-essential domestic and commercial water use or apply for special permits to extract additional water from the environment.

Advertisement

Will there be a drought in England?

The country is not in a widespread drought, but most of England – with the exception of the North West – has entered a state of drought “prolonged dry weather”.

Advertisement

This is the step before a drought is declared and raises the question of restrictions such as hose bans which have already been declared in some parts of the country.

The last time a drought was declared was in 2018 but with prolonged drought weather in recent months it is possible that another could be explained.

Advertisement

What happened during the 1976 drought?

The 1976 heat wave46 years ago was one of the longest in living memory and triggered the most significant drought in at least 150 years.

Advertisement

The hottest temperature recorded in the summer of 1976 was 35.9 °C.

The rising temperatures led to a severe drought.

Advertisement

The impact on domestic water supplies led to the passage of a Drought Bill by Parliament in 1976 and Denis Howell, Minister for Droughts, was appointed.

Widespread water rationing and public taps existed in some affected areas.

Advertisement

Parts of the Southwest went 45 days without rain in July and August.

Advertisement